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Corrosive Substance Safety

Hazards of Corrosive Chemicals:

  • Reversible and irreversible destruction of tissue
  • Corrosion of metal
  • Release of Hydrogen in reaction with metals
  • Reactivity
  • Oxidation
  • Dehydration
  • Toxicity
  • Instability

Common Corrosives

Strong acids and bases, dehydrating agents, halogens, and oxidizing agents

Safety Tips:

  • Store below eye level
  • Store in small containers
  • Store the minimum quantity necessary for work in their compatibility groups
  • Store in secondary containment or cabinets designed to control corrosives effects on shelving

Acute Health Effects

Irritation of mucous membranes, difficulty breathing, coughing, pulmonary edema, sore throat

Irritation and burning sensation of lips, mouth, and throat; pain in swallowing, painful abdominal cramps; vomiting

Skin Contact
Burning, redness and swelling, painful blisters, profound damage to tissues (alkalis:  a slippery soapy feeling)

Eye Contact
Stinging, watering, swelling of eyelids, intense pain, ulceration of eyes, loss of eye/eyesight

Chronic Health Effects

Chemical Dependent
Some damage to bones, teeth, etc.  Others attack organs

Personal Protective Equipment

Use chemical splash goggles to protect eyes.  If splash potential, a face shield may be required over splash goggles.

Eye Wash
Flush contaminated skin or eyes for a full 15 minutes with clean, tepid water.  Do not rub eyes.  Get immediate medical attention even if you believe you have flushed all contaminant out of your eyes.

Fume Hood
Use when possible

Check with glove compatibility charts in the Lab Resource Guide for exact chemical in use.  Neoprene and Nitrile are effective for most acids and bases.  PVC is effective for many acids.

Rubber Coated Apron
Where a splash potential exists