Being Aware of the Hazards of Processing Sodium Hydroxide

Caustic soda is one of the most popular and commonly used chemicals in chemistry laboratories. In fact, lots of science experiments make use of this substance. It is known as a base or an alkaline and it is one of the strongest on the list. It is called a base because it yields hydroxyl ions (OH-) or ions in aqueous solutions. This means that when you dissolve or add it in water, the ions Na+ and OH- are dissociated into the liquid. It dissociates completely such that it is classified as a strong base with a very high pH and neutralizes strong acids in a heat-evolving reaction to produce salts. In chemistry, the popular example for this is the reaction between sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid that yields water and sodium chloride or table salt.
The compound is a popular industrial chemical and it is used in a wide range of applications. It is used in the manufacture of paper, pulp, and textile. The compound is commonly found in cleaning agents like detergent and soap, and drain cleaners. It is also employed in the process of obtaining aluminum oxide from bauxite.
The alkaline appears to be a white solid that may look like granules or pellets. When dissolved in water, it appears as clear or white and odorless solution that is non-volatile. Although it does not undergo combustion, it is an extremely reactive chemical that must Macroeconomic Events 2019 be kept well away from other substances. In most cases, the chemical reaction it undergoes with other chemicals produces enough heat to cause ignition. Thus the substance may actually be a fire hazard when used imprudently. It reacts with both metals and non-metals.
It reacts with both organic and inorganic compounds and being a strong chemical it poses danger to both humans and the environment. The improper use of this chemical can result in serious accidents and injury.
Exposure to either the liquid or aerosol form of the compound may cause severe irritation and other problems. Breathing in of its aerosol causes irritation of the lining of the upper respiratory tract that gets exposed to the substance. The exposure may cause a life-threatening reaction that is edema, an accumulation of fluid in the lung tissue. For instance, workers inhaling mist of the alkaline in a factory could experience difficulty in breathing and tightness in the chest region. Cough and sneezing may also follow as a reaction to the poison. The strong base destroys the skin tissue upon exposure causing skin burns and ulceration. It continues to seep deep into the skin tissue unless washed away or removed. The extent of damage depends upon the amount of exposure. In cases of eye exposure, symptoms like itching and irritation to clouding of vision may occur. When the compound is accidentally swallowed it causes injury on the oral, esophageal and gastric lining. These symptoms may be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea as the body tries to get rid of the toxic substance.
Some people may suffer from long term adverse effects of exposure to sodium hydroxide. In the case of skin contact, dermatitis and skin ulcers develop in the long run. Some experts believe that prolonged exposure increases the risk of glaucoma and cataract which lead to blindness. However, the speculation that it may cause cancer has never been proven.
Observing safety measures when working in environments with hazardous chemicals is a basic thing that must be remembered by supervisors and workers. There must be safety gears available and first-aid equipment at hand in these areas. Also there must be Entrepreneurs Meaning proper briefing about the possibility of exposure and the necessary measures to do in case of such. It is also important to note the emergency numbers to contact in case of accidents. In any case of exposure, do not delay calling for medical help.

READ  Algae Biofuel - A Promising Biofuel For The Future