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Engineering Controls Database

Museums (Acids and Alkalis)

Both acids and alkalis are corrosive, that is, they react with or “eat away” materials with which they come in contact.
Acids and alkalis can not only eat away at metal and metal oxides, but also at materials like skin and lung tissue. This is the most significant toxic action produced by these chemicals. The severity of this corrosive action depends on the strength of the acid or alkali, the concentration of the chemical, the temperature of the chemical, and the duration of contact.
Strong acid/alkali should never be used without wearing eye protection such as safety glasses or a face shield. Other personal protective equipment should also be used to prevent contact with skin or clothing. This would include appropriate gloves, as well as a lab coat or apron. If contact occurs with skin or eyes, those areas should be flushed with copious amounts of water.

The primary technique for preventing inhalation exposure should be the use of local exhaust ventilation such as a laboratory hood to prevent the aerosol or vapor from reaching the breathing zone. In those cases where local ventilation is not possible, a NIOSH certified respirator specific for the exposure can be used as part of a respiratory protection program.

Proper laboratory practices as described in a number of laboratory handbooks should be followed. These practices include adding acid/alkali to water so that any splash will be primarily the water. Also constant stirring and slow addition will reduce heat build-up when mixing these chemicals with other substances including water.
234-03; 234-05-A; 234-05-B; 234-05-D; 234-05-E; 234-05-F; 234-05-G-1; 234-05-G-2; 234-05-H; 234-05-I; 234-05-J; 234-05-K; 234-05-L; 234-05-M;
museum worker