CAS No. 1310-73-2
Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is a an odorless, white crystalline solid that absorbs moisture from the air. Sodium hydroxide is very corrosive. It can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membrane; an allergic reaction; eye and skin burns; and temporary loss of hair. Workers may be harmed from exposure to sodium hydroxide. The level of harm depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.
Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture soaps, rayon, paper, explosives, dyes, and petroleum products. It is also used in processing cotton fabric, laundering and bleaching, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extracting. It is commonly present in commercial drain and oven cleaners.
Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to sodium hydroxide include the following:
- Workers who use bleach, oven cleaners, and drain cleaners
- Workers in food processing plants
- Workers in public water treatment facilities
- Workers who use it for a diverse range of industrial and manufacturing processes
- Workers who extract alumina and produce aluminum
NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses sodium hydroxide, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheet for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.
The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to sodium hydroxide. Useful search terms for sodium hydroxide include “lye,” ” caustic soda,” “soda lye,” and ” sodium hydrate.”
The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.
The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.
- NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Sodium Hydroxide– NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable database of worker safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
- NIOSH Skin Notation Profiles: Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH): DHHS Publication Number 2011-150 (2011) This Skin Notation Profile provides the SK assignment and supportive data for sodium hydroxide (NaOH; CAS No. 1310–73–2). It evaluates and summarizes the literature describing the substance’s hazard potential and its assessment according to the scientific rationale and framework outlined in CIB 61.
- Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Sodium Hydroxide DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. No.76-105 (1975). Presents a standard to prevent the adverse effects of exposure to Sodium Hydroxide over a working lifetime.
- NMAM: Alkaline Dusts (No. 7401)pdf icon
- Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR) Medical Management Guidelines (MMGs): Sodium Hydroxide
- ATSDR – ToxFAQs: Sodium Hydroxide
- ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Sodium Hydroxide
- EPA Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs)external icon
- EPA Chemistry Dashboardexternal icon
- EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)external icon
- OSHA Guidelines for Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- OSHA Hazard Communication websiteexternal icon
- NLM Hazardous Substance Data Bank: Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- NLM Haz-Map: Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- OSHA Hazard Communicationexternal icon
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets: Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- ILO: International Chemical Safety Data Card: Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS): Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon
- Gestis Substance Databaseexternal icon
- IPCS INCHEM: Chemical Safety Information from Intergovernmental Organizationsexternal icon
- OECD Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substancesexternal icon
- United Nations Environment Programme (OECD SIDS): Sodium Hydroxideexternal icon