CAS No. 1310-73-2
Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) has no smell. It is made of solid white crystals that absorb water from the air. Sodium hydroxide is caustic. Workers who come in contact with sodium hydroxide can be harmed. The level of harm depends upon the amount, duration, and activity. It can burn the eyes, skin, and inner membranes, and cause temporary hair loss.
Sodium hydroxide is used to produce soaps, rayon, paper, products that explode, dyes, and petroleum products. It can also be used in tasks such as processing cotton fabric, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extraction. It is often found in commercial drain and oven cleaners.
Some examples of workers who are at risk of being exposed to sodium hydroxide include those who
- Use bleach, oven cleaners, and drain cleaners
- Work in food processing plants
- Work in public water treatment plants
- Use sodium hydroxide for making paper, glass, detergents, soaps, and other products
- Mine alumina and produce aluminum
NIOSH recommends that employers use a Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injury. If you work in an industry that uses sodium hydroxide, please read the chemical label and the Safety Data Sheet for information on how it can harm you and how to protect yourself. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about preventing contact with chemicals in the workplace.
The following resources provide information about workplace 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 the blood and urine of workers.
- 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).
- Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Sodium Hydroxide DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. No.76-105 (1975). Presents a standard to prevent the harmful effects of exposure to Sodium Hydroxide over a working lifetime.
- NMAM: Alkaline Dusts (No. 7401)
- 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