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Sodium hydroxide

 
 

Key Points

Fire

  • Non flammable
  • Reacts with water in the air and attacks metals such as aluminium, tin, lead and zinc to form hydrogen gas
  • Generates heat on exposure to acids
  • Emits toxic fumes of carbonates, peroxides and sodium oxides when heated to decomposition. Reacts with metals to produce hydrogen gas causing a fire hazard
  • In the event of a fire involving sodium hydroxide, use fine water spray and liquid tight chemical protective clothing with breathing apparatus

Health

  • Toxic by all routes of exposure
  • CHIP classification: corrosive
  • Inhalation causes irritation of the eyes and nose with sore throat, cough, chest tightness, headache and confusion
  • Ingestion will burn the mouth, throat and stomach 
  • Skin contact can result in severe burns
  • Eye contact causes pain, twitching of the eyelid, tearing, inflammation, sensitivity to light and severe burns
  • Sodium hydroxide is not considered to be carcinogenic

Environment

  • Avoid release into the environment
  • Inform the Environment Agency of substantial releases

 

All sections of the compendia are available to download:

 

 

CHAPD HQ, HPA
2010
Version 1

This document will be reviewed not later than 3 years, or sooner if substantive evidence becomes available.

            
 

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Compendium of Chemical Hazards