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Commonly Asked Questions on Sodium Hydroxide
There are many chemicals used in industries today and one of them is sodium hydroxide, one of the most powerful chemicals known, one of the most dangerous and one of the chemicals that needs to be handled properly. The following are frequently asked questions about drugs.
What is sodium hydroxide?
Sodium hydroxide is one of the strongest bases known in chemistry and is also called caustic soda. It has the chemical formula of NaOH. In its pure form, it is a white crystal that is solid at room temperature. It dissolves in water in the process of heat dissipation which may be sufficient to result in combustion. This strong base is highly corrosive, but is found as an industrial chemical used to make soaps, rayon, paper, explosives and petroleum products. Cotton processing, manufacturing of clothing and cosmetic agents, metal processing, and electroplating also use sodium hydroxide.
How does it affect the environment?
The chemical may not last long in the environment because it is highly reactive and reacts quickly with other substances. When it enters the body of water, it splits into sodium cations and hydroxide anions that form an electrolyte solution. Since it is a base, it neutralizes acids. As a result, it reduces the acidity of the water or increases its alkalinity. Because of its efficiency, it never accumulates in the environment.
How does one risk being vulnerable?
Since this basic compound is found in household cleaning fluids, a person may come into contact with it when using chemical cleaning products. A more obvious manifestation is when a person works in a factory where a compound or part of the production processes is used.
What are the health risks?
In the first contact with the foundation, it will definitely destroy the skin, burn the hard tissue. If you inhale the fumes or mist of the substance, irritation of the respiratory tract may occur. Prolonged breathing or heavy breathing can lead to swelling and spasms of the lining of the upper airway, nose and throat, which can be severe enough to cause airflow obstruction. Pulmonary edema or fluid accumulation in the lungs can also occur.
Swallowing the drug can lead to severe burns to the mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach. This injury can be severe enough to cause perforation and bleeding. Sudden vomiting and abdominal and chest pain accompanied by difficulty swallowing are also symptoms.
When it comes in contact with the skin, it eats the skin. Severe burns and ulcers. The compound can cause corneal damage and cloudiness and can lead to blindness. Of course these accidents are mostly the result of poor handling.
How is it related to cancer?
There have been studies showing that exposure to the chemical has led to esophageal cancer which some experts believe is due to tissue damage rather than a direct effect of the substance. Cancer can occur in areas where the lining has thinned due to exposure to sodium hydroxide. This disease occurs many years after exposure. Health experts and chemists have not linked the substance to cancer and it has not been considered a carcinogen. It is hypothesized that cancer occurs as a side effect of the body’s repair process.
Does exposure to sodium hydroxide cause birth defects?
There is no research yet linking this chemical to birth defects or any other reproductive health problem.
How can people reduce their harmful exposure to this chemical?
Sodium hydroxide should be stored properly and ensure that the chemical is never accessible to children. Cleaning agents that contain strong alkaline should be stored well. Use these chemicals carefully and follow directions for use.
Companies generally have rules and policies regarding working with this chemical. Follow these rules. Wear proper uniform and safety equipment. This should be the first step.
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