CAW National Council 4000
Occupational Health and Safety

Hazardous Substances:  Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide can create ill-health effects if it is inhaled, swallowed, or if it comes in contact with the eyes, skin, nose or throat.

Short-Term Effects

The greatest industrial hazard is rapid tissue destruction of eyes or skin upon contact with either the solid or with concentrated
solutions.

Contact with eyes can cause progressive and irreversible blindness. On the skin, irritation sensation may not develop for several
hours if the solution is very dilute. If not removed from the skin severe burns with deep ulceration will occur. Exposure to the dust or
mist may cause multiple small burns with temporary loss of hair.

Severe pneumonitis may occur.

Ingestion produces severe abdominal pain, corrosion of lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and vomiting. Death may occur.

Long-Term Effects

Cancer of the oesophagus can occur as a result of scarring after ingestion.

Prevention

Enclose process
Local exhaust ventilation
General dilution ventilation
Personal protective equipment

Standards

WCB 8 hour maximum (ceiling) 2 mg/m3.

Source:  CAW Health, Safety & Environment Department