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Chemical Safety
Article © MAIL User: Drax

Chemical Safety Suggestions

(Edit: Samma has posted an article on chemical safety that expands on this information: Expanded Chemical Safety).

Most of the articles I’ve published deal with using chemicals of some sort, so I wanted to write something brief about chemical safety. I can't cover all the possible things that can go awry when using chemicals, so this is not meant to be an exhaustive safety list. Use common sense and avoid contact with all chemicals if in doubt.

In general, always wear protective clothing such as goggles, gloves (latex ones are usually best) and even an apron.

Some of the chemicals listed (especially the acids and bases) are dangerous to touch with bare skin. They are also extremely bad if inhaled, since many of them release noxious fumes. If you spill acid on yourself, you can help neutralize it with plenty of water and also some baking soda. If you spill base on yourself, you can help neutralize it with plenty of water and also some vinegar.

Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, especially due to the possible generation of noxious vapors.

When done, be sure to neutralize the solutions before disposing of them. Neutralize acidic solutions carefully with baking soda (or something stronger) and neutralize basic solutions carefully with vinegar (or something stronger). If you have a method to test the resulting pH, you can dispose the neutralized solution down the drain with plenty of water, though you should check with local EPA guidelines to be certain.

If diluting a concentrated acid, always add the acid slowly to the water while stirring the solution.

And just in case, always have the number of your local Poison Control Center handy. Better safe than sorry.

This should go without saying: any container with which you mix chemicals should NEVER be used for food again.
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