ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences - Sodium Carbonate

 

ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences

 


 

SODIUM CARBONATE (Na2CO3)

SYNONYMS
Soda ash, carbonic acid.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation of the powder.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
CHARACTERISTICS
Opaque, white crystalline or granular powder, hygroscopic.
HEALTH HAZARD DATA
Sodium carbonate is a severe irritant to eyes and may irritate skin, particularly if the skin is moist. Inhalation will result in respiratory irritation. Otherwise it is considered to be practically non­harmful.
TREATMENTS
Skin ­ immediately remove contaminated clothing and wash the affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). Wash contaminated clothing before re­use.
Eyes ­ immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation or pain persist seek medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If irritation persists or develops seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. If irritation or pain develop seek medical advice.
INCOMPATIBILITY
Reacts with strong acids to produce heat and carbon dioxide.
STORAGE
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere.
HANDLING
Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
DISPOSAL
WEAR:
Rubber gloves, safety glasses and laboratory coat.
SPILLS:
Solid: collect in a beaker, dissolve in a large amount of water. Add soda ash, mix and neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid and discharge to sewer with large excess of water.
Solution: cover with soda ash, mix and scoop into a beaker of water. Neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid and discharge to sewer with a large excess of water. If a spill contains a fluoride, add slaked lime in addition to the above treatment.
PACKAGE LOTS:
Add slowly to a large container of water. Stir in a slight excess of soda ash. If fluoride is present add slaked lime. Let stand for 24 hours. Decant or siphon into another container and neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid. Discharge to sewer with a large excess of water. The sludge may be added to land fill.
ENVIRONMENT:

 


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