ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Muriatic acid, spirit of salt.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation of the vapour.
Avoid ingestion.
Always add acid to water.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Keep away from metals.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Clear, colourless or yellow liquid with pungent, irritating fume.
Hydrochloric acid is a strong corrosive and a strong irritant. The vapour is also an irritant and corrosive. Contact will cause ulcerated burns with possible permanent damage resulting. Inhalation will cause coughing and choking with ulceration of the respiratory tract.
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). Burns will require immediate medical attention. 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. If vision remains blurred seek immediate medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and allow to rest. If irritation or pain persist or develop seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Do not induce vomiting but seek immediate medical attention.
Heating produces choking fumes of hydrogen chloride. Contact with most metals produces highly flammable hydrogen gas.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and incompatible substances.
Use a fume hood to minimise exposure to this substance. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard. Always add acid to water and never water to acid. The reaction generates heat and when water is added to acid can be quite violent.
Rubber gloves, laboratory coat and self contained breathing apparatus. have a body shield available.
Cover the contaminated surface with sodium bicarbonate or soda ash-slaked lime mixture (50/50). Mix, and add water if necessary to form a slurry. scoop up the slurry and discharge to the sewer with a large excess of water.. wash the spill site with a soda ash solution.
Add slowly to a large volume of an agitated solution of soda ash and slaked lime until the solution is neutral. Discharge to the sewer with a large excess of water.


BACK to the top of the Glossary Contents List
BACK to the top of the Chemical Contents List