Q:

What are the dangers of acids and alkalis?

A:

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant explains on the Veterinary Support Personnel Network that acids typically cause pain upon exposure and produce localized coagulative necrosis of tissue. Alkaline products with a pH level above 11 are capable of causing serious corrosive injury.

Clinical signs mostly occur immediately upon exposure to acids, states Dr. Gwaltney-Brant. Ingestion of acids results in oral pain, vomiting with or without blood, dysphagia, abdominal pain, vocalization and irritation of oral and/or esophageal mucosa. Gastric ulceration occurs with high levels of exposure. Ulceration or dermal irritation also occurs with dermal exposure.

Alkaline products include ammonium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide and potassium permanganate. Harmful alkaline agents generally cause liquefactive necrosis by penetrating local tissue quickly and deeply. However, unlike acidic products, exposure to an alkaline product causes little pain. Clinical signs do not develop immediately, often taking up to 12 hours for the tissue damage to become evident.

According to the BBC, concentrated sulfuric acid is very caustic and requires careful handling. Moreover, a concentrated solution of the alkali sodium hydroxide is also corrosive, and it is used for removing skin from bones to acquire skeletons. Dangerous acids and alkalis are generally stored in containers with hazard warning signs and are handled with gloves and goggles.

Learn More
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some of the differences between acids and bases?

    A:

    One of the main differences between acids and bases is that acids have a pH that is less than 7 and bases have a pH that is greater than 7. When dissolved in water, acids are substances that will cause the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) to increase. Bases, when dissolved in water, will instead cause the number of hydroxide ions (OH-) to increase.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are neutral substances?

    A:

    Neutral substances are chemicals that have no properties of either acids or bases, have equal parts hydrogen and hydronium ions and don't change the color of litmus paper or other acid-base indicators. Neutral substances include water, glucose solutions and salt solutions. These chemicals have a pH of 7.0 on a scale of 14. In terms of toxicity, neutral substances are generally harmless to the touch.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How are acids and bases harmful?

    A:

    According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, acids and bases are corrosive and capable of destroying body tissue. When they come into contact with tissues, concentrated forms of acids cause immediate pain. High concentrations of hydrofluoric acid also result in immediate pain and tissue destruction.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some acids that react with metals?

    A:

    Some acids that react with metals are sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. The most common metals that react with acids are iron, lead, magnesium and zinc.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore