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When dealing with all aspects of Hydrochloric Acid safety, it is vital that certain facts about the product are understood. Hydrochloric Acid is a clear, colourless or slightly yellow liquid with a pungent odour. Concentrated forms of Hydrochlorric Acid 'fume' and in high concentrations, the material is known as Fuming Hydrochloric Acid, Fuming Muriatic Acid or Fuming HCl. Under normal conditions, Hydrochloric Acid is stable. However, containers may expand and explode when heated, so it is essential that Hydrochloric Acid is stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area with acid resistant floors and good drainage. Any container used to store Hydrochloric Acid should never be washed and used to store another product.
Hydrochloric Acid is classified as highly 'Corrosive' above 25% concentration and should always be handled with care. It is essential that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is worn and this should include protective clothing, rubber gloves or gauntlets, approved eye protection by means of safety goggles or safety glasses and safety boots or shoes. When handling large volumes of material, a full protective body suit and face shield should be used. The material must always be handled in a well-ventilated area and under fume extraction. If fume extraction is not available, breathing apparatus should be worn.
Liquid Hydrochloric Acid can cause serious burns to skin and eyes with risk of permanent damage. Inhalation of Hydrochloric Acid vapour is harmful and may result in burns to nasal tissue, respiratory tract and lungs. Ingestion of Hydrochloric Acid may be fatal and can certainly cause burns to the mouth, throat, digestive tract and stomach. Even at low levels of concentration, Hydrochloric Acid safety should be considered as it can cause irritation to eye, skin and soft tissue.
Spillages of Hydrochloric Acid should be neutralised with soda ash or absorbed with sand, earth or other inert material. Large spillages must be dammed to prevent further spreading. Emergency services, the Environment Agency or other similar body should be contacted in the case of land or water contamination because it is extremely important that any spilled material does not enter the drains, sewers or waterways. Hydrochloric Acid has the capacity to change the pH of water, thereby potentially damaging aquatic organisms.
Hydrochloric Acid is one of the most important mineral acids in industry and has applications in steel-making, PVC manufacture and the food industry. In steel-making Hydrochloric Acid is used to remove rust from metal; this process is known as 'pickling'. It is also used to 'acidise' oil wells. In PVC manufacture, Hydrochloric Acid is used in the production of Vinyl Chloride for PVC. In food manufacturing, Hydrochloric Acid is used in food preparation, food canning and the manufacture of corn syrups for soft drinks and sauces. Hydrochloric Acid is used in the building trade to etch concrete and as a brick cleaner. Dilute concentrations of Hydrochloric Acid are also found in many household cleaning products and for swimming pool maintenance.
In addition to this webpage on Hydrochloric Acid Safety, you will find pages which give information on transporting Hydrochloric Acid, Hydrochloric Acid packaging and Hydrochloric Acid labelling. Hydrochloric Acid is also commonly known as Muriatic Acid and its chemical formulation is HCl.
http://www.hydrochloric-acid.co.uk/hydrochloric-acid-safety | Saved Friday, November 18th, 2011 - 5:35 AM