What are corrosive materials?

Corrosives are chemicals that can cause damage or irritation to tissue that it comes in contact with. Some can even cause damage to metal. They can come in solid, liquid or gas form and are often strong acids, bases or dehydrating agents.

Corrosive gases

readily absorbed into the body through skin contact and inhalation

Corrosive liquids

frequently used in the laboratory and have a high potential to cause external injury to the body

Corrosive solids

cause delayed injury. Because corrosive solids dissolve rapidly in moisture on the skin and in the respiratory system, the effects of corrosive solids depend largely on the duration of contact

How should I handle corrosive materials?

  • Always wear proper safety goggles, gloves, lab coat and closed toe shoes
  • Always add acids or bases to water (not the reverse)
  • Liquid corrosives should be stored below eye level
  • Finish dispensing one material and close lid before dispensing another
  • If the chemical has any inhalation hazards, handle under a fume hood
  • Decontaminate the area after use by flushing with large amounts of water

What do I do if I spill a corrosive?

  • Alert others around you of the spill
  • If the material gets on your skin or eyes, flush with water and seek medical attention if there is any question to the severity of harm
  • Use the proper spill control materials determined by the lab

Page last modified March 2, 2015