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Hydrochloric acid

  1. Nov 10, 2008 #1
    can hydrochloric acid seriously injure say your hand if it hit it? serious burns or down to the bone?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2

    Borek

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    Highly concentrated is dangerous. I haven't seen anyone burned with lower concentrations - say 1M - although you should rinse your hands with water after contact.
     
  4. Nov 13, 2008 #3
    +1. It really depends on the concentration.

    Although that's also not to say that if some hydrochloric acid (of any concentration) spilled on my skin, I wouldn't rinse it of VERY thoroughly.
     
  5. Nov 14, 2008 #4

    Borek

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    Sorry about the disgusting comparison, but please remember that your stomach is full of 0.1M hydrochloric acid and that's what your skin comes in contact with when you vomit. And while you usually wash your skin after vomiting, such a spoilage is hardly dangerous.

    Bottom point being - let's not ignore dangers, but let's not exaggerate either.
     
  6. Nov 23, 2008 #5
    I would only really worry if it is above 2-3M.

    I have spilled 1M HCl on my hands countless times in the labs and taken quite a bit of time before washing it off (about 5 minutes) and it hasn't ever bothered me.
     
  7. Dec 17, 2008 #6
    I have sometimes spilled concentrated HCl on a hand, just little amounts, 1 or some ml; nothing happend at least in a few seconds...
    Conc. H2SO4 is another thing, is much more dangerous, it burns organic matter; fortunately I have never spilled it in those amounts, only very tiny drops, immediately rinsed: just a little feel of heat; time is a very important parametre because those reactions have ~ exponential speeds.
    There really are much more dangerous chemicals, which can burn your skin and your flesh much more efficiently, but I prefer not to talk about it (even because of forum rules).
    I think the principal risk with handling conc. HCl is related to inhale it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  8. Dec 17, 2008 #7
    Experimental HCl that you usually use in labs, is relatively not dangerous, however don't get it on your clothes.
     
  9. Jan 8, 2009 #8

    ~christina~

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    What is your definition of, "Experimental HCl"? Concentrated HCl that I use in my lab IS dangerous, and I wouldn't get it on my hand.
    As mentioned before any concentrated acid/base is hazardous, and precautions must be taken.

    You shouldn't take such things lightly or you'll be a hazard to yourself and others in lab.
     
  10. Jan 11, 2009 #9
    Yes, you're right, but we were addressing the question if it seriously injuries a hand if hits it. The answer is no.
     
  11. Jan 11, 2009 #10

    Monique

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    I have an even worse comparison. One night I was watching Doctor G. on the Discovery channel. She was doing an autopsy and noticed redness in the face. It turned out there had been vomit in the face that hadn't been wiped off, which caused a chemical burn.

    Another less sick comparison, they use sodium hydroxide to 'peel' off the skin of canned tangerines (which is later neutralized with hydrochloric acid). They used 2.5 M for half an hour.

    The concentration is important, as is the time of exposure. I think you can get some really bad burns from concentrated solutions, remember that after a spill that just washing your hands with water won't neutralize the contamination sufficiently.

    In the lab I often use a solution of 10M NaOH, I'm very careful with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  12. Jan 11, 2009 #11
    just don't be stupid. concentrated things like HCl, NaOH, and H2SO4 really aren't that bad. they are easy to handle.


    things that give off corrosive gases like chlorsulfonic acid and phosphorous oxychloride are much worse.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  13. Jan 11, 2009 #12
    i don't know what those second things are, but i agree with the first. when i was 16 or so and worked nights at the grocery store, our mop sink was regularly clogged. and i can't tell you how many cans of Red Devil Lye and Draino we dumped in that sink. and it still wouldn't flow. so now i've got to reach my arm in there and dig out mop fibers and stuff. never once did this injure me. but the time i tried cleaning a floor with ammonia and bleach... now that was stupid. that chlorine will mess you up good. but typical acid/base concentrations that most people are likely to be exposed to aren't that bad. may destroy your clothes, especially the sulphuric, but overall not that dangerous.
     
  14. Jan 11, 2009 #13

    Yeah I use concentrated acids like sulfuric routinely to clean glassware from organic residues. Even then I might have to bump up to something stronger like aqua regia to clean glassware from tough messes. If you are using a hood, PPE, and proper lab techniques the threat of injury from conc acids and bases is low.
     
  15. Jan 11, 2009 #14

    ~christina~

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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  16. Jan 12, 2009 #15
    i got some on my hands once, and i got purpleish stains that lasted a while, but it wasn't very concentrated.
     
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