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Author: Subject: the basic Strong Acids harm skin?
golfpro
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 18:41
the basic Strong Acids harm skin?


I started out being afraid to open a bottle of conc. HCl because I thought it could do serious damage, eventually, I spilled a drop of sulfuric acid on my finger and felt or saw nothing, I have even grabbed a bottle of close to anhydrous Nitric acid that had been sitting a while, I thought was sealed but the acid was dripping down the outside side of the bottle, maybe this isn't very concentrated when the vapors condense but the most I got was a little spot of yellow stained skin.



Don't ask how or why but everything here was extremely small amounts just out of curiosity.

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confused
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 19:00


well, mostly for safety purposes, I'd rather a 100ml spill of sulfuric acid than a 1l spill
and smaller quantities are easier to work with (up to a point)

also, WEAR GLOVES when working with acids/bases/anything corrosive, generally when working with anything in the lab
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golfpro
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 19:15


Well obviously, I am trying to see beyond that. I wear gardening gloves working with nitric acid and nitrile with anything else, but I have basically come into skin contact with most strong acids and saw or felt nothing. This was very small amounts still, but all this time I thought you would be toast if any of these things touched your skin even in the smallest amounts. I won't go dipping my fingers into conc. HNO3, but I'd have though one drop would have done something more, I didn't realize the nitric was actually dripping down the side out before I grabbed the bottle.

This isn't very scientific but oh well!


[Edited on 3-9-2013 by golfpro]

[Edited on 3-9-2013 by golfpro]
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confused
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 20:08


nitric acid caused the yellow stain due to its reaction with the protein in the skin, keratin, basically it denatures it and the area of skin is effectively dead.

sufuric acid reacts with the water in the skin, dehydating it, it also releases heat when it dissasociates in water, causing thermal burns

hydrochloric acid is a stronger acid, as it dissasociates more completly than H2SO4 or HNO3

the hydrogen ions of all strong acids react with proteins and components of the flesh to cause a decomposition of the skin, it wont happen immediatly though, it'll take some time for that to happen, thats why you should rinse it off with copious amounts of water if you get it on you.

also, i would reccomend disposable nitrile gloves instead of gardening gloves when dealing with acids/bases, they are more chemical resistant than gardening gloves, which are usually rubber. They should be avalible at your local pharmacy
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Rich_Insane
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 16:11


I've gotten conc. HCl on my skin numerous times. It will not eat away flesh immediately. Run to the sink and wash it off right away. The worst I have experienced from HCl is some mild redness and irritation.

Wearing nitrile gloves usually does the trick. I can't say the same for nitric/sulfuric acid though. Just be very careful while handling strong acids (actually any acids, HF is a weak acid and I would not want that anywhere near my skin).
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cyanureeves
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 16:29


oh nitric acid will get you but it may take a while because it will nitrate your skin and if you stand next to sugar you will explode.seriously weak nitric acid solutions will cause your fingernails to get very, very thin then they break all the way down to the middle.i have had all ten nails crack at once and it took days to heal.i have also had yellow skin just wear away after it was damaged with nitric acid and can only imagine what the red nitric fumes do to the sinus cavity.
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 17:18


I always figured the oily layer on the top of the skin offers a moment of protection in case of stupidity.



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ElectroWin
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 17:32


skin resists acids better than it does bases;
but dont let even a small drop of HF touch your skin!
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 18:09


Nine days ago I accidentally got a drop of concentrated sulfuric acid on my leg. I immediately felt a hot sensation, not painful at first, but gradually growing more and more so over the few seconds that it took to run to the sink. It ended up leaving a red sore that still hasn't healed.

The thing you have to watch out for with hydrochloric acid, on the other hand, isn't skin contact -- it's the fumes. They smell like severe nasal pain.




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Nitro-esteban
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 19:59


Once a solution of sodium hydroxide fell on my foot, it started itching instantly and my skin got red but when I touch it with my hands nothing happens.
Sulphuric acid wont burn you easily unless it is very conentrated, as for hydrochloric acid, I consider it to be quite safe at any conentration and I never wear gloves to handle it.
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[*] posted on 11-9-2013 at 17:28


I always wear gloves when working with HCl, although they are just thin latex gloves. I've gotten a small amount of ~9.5 molar HCl on my skin, and it sizzled a little and I felt a slight burning sensation. I generally don't wear eye protection when pouring small amounts of HCl, but I wear a full face shield and heavy gloves for H2SO4.

Maybe not wearing goggles when handling HCl is a very stupid idea, but it's all based on skill level and confidence, and I believe that I've gained enough experience to pour HCl from a bottle.

I also installed a homemade chemical shower in my lab, it's controlled by a rope and weight near the wall. A spring holds the valve in the closed position. I should probably test this thing, although I'm assuming that it has enough flow.

But yes, HCl mists do smell terrible. I've inhaled some hydrogen chloride and my nose burned for a few hours after that. It also makes things rust like crazy. I've heard suggestions regarding its storage, namely storing it in a bucket with some base. I figured that iron wool would result in a less violent reaction, should any HCl be spilled.

[Edited on 12-9-2013 by Awesomeness]




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Pyro
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[*] posted on 12-9-2013 at 07:18


HCl is no big deal on your skin, ive used it for cleaning (30%) on a rag with bare hands and only started to feel it after about 3-4 minutes, they were just sensitive.

azeotropic HNO3 I handle with nitrile gloves, I use butyl ones for WFNA and hot H2SO4.
WP_20130902_008.jpg - 62kB these are kind of pricey but are resistant to almost everything. I recommend them.

98% H2SO4 is quite nasty, on your hands it's not too bad. but on your face it is VERY bad
as for hot... don't even want to think about that!

I don't own a faceshield or even goggles, nor can I afford either. I have large glasses I need to see, wearing goggles over them is a pain, anyway, they provide more protection than some goggles (such as school ones)

note: oxalic acid is a great foot cleaner, every year we bleach the deck with it and after walking around for a few hrs in it my feet are so clean! I should market it as foot cleaner :D




all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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Artemus Gordon
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[*] posted on 12-9-2013 at 18:26


Quote: Originally posted by Pyro  


I don't own a faceshield or even goggles, nor can I afford either. I have large glasses I need to see, wearing goggles over them is a pain, anyway, they provide more protection than some goggles (such as school ones)


You can't afford $4.25?
http://www.elementalscientific.net/store/scripts/prodView.as...

I wear these over my glasses, they are very comfortable.
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 13-9-2013 at 07:13


ah, cheaper than the ones I saw! anyway, as seen in ''picture of members'' I have very large eyeglasses making them protective.

Artemus, not everybody swims in cash like you :D




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[*] posted on 26-9-2013 at 19:36


the acid you spilled may not be concentrated.
My classmate accidentally dropped some 98% sulphuric acid on his jeans. He used water to flush them immediately. But there was still a big hole left on his jeans.
So, be careful with these chemicals.




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[*] posted on 26-9-2013 at 20:39


Quote: Originally posted by Cheddite Cheese  

The thing you have to watch out for with hydrochloric acid, on the other hand, isn't skin contact -- it's the fumes. They smell like severe nasal pain.


Yeah, that's a pretty reasonable statement :P




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[*] posted on 27-9-2013 at 00:56


Acetic acid is much much worse(as I found out today)

'Sniff testing' a vial because you hadn't used anything that would be unhealthy doesn't take into account what you did the day before(and left in storage without a label.) Glacial acetic acid fumes burn like hell! A few drips landed on my wrist between the gloves and the sleeve and even that burnt immediately.

[Edited on 27-9-2013 by Mesa]
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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 14:12


i spilled a drop of h2so4 on my forearm. all it did was get hot. also some fumes from hno3 and h2so4 nitrating baths got on my legs. this left a wierd bald spot but no damage



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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 04:07


In VERY small amounts, these acids (apart from HF) do not do very much damage. HNO3 turns the affected area of skin yellow, as already mentioned. H2SO4 and HCl both have a similar effect; nothing, followed by making it very itchy, when you realise you need to wash your hand or what ever it is (assuming you did not realise). In other words, if you realise quickly, and you treat these things with a SEVERE amount of respect, you will be ok.



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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 06:39


Quote: Originally posted by Mesa  
Acetic acid is much much worse(as I found out today)

'Sniff testing' a vial because you hadn't used anything that would be unhealthy doesn't take into account what you did the day before(and left in storage without a label.) Glacial acetic acid fumes burn like hell! A few drips landed on my wrist between the gloves and the sleeve and even that burnt immediately.

[Edited on 27-9-2013 by Mesa]

Wow, I didn't know glacial acetic acid was that bad.... I have some that I haven't opened yet, what kind of protection should I use, gloves and goggles of course, anything else?




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