Hydrochloric acid is a clear, pungent solution of hydrogen chloride that has been mixed with water. It is also commonly known as muriatic acid. It is a highly corrosive acid with many industrial uses and can cause burns when it comes to skin contact.
It is a highly concentrated acid with a high pH value and thus maximum care must be taken when dealing with it. It can easily cause burns to the skins and eyes if not properly handled. It is, therefore, important to use protective material such as gloves and eye glasses when handling it. Wearing of a lab coat also decreases ones’ exposure to the dangerous acid. One ought to be properly dressed when handling this acid. Sandals and open shoes are not advised as they increase ones’ exposure. It Is thus important for one to wear closed shoes that are also strong. Most people would advise one to wear leather shoes.
When handling hydrochloric acid it is also important to note that it should be handled with the utmost care. The acid should be stored in glass flasks that do not have any other component. This is so as to ensure that no unexpected and unnecessary reactions take place without one knowing. If it also stored in plastic flasks, the acid can slowly corrode the surface and eventually spill out of its container. This will especially be dangerous if somebody unexpectedly comes into contact with it while not wearing any protective gear.
However, the biggest danger from hydrochloric acid is hydrogen chloride gas. This is a gas that comes out of concentrated hydrochloric acid. When these fumes are emitted, they dissolve in the moisture, in the respiratory system and can cause severe lung damage. This is because they release a burning sensation that makes the heart feel like it is on fire. When taken in extremely high concentrations, it can cause pulmonary edema or even death.
Hydrochloric acid is found in certain components that we may use in our everyday lives. Such components include fertilizers, soldering fluxes and pool chemicals that contain the acid. To avoid any dangers that can be posed to ones’ safety, it is important to handle it with care when using it under any circumstance.
There are several symptoms that arise from touching hydrochloric acid. These may include blisters, burns and loss of eyesight when it comes into contact with the eyes. When one swallows it, symptoms include breathing difficulty, drooling, fever, mouth pain, a rapid drop in blood pressure and vomiting. Symptoms from breathing in hydrogen chloride gas includes coughing, choking, chest pains, coughing blood, bluish color to lips and finger nails, weakness and shortness of breath.
When one comes into contact with hydrochloric acid, seek immediate professional help. One should flush the skin with water for as long as fifteen minutes if it has come into contact with the skin or eyes. If one swallows the acid, they should take water and milk unless they feel like vomiting. In the case where one inhaled it, they should have as much fresh air as possible.
Why is hydrochloric acid dangerous? Retrieved from: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_hydrochloric_acid_dangerous
Hydrochloric acid poisoning Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002498.htm