Monday, April 22, 2013

Dangerous Results Of Sodium Silicate

Sodium silicate can cause damage to lungs, digestive tract, skin or eyes.

Sodium silicate is the name for the compound containing sodium oxide, or Na2O and silica or silicon dioxide. Together these make the compound Na2O(SiO2)x.(H2O)x. The compound is most often used in making silica gel, the white beads that are found in a small packet inside electronics packaging. It is water soluble and has a melting point of over 800 degrees Centigrade. The solution, even if diluted, is a strong alkaline irritant and is corrosive.

Preventative Protection

Because sodium silicate has a moderate to severe health risk with potentially severe harmful effects to skin, eyes and internal organs, protective equipment is worn when handling the compound, including goggles and shield, lab coat, apron and gloves. A vent hood is used for proper ventilation.

Respiratory Tract Damage

Sodium silicate is a strong alkaline and can cause severe irritation to the mucous membranes of the lungs and upper respiratory tract. A high degree of inhalation can cause permanent damage. Sufferers may experience a burning sensation or other signs of lung involvement such as coughing or shortness of breath and may also experience nausea and vomiting. Persons with prior lung conditions can be especially susceptible to damage.

Digestive Tract Damage

Sodium silicate can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation that presents with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe cases of ingestion can lead to burns throughout the digestive tract.

Skin Damage

When sodium silicate comes in contact with skin, it can cause severe irritation with itching and pain. The liquid form of the compound dries into a glass film that can cut skin. Severe contact can produce full-thickness (third-degree) burns. Persons with chronic skin conditions can be especially susceptible to this risk.

Eye Damage

Exposure of the eyes to sodium silicate causes reactions similar to caustics, including inflammation or burns. Ripping of the eye tissues is also a risk, accompanied by severe pain and possible permanent damage to the eye.

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