Sodium hydroxide is highly soluble in water and easily reacts with air. Hence it should be stored in a safe place and in an air tight container. It is highly exothermic, which means that it emits a lot of heat upon reacting with water or even other chemicals like sulphur. It can cause severe burns and it can ignite inflammables. Exposure to sodium hydroxide, whether it might be a solid or a liquid, may cause severe burns on your skin, damage to your eyes and any ingestion whatsoever may be fatal. It is extremely important to take proper safety precautions when working with this dangerous chemical.
As we know that sodium hydroxide is often used as a cleaning agent, the residue of the chemical in ovens, sinks or other areas may cause skin irritation or skin burns. Workers using sodium hydroxide risk facial irritation, nasal irriation, throat irritation, respiratory problems and other problems. It can also cause inflammation of the lungs and accumulation of fluid in the lungs if one is constantly exposed to the vapors, dust or mist. Proper precautions must be taken in order to prevent problems and serious injury. Employees working in such industries can wear gloves, masks and suitable dress in order to prevent harmful contact with the chemical.
Children are most susceptible to ill effects of sodium hydroxide. If around children, one must avoid using it or at least keep it in such a place which is not reachable to children. Do not store sodium hydroxide in containers that might attract children. Never touch your face or any part of the skin while using sodium hydroxide.
It is advisable to not use sodium hydroxide without first familiarizing yourself with the possible problems and precautions that must be taken to use it safely.