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Chemical Hazard Highlight: Corrosives

Corrosives are defined as substances that attack and chemically destroy exposed body tissue on contact, inhalation, or ingestion. Corrosives, or sometimes referred to as caustics, exist in our everyday lives, in our homes, and in our workplaces (industrial and non-industrial). Safety around these types of chemicals, both at home and in the workplace, is critical. Injuries caused by corrosive materials can be painful and sometimes fatal based on the concentration and duration of the chemical exposure. Industrial workers are often more at risk due to the amount of industrial-grade corrosives they often work with.

What is considered a corrosive chemical?

Corrosives typically consist of an acid or a base. Acids include hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and chromic acid. Bases include ammonium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and sodium hydroxide.

How to recognize corrosive exposure

Inhalation. Breathing in even small amounts of a corrosive material can cause nose, throat, and mouth irritation. Larger amounts can potentially cause severe lung damage.

Ingestion. Initial symptoms include drooling and dysphagia. Pain, vomiting, and sometimes bleeding will develop immediately in the mouth, throat, chest, or abdomen.

Eye Contact. Symptoms can include eye redness, irritation, pain, swelling, blurred vision, or inability to keep eyes open.

Skin Contact. Symptoms can include pain, redness, burns, and blistering.

What to do in case of exposure

It is advised to treat every case as an extreme emergency until the substance can be identified. If skin or eye contact occurs, professionals advise the affected areas be washed immediately. If a corrosive is ingested, it is advised not to induce vomiting and water be ingested to dilute the chemical. In any case, ingestion, skin or eye contact, medical treatment should be sought immediately.

How to protect oneself from exposure in the workplace or at home

Wearing chemical-resistant eye goggles, protective gloves, aprons, shoes, and face shields are multiple ways to protect oneself from exposure to corrosive or caustic materials.

If you or a loved one live in the Lake Charles area and have been injured from exposure to corrosive chemicals as the result of employer negligence, contact the experienced attorneys at Baggett McCall. Our attorneys have over 60 years of experience handling cases just like yours.

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