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Identifying and Mitigating Occupational Exposure Risks to Sodium Hydroxide and Other Industrial Chemicals

Clark Seif Clark provides industrial hygiene testing, consulting and training services to protect workers and to help keep companies in regulatory compliance.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

Occupational exposure to sodium hydroxide can burn the eyes, skin and inner membranes.

Sodium hydroxide, also referred to as lye or caustic soda, is an inorganic chemical compound manufactured for use in a number of industries. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), sodium hydroxide is used in processing cotton fabric, laundering and bleaching, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating and electrolytic extracting. Sodium hydroxide is also used to manufacture soaps, rayon, paper, explosives, dyestuffs and petroleum products.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides examples of some of the workers that are potentially at risk of being exposed to sodium hydroxide. The list includes workers who:

  • Use bleach, oven cleaners and drain cleaners
  • Work in food processing plants
  • Work in public water treatment plants
  • Use sodium hydroxide for making paper, glass, detergents, soaps and other products
  • Mine alumina and produce aluminum

“Occupational exposure to sodium hydroxide can burn the eyes, skin and inner membranes,” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “ATSDR reports that inhalation of high levels can produce swelling or spasms of the upper airway leading to obstruction and loss of measurable pulse, inflammation of the lungs and the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Long-term exposure to sodium hydroxide in the air may lead to ulceration of the nasal passages and chronic skin irritation. These are all reasons why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for sodium hydroxide and NIOSH has a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL).”
To help companies and institutions protect their workers from exposure to sodium hydroxide and other chemical hazards, the industrial hygiene professionals at CSC offer testing, monitoring, consulting and training services. CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about sodium hydroxide and occupational exposure hazards that can be seen at:
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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 Sodium Hydroxide
 Industrial Hygiene
 Occupational Health
 Occupational Safety

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