How to Safely Handle Caustic Soda Beads

Caustic soda beads definitely live up to their name. As a matter of fact, “caustic” may downplay their reaction. Available from your local water treatment chemical supplier, caustic soda beads tend to corrode or burn any organic material, but most often its reaction is associated with a huge exothermic conflagration when it comes into contact with acids or a heat source.

Knowing the propensity of this chemical to violent reactions, it is extremely important to understand how to safely handle caustic soda beads. When caustic soda beads come into contact with skin, it breaks down proteins and lipids at and beneath the skin’s surface, causing severe chemical burns, deep ulcerations, and scarring.

When working with caustic soda beads, personal protection devices (PPDs) are not suggested or recommended, but imperative. Included in your protective wear should be a particulate filter respirator with full face-piece; close fitting chemical safety goggles; natural rubber, nitrile, or neoprene gloves; boots; and an apron or full chemical suit. Ensure a barrier exists between your skin and eyes, and the caustic soda beads. If you are wearing gloves and a face mask, do not, under any circumstances, rub your face or eyes with gloves that may have come in direct contact with caustic soda beads.

While diluting caustic soda beads or creating a solution, be sure to slowly add the caustic soda beads to the surface of cold--not hot--water since warm or hot water may cause an explosive reaction. Two other solids--sugars and glass--also cause a reaction when mixed with caustic soda beads. Sugars and caustic soda beads generate carbon monoxide, a deadly gas; caustic soda beads corrode glass, which may damage ground glass joints or glazing.

Ensure any room where caustic soda beads are stored or used is well ventilated. Containers of caustic soda beads should be stored in a cool, dry room. Lastly, while pouring or using caustic soda beads, maintain dust levels below permissible levels of exposure. Using these guidelines while handling caustic soda beads will prove much safer for you and your employees.

For additional safety information or to purchase caustic soda beads from a water treatment chemical supplier, contact the experts at Bell Chem today.