Caustic Soda

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Guy's hospital poisons unit (which holds the national database on all chemicals and poisons) would tell you that there is very little that is worse than caustic soda. Call them if you don't believe me
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A K wrote:

Riiiight...
I don't need to call them, I have full access to MSDS for about 100,000 compounds.
You have been severely misinformed.
--
Grunff


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The fuck they would.
Ask them about Ricin.
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Steve Firth wrote:

Or indeed Amanita phalloides ior Amanita Virosa.
You get sick, you get better.
Then you die.

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writes

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dave @ stejonda

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On Mon, 27 Oct 2003 12:35:07 +0000 (UTC), "A K"

Moved to Birmigham now, hasn't it ?

Sadly they won't, Toxbase is NHS or subscription only.

In that case they're either stating "caustic soda causes most of our serious injuries" or they've seriously skewed their stats by incidence (caustic soda is after all extremely common).
NaOH is far from the most toxic, or even the most corrosive chemical that you can buy "over the counter" on a "typical high street". Look at common industrial chemicals and there are much, much worse.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Indeed, I once dripped about 20microlitres of liquid buffered phenol on my leg (I was wearing shorts and sitting down). Boy did that hurt, far nastier than caustic.
Peter
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Peter Ashby
School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland
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A K wrote:

Indeed, if used by an adult who isn't aware that the correct and immediate abtidote is gallons of water immediately, around children.
Get it into your tum tum and the hydrochloric acid should fix it. Its what happens in the way down that is scary.
Parents who haven't a clue about basic first aid and chemistry - probably the norm these days since advanced school chemistry probably consists of 'how to make bread using yeast and sugar' - shouldn't be usingf anything more complicated than a mobile phone.

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writes

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geoff

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geoff wrote:

Fair point. Think of it as evolution in action.
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Whilst alkali metal hydroxides are not nice chemicals they hardly compare with various alkaloids which can have lethal doses measured in 10's on mg.
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Err, that's exactly what AK wrote:
"...being careful with what child has access to" a) don't use hazardous materials if you don't have to (as AK said) , the ultimate form of access control b) store hazardous materials safely (as AK siad), the next best thing
Not sure what you are disagreeing with! (And, yes, I have used caustic soda, but I don't store any if I can help it).
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Bob Mannix wrote:

I'm disagreeing with "use something else if you can", which implies that anything is preferable to sodium hydroxide. I should've snipped the quote a bit.
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I think you are being a bit cavalier with your inferences. IMHO most reasonable readers would have inferred that AK's meaning was "use something less hazardous if you can" and not "anything is preferable to Sodium Hydroxide", as the thread was about hazard.
There are, occasionally, posters on this ng who just say "don't do this, it's dangerous" - I understand this can annoy. AK did not do this - it's not that helpful to react as though (s)he did!
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Bob Mannix wrote:

Point taken, but if you now read AK's other post, where (s)he says:
"Guy's hospital poisons unit (which holds the national database on all chemicals and poisons) would tell you that there is very little that is worse than caustic soda. Call them if you don't believe me"
You will see that my initial assumption, though premature, was apparently correct.
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At the risk of prolonging the discussion, I would say
a) AK's original post was OK, you misinterpreted it and now everyone is getting riled and the thread less objective!
b) It may well be that of the things the Guy's poisons unit sees on a day to day basis caustic soda is as bad as it gets (because of its caustic properties). Clearly there are worse poisons but they are rather uncommon.
I would *choose* (which I guess is where you are coming from) not to store caustic soda at home, as I have children around. Personally I would regard it as being sufficiently hazardous that I would not rely on getting them used to it and keeping it in a "not to be touched" cupboard. The cautionary tale merely demonstrates to me that this is a sensible precaution. It's little comfort, if you have a badly burned child, to know something else might have been worse! If the situation demanded it, I would certainly use caustic soda, have no fear! I would, now, take even more care over cleaning up or disposal (vacuuming rather than brushing etc.). There are also, undoubtedly, occasional d*ck-brains who read this newsgroup who shouldn't be let out on their own and, no, the rest of us aren't responsible for them. Identifying hazards, however, is a perfectly reasonable thing to do (and even somewhat exaggerating them if necessary) as long as you don't actually tell people what to do.
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Ok, corrected,
What's the difference ?
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geoff

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Hygroscopic materials absorb water from the air.
Deliquescent materials absorb so much that they'll dissolve in it. Relatively few hygroscopic materials do this.
Conventionally, deliquescent materials aren't described as hygroscopic (i.e. using the term hygroscopic implies that it isn't actually deliquescent)
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font of knowledge with dictionary thrown in ...
cheers
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geoff

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You are taking the mickey. I claim my five pounds. ;)
PoP
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