Soda ash is not classified as toxic, but can injure the eyes and irritate the skin upon contact and be harmful if ingested. It has an acute oral LD50 of 2.8 g/kg (rat) and a primary skin irritation index (PSII) of 2.54 (rabbit). As a result, inhalation, ingestion, and exposure to the eyes should be minimized.
Limited exposure to soda ash dust is not ordinarily harmful, because its dust is soluble and does not accumulate in the pulmonary tract. Nevertheless, dust concentrations high enough to impair visibility or that exceed permissible government regulations should be avoided. Some individuals are unusually sensitive to soda ash dust. Although certain minimum standards for soda ash dust must be observed, the use of personal protective equipment may vary depending on individual sensitivity.
Soda ash dust may temporarily irritate the nose and throat. Also, some people are allergic to alkaline materials and may develop dermatitis when working with soda ash. Those with pre-existing skin diseases are particularly susceptible. In warm weather, soda ash dust can dissolve in perspiration and cause some discomfort. This condition is aggravated if lime dust is also present, because the two materials combine to form caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) in the presence of moisture, e.g., perspiration. Caustic soda is a strong and corrosive alkali, so every effort should be made to avoid simultaneous exposure to both materials.
As required, exposed personnel should use a respirator approved by NIOSH for dusts. At a minimum, personnel handling soda ash should wear a hard hat, chemical safety goggles, long-sleeve shirt, trousers and gloves for routine product use (cotton gloves for dry product and impervious gloves for solutions). Personnel should not wear contact lenses.
NIOSH-approved safety belts and lifelines should always be worn by workmen entering bins or silos containing soda ash so it is easier to rescue them if the material should suddenly shift or slide.
Clean up soda ash spills promptly. Correct dusting conditions immediately, and clean up any soda ash dust. Soda ash is not flammable, and its dust is not explosive.
First AidWash skin that comes in contact with soda ash with plenty of water. For eye contact, flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes and get medicalattention. For ingestion, have victim drink large amounts of water to dilute the material. Do not induce vomiting. Get medical attention for irritation, ingestion or discomfort from inhalation.
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Industrial Products Inc.
120 Eagle Rock Avenue
East Hanover, NJ 07936
Tel: (973) 599-5500
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