Benzoic acid is an aromatic carboxylic acid found in nature. It’s also an ingredient in household items and fresh foods.
Benzoic acid is an environmental hazard if disposed of improperly. It’s also an irritant and potential health hazard to humans. That’s why you need to know the facts about benzoic acid safety.
Are you new to working with benzoic acid in your workplace? Take a look at this guide to learn about benzoic acid’s uses and chemical safety data.
Uses of Benzoic Acid
Benzoic acid is a chemical compound found naturally in plants. Once processed, it becomes a white powdery substance with a faint aroma. Industries use benzoic acid for the following purposes.
Benzoic acid is a common ingredient in many common household items. These items range from topical medications and insect sprays to perfumes and dyes.
Benzoic acid is also found in fresh produce as a fungistatic. Packagers add this chemical to adjust the pH of food, which discourages bacteria from growing.
Benzoic Acid Safety Tips
Under ordinary temperature and pressure, benzoic acid is a stable and non-toxic compound.
Still, you and your team should always practice safe handling methods when dealing with this chemical. Especially since this chemical is a potential environmental hazard.
Here are some top tips for safely dealing with benzoic acid in the workplace.
Benzoic Acid Exposure
If you are exposed to benzoic acid, you risk eye damage and/or irritation to the area where you made contact. Inhalation can be particularly dangerous, causing respiratory tract irritation, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Upon exposure, here are the steps you should take to prevent damage or irritation:
- Eyes: Flush out with water for 15 minutes or longer. Seek medical attention.
- Skin: Wash skin areas with soap and water as soon as possible. If irritation occurs, speak to a medical professional.
- Inhalation: Move to a place with better ventilation, preferably outdoors, immediately. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Ingestion: Rinse out the mouth and drink 2–4 cups of water. Avoid inducing vomiting until a medical professional arrives.
Benzoic Acid Storage
Proper storage of benzoic acid will reduce the chances of a chemical reaction occurring.
Store benzoic acid in airtight containers in a dry location. The location should be away from heat or possible sparks. Oxidizing agents and strong basic chemicals should be kept far away from benzoic acid.
Benzoic Acid Spills
If a benzoic acid spill occurs, you must control the spill immediately to avoid contamination.
Clear the area of workers and ensure the area is secure. Eliminate possible spark sources before using an approved vacuum to clean the spill. Finally, run a fan and deep clean the area.
Dispose of the chemical according to your state’s EPA regulations and avoid disposing of clean up liquids in a sewage line.
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Benzoic acid is a relatively harmless compound as long as you follow these safety tips.
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