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Safety, June 26, 2012

Follow these rules when adding solvents and thinners to an acid or base

If a task requires you to use solvents or thinners, following a few rules can prevent you from being burned by an acid or base:

  • Before using any chemicals, read the MSDS and container label. Ensure you and at least one other person understand the emergency treatment procedures. The other person should be readily available in case of mishap.
  • Use the recommended PPE. If you can't obtain the recommended PPE, then don't do the work. Don’t substitute (e.g., eyeglasses in place of goggles) for expediency or "just this once."
  • Verify the ventilation is adequate. Proceed only when it is.
  • Never wear contact lenses around chemicals (or around welders, either). Contacts can accelerate damage to irreplaceable eye tissue, and they usually hinder emergency treatment (e.g., eye flush).
  • If you need to mix a chemical with water, never pour water into acid. Add acid to water, and do it slowly because acid may react violently contacting water (or a base).
  • Have a spill cleanup kit ready.
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