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Acid spill


G’day; those of you who have acids around - for whatever
reason - should also have very handy, a wide-mouthed jar or other
vessel containing at least a pound of baking soda (sodium
bicarbonate). In the event of an acid spill simply cover the
spill thoroughly with the bicarbonate - it’s cheap enough so
don’t stint and let it lie there for at least five minutes. If
the floor/table shows through the white powder, cover it again so
the spill is completely absorbed. Finally use the conventional
dustpan and brush to sweep it up, disposing of it in the usual
way you deal with rubbish/trash, for it is now pretty harmless.
That way you aren’t exposed to noxious fumes or risk of spreading
the effects of the acid. If you pour water on the spill you risk
causing further damage and there is still the difficulty of
disposal. During my long exposure to laboratory hazards I have
experienced spills of just about every nasty chemical you can
think of - and a great many more you never heard of. One of the
worst is fuming sulphuric acid which is really vicious, and even
worse than nitric acid. As Lab Safety Officer I’ve had to deal
with full 2.5 litre bottles of those (and lots of others) smashed
on a wooden floor, and rapid treatment with heaped bicarbonate
quickly fixed the problems. In fact, the bicarbonate treatment is
good for any spill of potential nasties. 30vol hydrogen
peroxide (strongest possible) is as nasty as acids if you get any
on you, yet it is neither acid or alkaline. However, a spill can
be similarly treated with bicarbonate, but in that case one
washes the stuff down the toilet or sink (it won’t harm the
environment!) And here endeth the (cockney) lecture. Cheers, –
/\ / / John Burgess, / / / //\ @John_Burgess2 / / \ \ / (___)
\ (_________)


Greetings John: Thanks for the detailed info. I’m sure it’ll help
many of us. One question:

Can one use the bicarbonate also for oxalic acid to achieve the

Thanks in advance.

Joe Bokor


Can one use the bicarbonate also for oxalic acid to achieve
the results?

G’day; Yes; in fact the bicarbonate treatment is a good thing
to do for any spills of a dubious nature - it will absorb any
liquid easily, though it won’t make things like cyanide and
oxalic acid any less poisonous - it will simply make the liquid
easy to clean up and dispose of. Cheers,

       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \


hi john, after one has reclaimed the gold from cyanide that has
been used for bombing, can one ‘neutralise’ or change the
cyanide so it is not lethal? i’ve heard that by putting
household bleach in the cyanide solution changes the solution
into something that is more like the base for ‘superglue’
(cyanoacrylates). would you happen to have any input on this?
or, should i say, what is your input on this? thanks!

best regards,
geo fox