If you spill a liquid chemical, what should you do?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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If you spill a liquid chemical, you need to clean it. However, before you clean it, you need to know the properties of the spilled chemical to make an informed decision of how best to clean it. In general, if you are in a laboratory, chances are that there is a folder containing MSDS (material safety data sheets) for each chemical. MSDS is one or multi page document that details the properties of a chemical and can help you decide on the best ways to store it and clean it. You need to know the right way to clean the chemical and also what needs to be done in case of a hazard. Some chemicals, such as strong acids, generate fumes when spilled and you need personal protective equipment to protect yourself. In some other cases, one can simply clean the chemical with paper towels and then clean the surface with water. In some other cases, depending on the chemical, one will need to neutralize it (with acid or base) and then clean it. In any case, you need to ensure that anybody working in the vicinity be made aware of the spill, so that nobody gets injured accidentally.

Hope this helps.

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