IDENTIFICATION AND USE: At room temperature, sodium hydroxide is a white crystalline odorless solid that absorbs moisture from the air. It is a manufactured substance. When dissolved in water or neutralized with acid it liberates substantial heat, which may be sufficient to ignite combustible materials. Sodium hydroxide is very corrosive. It is generally used as a solid or a 50% solution.

Other common names include caustic soda and lye. Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture soaps, rayon, paper, explosives, dyestuffs, and petroleum products. It is also used in processing cotton fabric, laundering and bleaching, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extracting. It is commonly present in commercial drain and oven cleaners.

ADVERSE EFFECTS: Breathing difficulty (from inhalation), lung inflammation, sneezing, throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty), blood in the stool, burns of the esophagus (food pipe) and stomach, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, possibly bloody, drooling, severe pain in the throat, severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue, vision loss, collapse, low blood pressure (develops rapidly), severe change in pH (too much or too little acid in the blood), and shock.