Apr. 21, 2022
While it is not the most dangerous chemical you may find in the workplace, benzoic acid must be handled properly to avoid injury and health risks on the job. Benzoic acid is a white crystalline powder with a faint, non-irritating odor. It is a compound that occurs naturally in many plants and is an important precursor for the synthesis of many other organic substances.
Benzoic acid is most commonly used in industrial settings to make a variety of products such as perfumes, dyes, topical medications, and insect repellents.
Benzoate (sodium benzoate) is commonly used as a pH regulator and preservative in food products to prevent microbial growth for food safety. It works by changing the internal pH of microorganisms to an acidic state that is incompatible with their growth and survival.
Benzoic acid is non-toxic and stable under normal conditions. Although occupational exposure limits have not been established, benzoic acid may still pose a health risk, therefore, safe work practices should always be followed.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling
Use only in well-ventilated areas
Minimize dust generation and accumulation
Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing
Wash clothing before reuse
Avoid inhalation of dust
Short and long-term effects of benzoic acid exposure
Immediately or shortly after exposure to benzoic acid, the following health effects may occur.
Skin irritation, causing rash, redness, and/or burning sensation
Inhalation can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs and may cause coughing, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath
In addition to these short-term exposure effects, prolonged or repeated exposure to benzoic acid can cause dry and cracked skin with redness and itching. Exposure to high concentrations of benzoic acid, especially in susceptible individuals, may lead to skin sensitization. If sensitization occurs, even very low levels of exposure can cause itching and rashes.
If exposure to benzoic acid occurs, take the following steps.
Immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. If wearing contact lenses, be sure to remove them before rinsing. Seek medical attention.
Remove contaminated clothing quickly and wash contaminated skin immediately with plenty of soap and water. Seek medical attention.
Remove the individual from contact and move immediately to an area with fresh air. Seek immediate medical attention.
Seek immediate medical attention. Rinse your mouth and drink 2-4 cups of milk or water. Do not induce vomiting.
If benzoic acid is spilled.
Evacuate people and control entrances to the area
Eliminate all ignition sources
Vacuum clean with HEPA filter and dispose of in a sealed container
Ventilate and clean the area after cleaning is complete
Do not flush down the drain
Benzoic acid should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area in a tightly closed container. Store away from sources of heat, fire, and incompatible substances such as oxidizers (e.g. peroxides) and strong bases (e.g. sodium hydroxide).
If you want to get more information about the safety precautions when handling benzoic acid, welcome to contact us today or request a quote.