Safety Precautions When Handling Benzoic Acid

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

 Benzoic Acid     


Safety precautions when handling benzoic acid

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.


Eye damage

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.


 Benzoic Acid

 Benzoic Acid 

Benzoic Acid Exposure Management

If exposure to benzoic acid occurs, take the following steps.


Eye contact

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.


Skin Contact

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.


Handling a Benzoic Acid Spill

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

Safe Storage of Benzoic Acid

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.  

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