What are the dangers of Hydrochloric Acid fumes?
What is Hydrochloric Acid?
Hydrochloric Acid is a colourless or yellow liquid that is an aqueous solution of hydrogen chloride. It has a distinctively strong and irritating odour. The chemical symbol for Hydrogen Chloride is (HCI), and when mixed with water forms Hydrochloric Acid.
What are the dangers of Hydrochloric Acid?
Hydrochloric Acid is corrosive and can cause severe burns if it comes into contact with your skin – it can also cause serious harm if inhaled as fumes. This is because the fumes can easily enter your respiratory system and damage your lungs, throat and other internal organs, causing coughing, wheezing, chest pain and, in severe cases, chemical pneumonia.
What industries create Hydrochloric Acid?
Hydrochloric Acid is used or produced as a by-product of various different industries. For example, when PVC or other chlorine based materials are laser engraved, it can produce Hydrochloric Acid. This happens because the PVC is exposed to high temperatures causing the chlorine to break down and react with the water in the air to form Hydrochloric acid. These include:
- Chemical Manufacturing: Hydrochloric Acid is a commonly used component in the chemical manufacturing of plastics, including PVC and polyurethane.
- Electronics: Hydrochloric Acid fumes are often a by-product in the manufacturing process of electrical equipment. In particular, during the production of PCB boards where copper is etched from the surface of the PCB board to create the desired circuit pattern. Hydrochloric acid fumes are also created as a by product when PVC is engraved.
- Metalwork: Metalwork – in particular, etching and engraving – can release Hydrochloric Acid fumes as a by-product. It is also used to clean and pickle metals before plating or coating.
- Mining: Hydrochloric Acid is used in the mining industry to extract metals from their ores.
- Water treatment: Hydrochloric Acid is used as a disinfectant when treating drinking and wastewater. It is also used to change the acidity of the water.
- Food processing: Similarly to water treatment, Hydrochloric Acid is used as a disinfectant in food processing plants to sanitise equipment. It can also be used to change the acidity levels of certain foods.
How to reduce the dangers of Hydrochloric Acid fumes
To prevent exposure to Hydrochloric Acid in the workplace, it’s important that workers dealing with Hydrochloric Acid wear proper PPE such as gloves and goggles. It’s also important to make sure that any areas where Hydrochloric Acid is used or produced are well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of harmful fumes.
It’s crucial to have a well functioning LEV system to help minimise the risks associated with Hydrochloric Acid fumes, as it’s specialised ventilation hood and ductwork will capture harmful fumes from the source and direct them away from workers into an exhaust system.
How can Purex help?
Here at Purex, our fume extraction machines are designed specifically to deal with corrosive Hydrochloric Acid fumes, where other machines would struggle.
Some of the most popular hydrochloric acid fume extraction machines include;
- 800i PVC: Designed with an adjustable electronic airflow control and epoxy coated to prevent corrosion.
- 400i PVC: Designed with a long-lasting filter and activated carbon filtration system to remove harmful fumes.
Both of these machines are effective at removing hydrochloric acid fumes and are durable enough to withstand the corrosive properties of hydrochloric acid.
Browse our product selection to find the best fume extraction for your business, or speak with one of our experts to find the right system for your needs today. Alternatively, check your existing fume extraction system by booking an LEV Test with our team.