These are highly reactive materials which produce positive chemical effects, resulting in changes in the affected materials.
For this reason, corrosives are used extensively in industry to produce a wide range of transformations and effects.
This active nature can obviously be very damaging to the body. They work from outside the body by destroying the tissue, in the opposite way to the toxics, which work from inside the body on the various organs and life systems.
Corrosives are described as either acids or alkalis. Acids react with metals which are generally strong and flexible, to produce salts, which can be fragile crystals that are soluble in water. Inorganic acids include, carboxylic, acetic, formic, and benzoic, and fatty acids like oleic, palmitic, and stearic.
Common alkalis are sodium and potassium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide. These are very corrosive to skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Alkalis neutralize acids, but the reaction may be strong, and create a lot of heat very rapidly. This can cause the water in the solution to flash off to steam violently, throwing the material aside in a dangerous fashion.
Corrosives are placed in packing groups according to their ability to cause full thickness destruction of intact skin tissue within a certain observation period, starting after a certain exposure time, measured in minutes, hours, or days.
There are strict requirements for the carriage of acids and alkali during sea journeys (IMDG Regulations).
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