Acids and bases are commonly found across many industrial applications, but it’s important to remember that they are considered hazardous waste and should be handled with care. Both classified as Class 8 Corrosive Substances, they can eat away at other materials, causing damage to stone, metal and even human skin when coming into contact. Though they are in the same class, a commonly asked question is: “Are acids more dangerous than bases?”
Keep reading as we dive deeper into that question below!
How Are Acids and Bases Different?
As mentioned, both acids and bases are Class 8 hazardous waste substances, but they do differ slightly. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with a pH of 7 considered neutral. Acids, which neutralize bases, have a pH level of less than 7. Bases, which neutralize acids, have a pH level higher than 7. The strength of each is based on this scale.
Are Acids or Bases More Dangerous?
The simple answer is that both acids and bases can be dangerous depending on their pH level, or how strong they are. For example, a strong acid would be more dangerous than a weak base, and the other way around.
What is most important to consider is the scale on which each material falls and how cautious you should be when handling, disposing of or transporting this type of waste. Always measure the pH of your materials, and never touch or smell without knowing for sure what you’re working with.
Best Practices for Handling Acids and Bases
Keep Acids and Bases Separate – There should always be sufficient distance between bases and acids, because if they mix the results can be toxic or even deadly. Storing them in separate cabinets or units is best practice to ensure safety.
Segregate From Non-Compatible Substances – The same rule above applies to any incompatible hazardous waste materials. Several of the nine classifications of hazardous waste are considered incompatible with corrosive substances. These can include flammable liquids, oxidizing materials, peroxides, or spontaneous combustibles.
Store Corrosive Materials Properly – All in all, storing your acids and bases in a safe and compliant space is essential. Ensuring the storage unit is corrosive-resistant will help you stay within compliance.
Contact the Professionals at MLI Environmental
Both acids and bases are hazardous waste and can be corrosive, even dangerous, if mishandled. It’s essential to ensure you are managing, disposing of or transporting this waste properly to stay within local and federal regulations.
MLI Environmental is proud to be a leader in certified dangerous goods shipping and hazardous waste services. To learn more about our services, please contact us today!