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Name: Jeremy B.
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000


Question:
I read your archive about baking soda and vinegar. Below is the reaction specified.

HOAc + NaHCO3 --> NaOAc + H2CO3
Here, "Ac" is an abreviation for acetate, CH3CO2.

Question: Does this mean H20, CO2 and NaOAc are the only remnants? Are any of these dangerous, specifically for the eyes? I do require eye protection, but I am curious about this. Frequently this reaction is used as an experiment for kids, so I just want to understand any possible health impacts.

Is there a website where I can learn more? Thanks.


Replies:
Under room conditions and the amount of the reactants you will probably use, this reaction is about as safe as they come. Assuming one does not "expand the horizons" and use 100% (glacial) acetic acid, there will not be sufficient evolution of heat to cause a problem. All of the reactants are pretty non-toxic -- again assuming someone doesn't "drink" the reaction.

Your practice of using safety glasses, or other appropriate eye protection, is commendable. The rule of thumb is: If you are not wearing eye protection, do not enter the lab. The potential risk is too great. Someone else may make a mistake causing a splash and you need to be protected. There should be NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule.

Vince Calder



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