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What Are the Dangers of Sodium Carbonate & Sodium Silicate & Enzymes?

By A.L. Kennedy

Sodium carbonate, sodium silicate, and enzymes are three ingredients commonly found in detergents such as dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent, according to Proctor & Gamble. When handled separately, all three can cause skin irritation and may be hazardous if inhaled or ingested. If you or a loved one has accidentally ingested any of these three chemicals or a product that contains them, call a Poison Control Center or your local emergency service immediately and check the packaging for further instructions.

Respiratory Tract Damage

Sodium carbonate and sodium silicate can damage the respiratory tract if inhaled, according to their Materials Safety Data Sheets. Symptoms include a sore throat, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. To avoid these symptoms, always use these products in a well-ventilated area. If spills occur, clean them up with a vacuum cleaner or wet broom in order to avoid creating dust, which may cause respiratory damage if it is inhaled.

Digestive Irritation

Sodium silicate is a strong irritant that can cause severe digestive symptoms if ingested, according to its Materials Safety Data Sheet or MSDS. Although sodium carbonate is less irritating, it may still cause life-threatening reactions if large amounts are ingested. Common digestive symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. If you ingest either of these products or a product containing them, contact a Poison Control Center or your local emergency services immediately.

Eye Damage

Enzyme preparations, sodium carbonate and sodium silicate are strong eye irritants that may cause irreparable damage and even blindness, according to their Materials Safety Data Sheets. They also pose the risk of too much sodium entering the bloodstream if it is absorbed through the arteries and veins of the eye. To avoid eye contact with these materials, always wear gloves and eye protection when using them or products containing them, and wash your hands well after using them. If you spill, use a vacuum or wet sweeper to clean up the area so that dust does not enter and irritate your eyes.

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