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Recommended Procedure for Cleaning Up a Liquid Chemical Spill

To contain and control a liquid chemical spill, the following procedure works well. First, remove all unprotected personnel and students away from spill. If the spilled chemical is volatile, ventilate the area or evacuate. If the spilled chemical is flammable, remove all ignition sources. Wear personal protection equipment such as chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves and apron.

Gently pour sand around the spill and onto the spill. The sand will contain the spill, prevent it from spreading, and also provide traction if you need to walk over it. Next, pour absorbent (kitty litter, oil absorbent) around the spill and onto the spill. This will absorb the liquid and also begin to contain any vapors. For both the absorbent and sand, it is best to gently drop or sprinkle the spill control material around the spill and then onto the spill to avoid further spreading. Lastly, if the spill is an inorganic acid or base, apply the appropriate neutralizer around the spill and onto the spill. The neutralizer needs to be mixed well with the sand and absorbent to come in contact with all of the spilled chemical-use a plastic broom to mix well.

After the spill is controlled, the cleanup begins. If the material is warm or still giving off vapors, ventilate the room and wait before cleaning up. Use a plastic dustpan and plastic broom to sweep up the now solid mess and place it into large, heavy-duty plastic garbage or leaf bags for disposal. If at any time during the chemical spill containment or cleanup step you don't feel comfortable, leave the area and get help.

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