In my classroom we looked at the pH of many household substances. The pH of laundry detergent, such as Tide, was in the pH 12 range, bath soap about pH 10, toothpaste about pH 8 (with the exception of those that contain sodium bicarbonate which are higher),
and lemon juice about pH 2. pH is not necessarily the indicator of when gloves are needed, although I would not work with a laundry detergent on a extended basis without protecting my hands from the irritating and drying effects of the detergent. I agree
with others, that one must consider the specific characteristics of the individual substances used to determine when, and what type of, gloves are necessary.
Gloves do give a false sense of security. For those experiments where gloves were required, I had to impress on the students that once their gloves were contaminated, they had to be changed, much to the dismay of our former lab supervisor who was more
concerned about the cost of the gloves. In these modern times, you can walk into a store or restaurant where employees are wearing gloves but they are scratching their nose, handling money, and doing multiple tasks with the same pair of gloves. I have asked
that workers change their gloves before handling my food orders.
David A. Katz
Chemist, Educator, Expert Demonstrator, Science Communicator, and Consultant
Programs and workshops for teachers, schools, museums, and the public
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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2016 7:49 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Upper limit of pH hazards
Does anyone have a rule of thumb for how high pH can go before gloves are required?
Thanks for any help with this.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College
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