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Properties of MCA/SMCA products

MCA is a dangerous product, which must be handled with great care. The very strong acid is highly corrosive and may cause all kinds of skin burns. On top of this MCA is also toxic.

As MCA is a corrosive and toxic product, special attention should be given to safety precautions, personal and environmental protection, first aid measurements, and the selection of construction materials.

SMCA is not corrosive to the skin. As far as known, it does not penetrate the skin but is absorbed after ingestion, causing systemic poisoning, similar to MCA.

Properties of MCA products

At room temperature, MCA solids have the appearance of a hygroscopic crystalline substance with a characteristic acidic odor.

MCA 80% solution (above 18°C.) in water and MCA molten (above 62°C) is a clear fluid with a characteristic acidic odor.

Depending on the temperature, aqueous solutions are subject to very gradual hydrolysis, ultimately resulting in the formation of glycolic acid and hydrochloric acid.

MCA is a hazardous substance and has been officially classified as TOXIC and CORROSIVE. Any contact with the skin and eyes may cause severe chemical burns, with possible permanent damage (scarring). Even solutions diluted to 1% may cause painful red spots and swellling following contact with the skin. Inhalation of MCA vapors has an irritant effect on the respiratory tract.

MCA liquids are rapidly absorbed through the skin, even at low concentrations and even if the acid has not caused any visible skin lesions. If more than 5% of the surface of the skin has been in contact with MCA, general (systemic) poisoning may occur. This is associated with vomiting and/or symptoms of shock (agitation and/or confusion, later unconsciousness, pale clammy skin, rapid pulse). This may lead to very serious and even fatal injury if immediate and adequate action is not taken.

Exposure time is an important factor. If the treatment of an MCA skin contamination is delayed, it cannot be excluded that you will be poisoned, even if less than 5% of your skin surface has been exposed.

Eating, drinking or smoking while handling MCA/SMCA products is prohibited.

Immediate treatment of the MCA-exposed victims with saturated bicarbonate solution (emergency bath) or water (emergency shower) is vitally important to prevent symptoms of poisoning and limit skin damage. Therefore, the sites where MCA products are handled should have emergency bicarbonate baths or at least warm showers (approx. 26°C.).

Expert medical attention should be obtained immediately for anyone who has been in contact with MCA or has ingested or inhaled SMCA.

Personal protection, such as acid-resistant gloves and clothing, safety goggles/face shield, and dust protection for handling solids, must be used to avoid contact with MCA.

Properties of SMCA products

At room temperature SMCA is a white hygroscopic solid (in powder or granule form).

Hydrolysis of aqueous solutions of SMCA will very rapidly lead to the formation of sodium glycolate and hydrochloric acid, depending on temperature and time.

SMCA is not corrosive to the skin. As far as known, it does not penetrate the skin but is absorbed after ingestion, causing systemic poisoning. Prolonged contact should be avoided since SMCA is hygroscopic and hydrolysis may occur on wet skin and eyes.

SMCA is a hazardous substance and has been officially classified as TOXIC.

SMCA is hazardous when ingested or inhaled. Even low concentrations may cause poisoning, associated with vomiting and/or symptoms of shock (agitation and/or confusion, later unconsciousness, pale clammy skin, rapid pulse). This may lead to very serious and even fatal injury if immediate and adequate action is not taken.

Exposure should be as low as possible but at least lower than the limits set by local regulations such as the Maximum Allowable Concentration (MAC) value for a working day of 8 hours.

Eating, drinking or smoking while handling MCA/SMCA products is prohibited.

Expert medical attention should be obtained immediately for anyone who has been in contact with ingested or inhaled SMCA.

Personal protection, such as acid resistant gloves and clothing, safety goggles, and dust protection for handling solids, must be used to avoid contact with MCA.