Dry cements do not have potential harms since they are calcium oxide which is safe and neutral. When it is mixed with water, its components change. It becomes calcium hydroxide which contains pH level as high as 13. When it comes in contact with the skin having a pH level of 5.5, the cement can cause chemical burns.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who work as laborers in construction sites are seven times more vulnerable to getting cement burns.
Cement Burns Symptoms
- Studies have shown that prolonged skin exposure to calcium hydroxide can destroy the skin all the way to the bones. Symptoms of chemical burns due to wet cement are:
- Formation of blisters, sores, painful lesions
- The skin becomes dry, cracking, oozing and itching.
- The lesions vary in size. They can also be as invading as affecting the entire leg or arm. The lesions may also contain purulent drainage.
- The burns are characterized with pain
Cement Burns Remedies
Since working in construction sites is unavoidable, extreme caution must be exercised. In dealing with wet cement, a person can remember to do the following:
- Remove contaminated clothes. Quickly and slowly, take off the clothes. Make certain that the skin does not have any wet cement on it. Rinse the stained clothes to remove wet cement.
- Remove wet cement from the skin. If the cement is dry, rub it off. However, if the cement is wet and it sticks to the skin, flush it with water without touching.
- Keep on flushing with water for 20 minutes. Add vinegar or citrus juice if available. It helps balance the alkalinity of calcium chloride.
- Seek medical attention. It is imperative to seek medical attention to prevent serious damage on the skin.
- Wear protective gear and clothing. As much as possible, wear rubber gloves, boots, and eye protection. Wet cement may also reach the eye and it can also cause chemical burns in the eye and its surrounding skin.