Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Chemical Burn Underlying Cause

More than 25,000 products are capable of causing a chemical burn. Chemical burns can occur in the home, but they more common in industrial, agricultural, military, school, and research settings.

Common causes of household chemical burns include:

  • Lye burns:
    • Drain cleaners, paint removers
  • Hydrofluoric acid burns:
    • Rust removers
  • Phenols:
    • Deodorizers, sanitizers, and disinfectants
  • Sodium hypochlorite:
    • Bleaches
  • Sulfuric acid:
    • Toilet bowel cleaners

Types of chemicals that cause chemical burns include:
  • Oxidizing agents
  • Corrosives
  • Reducing agents
  • Desiccants
  • Vesicants
  • Protoplasmic poison

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Chemical Burn References
  1. Hettiaratchy S, Dziewulski P. ABC of burns: pathophysiology and types of burns. BMJ. 2004 Jun 12;328(7453):1427-9. Erratum in: BMJ. 2004 Jul 17;329(7458):148. [15191982]
  2. Peate WF. Work-related eye injuries and illnesses. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 1;75(7):1017-22. [17427615]
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