What Happens If The Skin Comes In Contact With Battery Acid & How To Treat It?

The batteries used to power toys, appliances, electronics, and vehicles are filled with chemicals that can be dangerous.

When the battery is damaged, these chemicals can leak out and can be risky.

If the skin comes in contact with battery acid, it should be treated immediately to avoid serious burns. Depending on the type of battery acid on the skin the treatment is suggested.

Types of Battery Acids

When a battery acid comes in contact with the skin, it leads to a skin reaction. There can be chemical burns. These burns can dissolve deep into the skin, unlike the thermal burns caused by fire and heat.

Different types of battery acids are:

1. Household Batteries

Batteries present in household appliances are alkaline batteries.

On getting corroded, potassium hydroxide leak. This can cause chemical burns. It can be neutralized and carefully cleaned.

2. Car Batteries

Car batteries are lead batteries and contain sulfuric acid. Sulfur present in lead battery can be very corrosive.

Diluted sulfur is used topically for the treatment of acne and other skin conditions. But the presence of sulfur in battery acid cannot be diluted and is therefore not safe for the skin.

Battery acid on the skin can be a medical emergency and would need immediate medical attention(2).

Complications From Battery Acid On The Skin

Battery acid on the skin can also lead to skin eye and respiratory symptoms.

1. Contact Dermatitis

Battery acid on the skin can lead to contact dermatitis.

It leads to redness and irritation on the skin. There may be temporary discomfort that may go away on its own.

2. Chemical Burns

Coming in contact with battery acid can lead to chemical burns which might not show up right away. They may appear after several minutes to hours.

3. Eye Damage

If the battery acid comes in contact with the skin near the eyes, there are chances of experiencing tearing, redness, and inflammation in the eyes.

If the acid comes in contact with the eyes, there are chances of the eye, getting damaged. This might interfere with eyesight and may even cause blindness.

If it happens flush the eyes with water immediately and seek medical help.

4. Respiratory Irritation

Breathing in, any type of battery acid would cause difficulty in breathing and tightness in the chest. It can also lead to dizziness and nausea.

Minimizing battery fumes is important to treat respiratory irritation.

How To Treat Battery Acid Reactions On The Skin?

If your skin comes in contact with battery acid, do not panic. You can follow the below-mentioned steps and get over it (1).

What To Do If The Skin Comes in Contact With Alkaline Battery Acid?

For alkaline battery acid on the skin, do the following:

  • Flush the area with lukewarm water for around 30 minutes.
  • If wearing any clothing or jewelry on that area, remove them.
  • If a burning sensation is felt on the skin even after 20-30 minutes, continue rinsing the area with clean water and contact a doctor or poison control hotline.

What To Do If The Skin Comes in Contact With Sulphuric Battery Acid?

If the skin comes in contact with the lead battery, washing it with water would aggravate the symptoms.

You can use warm soapy water along with the above steps to remove the sulphuric acid (2).

How To Safely Dispose Of The Battery?

The steps to dispose of the battery depending on the type of battery are as follows:

Alkaline

If you find alkaline battery leaking, first and foremost wear gloves before picking it up. Put the battery in a plastic bag and seal it before disposing it.

A cotton swab dipped in vinegar can be used to neutralize the acid and clean it away from any electrical surface. The household alkaline batteries should be disposed of in the garbage.

Lithium and Lead

Whether or not leaking, lithium batteries should be disposed of as hazardous waste. You can talk to the local household waste center to known about the method of disposal.

Lithium batteries can be disposed of at laptop and cell phone retailers. The car batteries can be replaced and disposed of by a mechanic.

Battery leakage can be nasty and corrosive on the skin. It is advisable to always dispose of the battery after use to avoid the battery acid on the skin or any other part of the body.