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Chemical and physical properties
Name: sodium metabisulphite
Alternative names: sodium pyrosulphite, sodium disulphite
Molecular formula: Na2O5S2
Molecular weight: 190g/mol
Appearance: white to yellow dry powder with a characteristic sulphur dioxide odour
Boiling point: decomposes
Melting point: above 300 degree Fahrenheit it decomposes
Solubility: soluble in water and glycerol, slightly soluble in alcohol
Stability: oxidises to sulphate if exposed to water or air
Decomposition: decomposes to sodium sulphate at high temperatures, releasing sulphur and sodium oxides
pH: aqueous solutions have acidic properties
How safe is sodium metabisulphite?
Fire hazard: not combustible
Exposure: Can cause redness and pain if in contact with eyes and skin, and it may result in abdominal pain, vomiting and respiratory difficulties if inhaled or ingested.
Chemical hazards: this compound can release toxic fumes on decomposition, and reacts violently with oxidants and acids
First aid measures include immediate washing of affected area with copious amounts of water if in contact with skin or eyes. If inhaled or ingested give patient water to drink and seek medical help.
In case of fire involving sodium metabisulphite the best option is to use chemical, dry sand or carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. Water should not be applied directly to the flames, but can be used as a distance to control the spread of the fire.
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