Is sodium polyacrylate safe? (for human and environment)


Sodium polyacrylate

As we know, it is a functional material that can absorb plenty of water and expand to water gel.

We can use it to absorb liquid such as water, urine, blood. Actually, it is the main absorption material in the paper diaper, sanitary towel, ice bag, etc.

Is sodium polyacrylate safe?

1. For Human

As a polymer, it sticks together in long chains and neutral. That means sodium polyacrylate is not irritating to the skin.

So far, sodium polyacrylate doesn’t have any side effects. And according to various material safety data sheets (documents created by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that list potential hazards of chemicals in great detail), sodium polyacrylate is safe.

How about the “acrylic acid”?

Yes, there’s some kind of inferior sodium polyacrylate that mixed up with small amounts of acrylic acid. And in theory, acrylic acid in large doses could be harmful to a baby’s skin.
But as a leftover from the manufacturing process, the acrylic acid value is less than 300 PPM which is totally safe for humans.

2. For the environment

Sodium polyacrylate can be decomposed into carbon dioxide, water, sodium, etc. This process won’t bring any obvious influence.

But this doesn’t mean sodium polyacrylate is the good choice as a water-retaining agent. Actually, massive amounts of sodium polyacrylate may exacerbate soil salinization.

3. Tips for safe use

Sodium polyacrylate isn’t toxic. But as a powerful water-absorbent material, it can also cause certain dangers if not handled properly.

-A mask may be a good choice when you directly face the sodium polyacrylate powder. (It can irritate the lungs to inhale the powder.)

-It can absorb water, expand and turn to water gel. So, it’s unwise to eat.

-When it comes in contact with an amount of water in an area, it can cause the area to be very slippery.

-You should not flush down the powder or water gel – it will cause serious clogging.

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