Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are usually accidental and can be caused by every day, household items; chemicals in the workplace are usually much more dangerous and the burns caused by these substances can be very serious. Examples of household items that may cause chemical burns include:

  • Bleach
  • Toilet and drain cleaners
  • Metal cleaner
  • Concrete mix

Most burns affect the face, arms and legs, as these areas of skin are usually exposed to skin.

Symptoms of a chemical burn

Common symptoms of chemical burns include:

  • Patches of red, irritated skin around the area where contact was made
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Development of blisters on the skin
  • Numbness around the affected area
  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Changes in vision

More serious symptoms may also include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Irregular heartbeat and heart attacks

First aid treatment for chemical burns

Chemical burns should be treated as a medical emergency so you should call 999 immediately; while you wait for paramedics to arrive, douse the affected area with cool water.  

Guide to Environmental Health

Environmental Health

Air pollution

Chemical safety

Food poisoning

Health and natural disasters

Sanitation and water

Health in the workplace


Chemical Burn

Carbon monoxide poisoning