Safety precautions for handling alkali metals

Group 1 metals react with water to form hydroxide which dissolves in water to form alkaline solutions. Alkaline solutions have a pH greater than 7. These solutions turn universal indicator purple, indicating they are strongly alkaline.

Strong alkalis are corrosive. They must be stored under oil to keep water and oxygen from air away from them. They must be used with care by following the proper safety precautions like wearing goggles and gloves. Corrosive substances are labeled with standard hazard symbols.

According to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), corrosive substances are marked with the following symbol:


Corrosive (old symbol)