GRAPHIC PICS: Mum left with ‘crater’ in her arm as £1 oven cleaner turned flesh into soap
“I’m angry, more for the fact of what it can do to other people. Anyone can buy that in a shop”
Sodium hydroxide works by turning fat into soap in a process called “saponification” — and unfortunately it does exactly the same thing to skin.
Beki, from Princes Risborough, Bucks, said: “I’m angry, more for the fact of what it can do to other people. Anyone can buy that in a shop.”
One the day of the burn, Beki felt no pain for five hours, when she suddenly became aware of severe itching.
She said: “At 7pm I got this painful itch on my arm so I itched it and it really hurt. I opened up my sleeve and I saw [it was scabbing].
“I saw the damage the splash marks had done. The pain was getting worse. It felt like it was burning. I washed it under the tap again.”
Beki went to A&E the next day where tests confirmed a high pH — consistent with sodium hydroxide — on her arm.
After her arm was run under the tap for two hours, she was sent to the burns unit where it was rinsed for another three hours.
A surgeon noticed an infection developing and she was given painkillers, antibiotics and fitted on an IV, but later decided she needed surgery to stop the burning on her arm.
Beki, who now believes only cleaners should be able to purchase the dangerous chemical, added: “Just a few years ago you would use lemon bicarbonate of soda or you would hire someone.
“Nothing that potent was available.”
The mum said that although she is a “strong-headed person” she will worry about her body image from now on.
“If I go swimming I have skin gone from my leg with permanent scars from the skin graft and I’ve got scars on my arm,” she said.
“I am a strong-headed person so if someone is looking I will say, but that’s going to be my life now.”
Describing her husband as “superman”, Beki added: “He’s taking the kids to school, he’s cleaning, he’s cooking, he’s picking the kids up from school.
“He’s doing everything for me at the moment. I am doing small little things and I’m adapting to just cooking with my left hand.”
A spokesperson at Oven Brite said: “We are extremely sorry to hear that burns of this severity have been sustained whilst using this product.
“Oven Brite does contain a very dangerous corrosive liquid which should be treated with the utmost respect and all the advice on the packaging and bottle should be adhered to.
“We are duty bound by various regulations to ensure that this product carries the relevant warnings about the risks associated with the contents, both on the product and the packaging, but that said unfortunately accidents can occur, but are few and far between.
“In the event of skin contact, either directly or from contaminated clothing the area should be flushed immediately with cold water for as long as possible until the burning has subsided, and then seek medical advice.”
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