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December 27, 1985

Burns From Contact With Wet Cement or Hardening Concrete

Author Affiliations

Blue Bell, Pa

JAMA. 1985;254(24):3425. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360240037025

To the Editor.—  I wish to clarify minor inaccuracies in an interesting report entitled "Caustic Burns From Contact With Wet Cement."1 The word cement in the title and case studies should probably be replaced with concrete, since cement per se is unlikely to be used in construction without the addition of sand and gravel. Furthermore, as concrete hardens, the calcium hydroxide reacts with the admixed sand to form calcium silicate, which is noncaustic. This reaction is highly exothermic and can easily add thermal injury to the chemical injury.Finally, the solubility of calcium hydroxide in water is remarkably low, and the presence of a slurry in contact with the liquid is almost certainly a prerequisite for denaturing of protein and for the wounds pictured in this article.