Paul Woods <paul@...>
Speaking as someone who has handled sodium hydroxide in large quantities, I need to stress the part of Nelson's message regarding eye protection - it is crucial, because the stuff is quite nasty with respect to damaging vision. Always wear eye protection.
Sodium hydroxide has a high reactivity with the eyes, causing permanent damage (unlike some kinds of chemical burns that will heal), so fGs don't get it in your eyes! And if you do, run like aitch-E-double-toothpicks for the bathroom and rinse it out thoroughly. For being a low concentration, the effects would not be immediately obvious - enclosed environment probably okay but I would work with a small fan nearby to prevent local build-up of vapor, just in case. I always do that if dealing with any fumes, smoke from soldering, painting etc., regardless of how safe it may seem.
Would you believe, I have just found a safety guideline that advises in the event of contact with the eyes to flush the affected eye with running lukewarm water for 60 minutes - this is for concentrated sodium hydroxide, not the degreaser , but it should serve to demonstrate how nasty the stuff is.