Corrosive substances

Guidance on selling corrosive substances for retailers and steps they can take to prevent young people from accessing these potentially dangerous products for use in acid attacks.

Islington Council is asking retailers to apply the ‘Challenge 25’ policy when selling corrosive substances such as strong acids or caustic substances, commonly found in household products, such as drain, oven cleaners and strong bleaches.

Whilst selling these products to people under 18 isn’t illegal, responsible selling can prevent these potentially dangerous products being sold to young people for use in acid attacks.

How to sell corrosive substances responsibly

  • Don’t stock corrosive substances in a location where it can be easily stolen e.g. shop entrance
  • Organise stock to make sale of corrosive substances safe
  • Assess who wants to buy it and why? Are they acting suspiciously?
  • Are they over 18? Use the ‘Challenge 25’ policy and ask for ID (e.g. driving licence or passport) if the person looks under 25
  • If it doesn’t feel right don’t sell it.

Download our helpful factsheet to keep with you.

What to do if you need help or advice

  • Report suspicious behaviour by someone buying or attempting to buy corrosive substances by calling 020 7527 7272
  • If you are in fear of your personal safety or that of someone else, call 999
  • For further good practice advice about selling corrosive substances responsibly call Trading Standards on 0207 527 3198. 
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