Chemical burns cause tissue injury through the interaction of the chemical agent with the tissue. Initial treatment consists of copious water lavage and removal of any particles. The important exception to the treatment of a chemical burn with water lavage involves injury from the elemental metals (i.e., lithium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium), because the metal residue will spontaneously ignite on contact with water.
New England Journal of Medicine - Vol. 359, No. 10, September 4, 2008