Hydrogen Chloride

CAS RN: 7647-01-0

Exposure Summary

Hydrogen chloride and hydrochloric acid's production and use as a chemical intermediate and laboratory reagent, disinfectant and sanitizer, in the production of metals, in refining, leather tanning, rubber production, in food processing and as a pharmaceutical aid may result in the release of hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid to the environment through various waste streams. Hydrogen chloride's use in oil and gas well treatment, formation during the burning of many plastics and combustion of fossil fuel, use as a fungicide and slimicide and use in hydraulic fracturing will result in its direct release to the environment. Hydrochloric acid is found in the gases that evolve from volcanoes. Hydrochloric acid is also found in the digestive tract of most mammals. If released to air, hydrogen chloride will be removed by rainfall. If released to soil, it dissociates into chloride and hydronium ions in moist soil. Volatilization from moist soil surfaces is not expected to be an important fate process based upon a estimated Henry's Law constant of 4.90X10-10 atm-cu m/mole. Hydrogen chloride will evaporate from dry soil surfaces. If released to water, hydrogen chloride dissociates readily in water to chloride and hydronium ions. The dissociation results in a decreasing of the pH of the water. Volatilization from water surfaces is not expected to be an important fate process based upon this compound's Henry's Law constant. Hydrogen chloride does not accumulate in the food chain. Occupational exposure to hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid may occur through inhalation and dermal contact with these compounds at workplaces where hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid is produced or used. While hydrogen chloride does occur naturally in humans, use data indicate that the general population may be exposed to hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid via inhalation and dermal contact with consumer products containing these compounds. (SRC)
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