Sulfuric acid

CAS RN: 7664-93-9

Health Effects

0.2.1 SUMMARY OF EXPOSURE
  • 0.2.1.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) USES: Sulfuric acid is used in manufacturing and industry. It is also used in some household toilet bowel cleaners and is used in batteries.
    • B) EPIDEMIOLOGY: Ingestion exposures are uncommon in the US, but common in other parts of the world. Inadvertent dermal and inhalation exposures rarely result in severe injury. Deliberate ingestion, particularly of high concentration products, may cause severe injury and death.
    • C) TOXICOLOGY: Sulfuric acid is a strong acid that causes tissue injury and coagulation of proteins. The severity of injury is determined by the concentration and duration of contact.
    • D) WITH POISONING/EXPOSURE
      • 1) MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Milder exposures (generally to concentrations less than 10%) may only cause irritation of the skin, upper airway and GI mucosa.
      • 2) SEVERE TOXICITY: SUMMARY: Sulfuric acid is corrosive to the skin, eyes, nose, mucous membranes, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract, or any tissue with which it comes in contact.
        • a) INHALATION: Respiratory effects of acute exposure include irritation of the nose and throat, coughing, sneezing, reflex bronchospasm, dyspnea and pulmonary edema. Death may occur from sudden circulatory collapse, glottic edema and airway compromise, or from acute lung injury.
        • b) INGESTION: Ingestion of sulfuric acid may cause immediate epigastric pain, nausea, hypersalivation and vomiting of mucoid or "coffee ground" hemorrhagic material. Occasionally vomiting of fresh blood has been seen. Ingestion of concentrated sulfuric acid may produce esophageal corrosion, necrosis and perforation of the esophagus or stomach especially at the pylorus. Occasionally injury to the small bowel has been reported. Delayed complications may include strictures and fistula formation. Metabolic acidosis may develop following ingestion.
        • c) DERMAL: Severe dermal burns can occur with necrosis and scarring. These may be fatal if a large enough area of the body surface is affected.
        • d) OCULAR: The eye is especially sensitive to corrosive injury. Irritation, lacrimation and conjunctivitis can develop even with low concentrations of sulfuric acid. Splash contact with high concentrations causes corneal burns, visual loss and occasionally perforation of the globe.
  • 0.2.1.2 CHRONIC EXPOSURE
    • A) Chronic exposure may be associated with changes in pulmonary function, chronic bronchitis, conjunctivitis, emphysema, frequent respiratory infections, gastritis, erosion of dental enamel, and possibly upper respiratory cancer.
0.2.3 VITAL SIGNS
  • 0.2.3.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) As with any severe burn, exposure to strong mineral acids may produce circulatory collapse preceded by the development of cold, clammy skin, and a rapid, shallow pulse. Exposure to sulfuric acid mist or aerosolized liquid stimulates protective airway reflexes that result in tachypnea with shallow respirations.
0.2.4 HEENT
  • 0.2.4.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Sulfuric acid dissolves readily in water making the eyes, especially sensitive to its corrosive effects. Sulfuric acid vapor or mist is a strong irritant and can cause lacrimation and conjunctivitis. Splash contact may cause corneal burns, visual loss and rarely perforation of the globe.
  • 0.2.4.2 CHRONIC EXPOSURE
    • A) Discoloration or erosion of teeth, rhinorrhea and frequent respiratory infections can occur from prolonged or chronic exposure to sulfuric acid.
0.2.5 CARDIOVASCULAR
  • 0.2.5.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Sudden circulatory collapse can occur after gastric perforation or if large areas of the skin are denuded by partial to full thickness burns. Pain, hemorrhage, tissue necrosis, gastric perforation and peritonitis may also contribute to the development of shock.
0.2.6 RESPIRATORY
  • 0.2.6.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Sulfuric acid mist is a severe irritant of the upper respiratory tract. Inhalation of sulfuric acid mist causes bronchoconstriction and a reflex increase in respiratory rate with diminution of depth of inspiration. This results in increased pulmonary air flow resistance. Tracheobronchial edema or acute lung injury can occur.
  • 0.2.6.2 CHRONIC EXPOSURE
    • A) Chronic exposure may be associated with chronic bronchitis, frequent respiratory infections, and emphysema.
0.2.8 GASTROINTESTINAL
  • 0.2.8.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Ingestion of sulfuric acid may cause immediate epigastric pain, nausea, hypersalivation and vomiting of mucoid or "coffee ground" hemorrhagic material. Occasionally vomiting of fresh blood has been seen. Ingestion of concentrated sulfuric acid may produce esophageal corrosion, necrosis and perforation of the esophagus or stomach especially at the pylorus. Occasionally injury to the small bowel has been reported. Delayed complications may include strictures and fistula formation.
  • 0.2.8.2 CHRONIC EXPOSURE
    • A) Chronic exposure has been associated with digestive disturbances.
0.2.10 GENITOURINARY
  • 0.2.10.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Patients who remain hypotensive for prolonged periods of time may develop oliguria and acute renal failure.
0.2.11 ACID-BASE
  • 0.2.11.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Metabolic acidosis may develop following ingestion.
0.2.13 HEMATOLOGIC
  • 0.2.13.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Leukocytosis is a common manifestation of the stress response after exposure to strong mineral acids.
0.2.14 DERMATOLOGIC
  • 0.2.14.1 ACUTE EXPOSURE
    • A) Sulfuric acid is corrosive to the skin and dermal exposure to concentrated solutions causes varying degrees of burn. Exposure to dilute concentrations of sulfuric acid may only cause dermatitis.
0.2.19 IMMUNOLOGIC
  • 0.2.19.2 CHRONIC EXPOSURE
    • A) Immunological alterations have been reported.
0.2.20 REPRODUCTIVE HAZARDS
  • A) Sulfuric acid was teratogenic in one animal study.
0.2.21 CARCINOGENICITY
  • 0.2.21.1 IARC CATEGORY
    • A) IARC Carcinogenicity Ratings for CAS7664-93-9 (International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 2016; International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2015; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2010; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2010a; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2008; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2007; IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2006; IARC, 2004):
      • 1) Not Listed
  • 0.2.21.2 HUMAN OVERVIEW
    • A) Several epidemiologic studies of workers chronically exposed to sulfuric acid mists have suggested an increased risk for respiratory and nasopharyngeal cancers.
0.2.22 GENOTOXICITY
  • A) One study found an increased frequency of chromosomal aberrations in workers exposed to sulfuric acid and sulfur dioxide.
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