LABORATORY CHEMICAL SAFETY SUMMARY: SULFURIC ACID

Substance

Sulfuric acid

(Oil of vitriol)

CAS 7664-93-9

 

Formula

H2SO4

 

Physical Properties

Clear, colorless, oily liquid

bp 300 to 338 °C (loses SO3 above 300 °C), mp 11 °C

Miscible with water in all proportions

 

Odor

Odorless

 

Vapor Density

3.4 (air = 1.0)

 

Vapor Pressure

<0.3 mmHg at 25 °C

 

Flash Point

Noncombustible

 

Toxicity Data

LD50 oral (rat)

2140 mg/kg

 

LC50 inhal (rat)

347 mg/m3 (1 h)

 

PEL (OSHA)

1 mg/m3

 

TLV-TWA (ACGIH)

1 mg/m3

 

STEL (ACGIH)

3 mg/m3

Major Hazards

Highly corrosive; causes severe burns on eye and skin contact and upon inhalation of sulfuric acid mist; highly reactive, reacts violently with many organic and inorganic substances.

Toxicity

Concentrated sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive liquid that can cause severe, deep burns upon skin contact. The concentrated acid destroys tissue because of its dehydrating action, while dilute H 2SO4 acts as a skin irritant because of its acid character. Eye contact with concentrated H2SO4 causes severe burns, which can result in permanent loss of vision; contact with dilute H2SO4 results in more transient effects from which recovery may be complete. Sulfuric acid mist severely irritates the eyes, respiratory tract, and skin. Because of its low vapor pressure, the principal inhalation hazard from sulfuric acid involves breathing in acid mists, which may result in irritation of the upper respiratory passages and erosion of dental surfaces. Higher inhalation exposures may lead to temporary lung irritation with difficulty breathing. Ingestion of sulfuric acid may cause severe burns to the mucous membranes of the mouth and esophagus.

Animal testing with sulfuric acid did not demonstrate carcinogenic, mutagenic, embryotoxic, or reproductive effects. Chronic exposure to sulfuric acid mist may lead to bronchitis, skin lesions, conjunctivitis, and erosion of teeth.



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