*         RIGHT TO KNOW PROGRAM           *

Common Name:    SULFURIC ACID
CAS Number:     7664-93-9
DOT Number:     UN 1830 

RTK Substance number:  1761
Date:  January  1986         Revision:  March 1995

* Sulfuric Acid can affect you when breathed in.
* Sulfuric Acid is a CORROSIVE CHEMICAL and can severely irritate and burn
the skin and eyes causing permanent damage. 
* Breathing Sulfuric Acid can irritate the lungs causing coughing and/or
shortness of breath.  Higher exposures can cause a build-up of fluid in the
lungs (pulmonary edema), a medical emergency, with severe shortness of
* Repeated exposure can cause permanent lung damage, damage to teeth and
stomach upset.
* Sulfuric Acid is a REACTIVE CHEMICAL and is an EXPLOSION HAZARD.

Sulfuric Acid is an oily liquid. It is used in fertilizers, chemicals, dyes,
petroleum refining, etching and analytical chemistry, and in making iron,
steel and industrial explosives.

* Sulfuric Acid is on the Hazardous Substance List because it is regulated
by OSHA and cited by ACGIH, DOT, NIOSH, DEP, NFPA and EPA.
* This chemical is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List because it is

* Exposure to hazardous substances should be routinely evaluated. This may
include collecting personal and area air samples.  You can obtain copies of
sampling results from your employer. You have a legal right to this
information under OSHA 1910.20.
* If you think you are experiencing any work-related health problems, see a
doctor trained to recognize occupational diseases. Take this Fact Sheet with

OSHA: The legal airborne permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 1 mg/m3
averaged over an 8-hour workshift.

NIOSH: The recommended airborne exposure limit is 
 1 mg/m3 averaged over a 10-hour workshift.

ACGIH: The recommended airborne exposure limit is 
 1 mg/m3 averaged over an 8-hour workshift. 

* Where possible, enclose operations and use local exhaust ventilation at
the site of chemical release.  If local exhaust ventilation or enclosure is
not used, respirators should be worn.
* Wear protective work clothing.
* Wash thoroughly immediately after exposure to Sulfuric Acid and at the end
of the workshift.
* Post hazard and warning information in the work area.  In addition, as
part of an ongoing education and training effort, communicate all
information on the health and safety hazards of Sulfuric Acid to potentially
exposed workers.

This Fact Sheet is a summary source of information of all potential and most
severe health hazards that may result from exposure.  Duration of exposure,
concentration of the substance and other factors will affect your
susceptibility to any of the potential effects described below. 


Acute Health Effects
The following acute (short-term) health effects may occur immediately or
shortly after exposure to Sulfuric Acid:

* Sulfuric Acid can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes causing
third-degree burns and blindness on contact.
* Breathing Sulfuric Acid can irritate the lungs causing coughing and/or
shortness of breath.  Higher exposures can cause a build-up of fluid in the
lungs (pulmonary edema), a medical emergency, with severe shortness of

Chronic Health Effects
The following chronic (long-term) health effects can occur at some time
after exposure to Sulfuric Acid and can last for months or years:

Cancer Hazard
* There is limited evidence that Sulfuric Acid causes lung cancer in
refinery workers.

Reproductive Hazard
* According to the information presently available to the New Jersey
Department of Health, Sulfuric Acid has been tested and has not been shown
to affect reproduction.

Other Long-Term Effects
* Repeated exposure can cause bronchitis, with cough, phlegm, and shortness
of breath, and may cause emphysema.
* Sulfuric Acid can cause chronic runny nose, tearing of the eyes, nose
bleeds and stomach upset..
* Repeated exposure can cause erosion and pitting of the teeth.


Medical Testing
For those with frequent or potentially high exposure (half the TLV or
greater), the following are recommended before beginning work and at regular
times after that:

* Lung function tests.
* Exam of the teeth.

If symptoms develop or overexposure is suspected, the following may be

* Consider chest x-ray after acute overexposure.

Any evaluation should include a careful history of past and present symptoms
with an exam.  Medical tests that look for damage already done are not a
substitute for controlling exposure.

Request copies of your medical testing.  You have a legal right to this
information under OSHA 1910.20.


Unless a less toxic chemical can be substituted for a hazardous substance,
ENGINEERING CONTROLS are the most effective way of reducing exposure.  The
best protection is to enclose operations and/or provide local exhaust
ventilation at the site of chemical release.  Isolating operations can also
reduce exposure.  Using respirators or protective equipment is less
effective than the controls mentioned above, but is sometimes necessary.

In evaluating the controls present in your workplace, consider: (1) how
hazardous the substance is, (2) how much of the substance is released into
the workplace and (3) whether harmful skin or eye contact could occur. 
Special controls should be in place for highly toxic chemicals or when
significant skin, eye, or breathing exposures are possible.

In addition, the following controls are recommended:

* Where possible, automatically pump liquid Sulfuric Acid from drums or
other storage containers to process containers.
* Specific engineering controls are recommended for this chemical by NIOSH.
Refer to the NIOSH criteria document: Occupational Exposure to Sulfuric Acid
* Before entering a confined space where Sulfuric Acid may be present, check
to make sure that an explosive concentration does not exist.

Good WORK PRACTICES can help to reduce hazardous exposures.  The following
work practices are recommended:

* Workers whose clothing has been contaminated by Sulfuric Acid should
change into clean clothing promptly.
* Do not take contaminated work clothes home.  Family members could be
* Contaminated work clothes should be laundered by individuals who have been
informed of the hazards of exposure to Sulfuric Acid.
* Eye wash fountains should be provided in the immediate work area for
emergency use.
* If there is the possibility of skin exposure, emergency shower facilities
should be provided.
* On skin contact with Sulfuric Acid, immediately wash or shower to remove
the chemical.  A specially formulated emolient soap can be used.
* At the end of workshift, after washing, you should be provided with and
use a skin cream which will help prevent excessive drying and a loss of
elasticity of your skin.
* Do not eat, smoke, or drink where Sulfuric Acid is handled, processed, or
stored, since the chemical can be swallowed.  Wash hands carefully before
eating or smoking.


for some jobs (such as outside work, confined space entry, jobs done only
once in a while, or jobs done while workplace controls are being installed),
personal protective equipment may be appropriate.

The following recommendations are only guidelines and may not apply to every

* Avoid skin contact with Sulfuric Acid.  Wear acid-resistant gloves and
clothing. Safety equipment suppliers/ manufacturers can provide
recommendations on the most protective glove/clothing material for your
* All protective clothing (suits, gloves, footwear, headgear) should be
clean, available each day, and put on before work.
* ACGIH recommends Neoprene, Nitrile, Polyvinyl Chloride or Saranex as
protective materials.

Eye Protection
* Wear splash-proof chemical goggles and face shield when working with
liquid, unless full facepiece respiratory protection is worn.
* For highly concentrated Sulfuric Acid, wear gas-proof goggles and face
shield unless full facepiece respiratory protection is worn.

Respiratory Protection
IMPROPER USE OF RESPIRATORS IS DANGEROUS.  Such equipment should only be
used if the employer has a written program that takes into account workplace
conditions, requirements for worker training, respirator fit testing and
medical exams, as described in OSHA 1910.134.

* Where the potential exists for exposures over 1 mg/m3, use a MSHA/NIOSH
approved full facepiece respirator with an acid gas canister and high
efficiency particulate prefilters. Increased protection is obtained from
full facepiece powered-air purifying respirators.
* If while wearing a filter, cartridge or canister respirator, you can
smell, taste, or otherwise detect Sulfuric Acid, or in the case of a full
facepiece respirator you experience eye irritation, leave the area
immediately. Check to make sure the respirator-to-face seal is still good. 
If it is, replace the filter, cartridge, or canister.  If the seal is no
longer good, you may need a new respirator.
* Be sure to consider all potential exposures in your workplace.  You may
need a combination of filters, prefilters, cartridges, or canisters, to
protect against different forms of a chemical (such as vapor and mist) or
against a mixture of chemicals.
* Where the potential for high exposures exists, use a MSHA/NIOSH approved
supplied-air respirator with a full facepiece operated in the positive
pressure mode or with a full facepiece, hood, or helmet in the continuous
flow mode, or use a MSHA/NIOSH approved self-contained breathing apparatus
with a full facepiece operated in pressure-demand or other positive pressure
* Exposure to 80 mg/m3 is immediately dangerous to life and health.  If the
possibility of exposures above 80 mg/m3 exists, use a MSHA/NIOSH approved
self contained breathing apparatus with a full facepiece operated in
continuous flow or other positive pressure mode.


Q: If I have acute health effects, will I later get chronic health effects?
A: Not always.  Most chronic (long-term) effects result from repeated
exposures to a chemical.

Q: Can I get long-term effects without ever having short-term effects?
A: Yes, because long-term effects can occur from repeated exposures to a
chemical at levels not high enough to make you immediately sick.

Q: What are my chances of getting sick when I have been exposed to
A: The likelihood of becoming sick from chemicals is increased as the amount
of exposure increases.  This is determined by the length of time and the
amount of material to which someone is exposed.

Q: When are higher exposures more likely?
A: Conditions which increase risk of exposure include dust releasing
operations (grinding, mixing, blasting, dumping, etc.), other physical and
mechanical processes (heating, pouring, spraying, spills and evaporation
from large surface areas such as open containers), and "confined space"
exposures (working inside vats, reactors, boilers, small rooms, etc.).

Q: Is the risk of getting sick higher for workers than for community
A: Yes.  Exposures in the community, except possibly in cases of fires or
spills, are usually much lower than those found in the workplace.  However,
people in the community may be exposed to contaminated water as well as to
chemicals in the air over long periods.  Because of this, and because of
exposure of children or people who are already ill, community exposures may
cause health problems.

The following information is available from:

     New Jersey Department of Health
     Occupational Health Service 
     Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
     (609) 984-1863

Industrial Hygiene Information
Industrial hygienists are available to answer your questions regarding the
control of chemical exposures using exhaust ventilation, special work
practices, good housekeeping, good hygiene practices, and personal
protective equipment including respirators.  In addition, they can help to
interpret the results of industrial hygiene survey data.

Medical Evaluation
If you think you are becoming sick because of exposure to chemicals at your
workplace, you may call a Department of Health physician who can help you
find the services you need.

Public Presentations
Presentations and educational programs on occupational health or the Right
to Know Act can be organized for labor unions, trade associations and other

Right to Know Information Resources
The Right to Know Infoline (609) 984-2202 can answer questions about the
identity and potential health effects of chemicals, list of educational
materials in occupational health, references used to prepare the Fact
Sheets, preparation of the Right to Know survey, education and training
programs, labeling requirements, and general information regarding the Right
to Know Act.  Violations of the law should be reported to (609) 984-2202.


ACGIH is the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. It
recommends upper limits (called TLVs) for exposure to workplace chemicals.

A carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer.

The CAS number is assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service to identify a
specific chemical.

A combustible substance is a solid, liquid or gas that will burn.

A corrosive substance is a gas, liquid or solid that causes irreversible
damage to human tissue or containers.

DEP is the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

DOT is the Department of Transportation, the federal agency that regulates
the transportation of chemicals.

EPA is the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal agency responsible
for regulating environmental hazards.

A fetus is an unborn human or animal.

A flammable substance is a solid, liquid, vapor or gas that will ignite
easily and burn rapidly.

The flash point is the temperature at which a liquid or solid gives off
vapor that can form a flammable mixture with air.

HHAG is the Human Health Assessment Group of the federal EPA.

IARC is the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a scientific group
that classifies chemicals according to their cancer-causing potential.

A miscible substance is a liquid or gas that will evenly dissolve in

mg/m3 means milligrams of a chemical in a cubic meter of air.  It is a
measure of concentration (weight/volume).

MSHA is the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that
regulates mining.  It also evaluates and approves respirators.

A mutagen is a substance that causes mutations. A mutation is a change in
the genetic material in a body cell.  Mutations can lead to birth defects,
miscarriages, or cancer.

NCI is the National Cancer Institute, a federal agency that determines the
cancer-causing potential of chemicals.

NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association.  It classifies substances
according to their fire and explosion hazard.

NIOSH is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  It
tests equipment, evaluates and approves respirators, conducts studies of
workplace hazards, and proposes standards to OSHA.

NTP is the National Toxicology Program which tests chemicals and reviews
evidence for cancer.

OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which adopts and
enforces health and safety standards.

PEOSHA is the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Act, a state
law which sets PELs for New Jersey public employees.

ppm means parts of a substance per million parts of air.  It is a measure of
concentration by volume in air.

A reactive substance is a solid, liquid or gas that releases energy under
certain conditions.

A teratogen is a substance that causes birth defects by damaging the fetus.

TLV is the Threshold Limit Value, the workplace exposure limit recommended

The vapor pressure is a measure of how readily a liquid or a solid mixes
with air at its surface.  A higher vapor pressure indicates a higher
concentration of the substance in air and therefore increases the likelihood
of breathing it in.

>>>>>>>>>E M E R G E N C Y   I N F O R M A T I O N <<<<<<<<<

DOT Number:   UN 1830 
              UN 1831 (fuming)
              UN 1832 (spent)
DOT Emergency Guide code: 39
CAS Number:   7664-93-9
|Hazard rating      | NJ DOH  |   NFPA  |
|FLAMMABILITY       |    -    |    0    |
|REACTIVITY         |    -    |    2    |
|  CORROSIVE AND REACTIVE               |
|  DO NOT USE WATER                     |
Hazard Rating Key:  0=minimal; 1=slight; 
2=moderate; 3=serious; 4=severe


* Extinguish fire using an agent suitable for type of surrounding fire. 
Sulfuric Acid itself does not burn.
* Sulfuric Acid may ignite other combustible materials.
* POISONOUS GASES ARE PRODUCED IN FIRE or on contact with water or steam,
including Oxides of Sulfur.
* Use water spray only to keep fire-exposed containers cool.
* If employees are expected to fight fires, they must be trained and
equipped as stated in OSHA 1910.156.


If Sulfuric Acid is spilled or leaked, take the following steps:

* Restrict persons not wearing protective equipment from area of spill or
leak until cleanup is complete. 
* Cover spills with dry sand, soda ash  or cement powder.  DO NOT use
organic materials like sawdust and DO NOT wash down a spill of Sulfuric Acid
with water.
* Collect spilled material in the most convenient and safe manner and
deposit in sealed containers.
* Ventilate and wash area after clean-up is complete.
* Keep Sulfuric Acid out of a confined space, such as a sewer, because of
the possibility of an explosion, unless the sewer is designed to prevent the
build-up of explosive concentrations.
* It may be necessary to contain and dispose of Sulfuric Acid as a HAZARDOUS
WASTE.  Contact your Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or your
regional office of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for
specific recommendations.

FOR LARGE SPILLS AND FIRES immediately call your fire department. You can
request emergency information from the following:

CHEMTREC: (800) 424-9300
NJDEP HOTLINE: (609) 292-7172


* Prior to working with Sulfuric Acid you should be trained on its proper
handling and storage.
* Sulfuric Acid must be stored to avoid contact with WATER, CYCLOPENTADIENE,
PHOSPHORUS III OXIDES since violent reactions occur.
* Sulfuric Acid is not compatible with CHLORATES, CHROMATES, CARBIDES,
* Store in tightly closed containers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area
away from SUNLIGHT, COMBUSTIBLES and ORGANIC MATERIALS in an area with an
acid resistant cement floor.
* Always add acid to water, never the reverse.
* Sulfuric Acid is extremely corrosive  HANDLE WITH CARE and use proper
equipment and practices.
* Wherever Sulfuric Acid is used, handled, manufactured, or stored, use
explosion-proof electrical equipment and fittings.
* Contact of Sulfuric Acid with metal drums may cause the release of
flammable and explosive Hydrogen gas, therefore, storage drums should be
coated with acid resistant material.


In NJ, POISON INFORMATION 1-800-962-1253

Eye Contact
* INSTANTLY flush eyes with large amounts of water.  Continue without
stopping for at least 30 minutes, occasionally lifting upper and lower lids.
 Seek medical attention immediately.

Skin Contact
* Quickly remove contaminated clothing.  Immediately wash area with large
amounts of water.  Seek medical attention immediately.

* Remove the person from exposure.
* Begin rescue breathing if breathing has stopped and CPR if heart action
has stopped.
* Transfer promptly to a medical facility.
* Medical observation is recommended for 24 to 48 hours after breathing
overexposure, as pulmonary edema may be delayed.


Flash Point:  None
Vapor Pressure:  73 mm Hg at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C)
Water Solubility:  Miscible/Reactive


BOV; Dipping Acid; Oil of Vitriol; Vitriol Brown Oil; 

Not intended to be copied and sold for commercial purposes.
Right to Know Program 
CN 368, Trenton, NJ  08625-0368
(609) 984-2202

Source: Environmental Research Foundation

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