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Sulfuric Acid

General Description

Synonyms:  Oil of vitriol; Sulphuric acid

OSHA IMIS code: 2310

CAS number(s): 7664-93-9

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs
OSHA PEL - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1
1 mg/m3 TWA
HE10 -- lung changes
HE11 -- cough
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
1 mg/m3 TWA
HE10 -- lung changes
HE11 -- cough
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z - Shipyards
1 mg/m3 TWA
HE10 -- lung changes
HE11 -- cough
NIOSH REL

1 mg/m3 TWA

HE3 -- dental erosion
HE10 -- pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and emphysema
HE11 -- pulmonary edema
HE14 -- respiratory irritation, cough
ACGIH TLV® (2000) 0.2 mg/m3 TWA (thoracic particulate matter)
A2 (classification refers to sulfuric acid contained in strong inorganic acid mists)
HE3 -- dental erosion
HE10 -- pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and emphysema
HE14 -- marked eye, nose, throat, bronchial, and skin irritation
CAL/OSHA PELs 0.1 mg/m3 TWA
3 mg/m3 STEL
irritation of the upper and lower respiratory tract

Carcinogenic classification:

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): Not established

NIOSH IDLH concentration: 15 mg/m3

Notes on other potential health effects and hazards:

  1. Dental erosion due to sulfuric acid exposure is generally not detected in the maxillary teeth and is concentrated in the anterior mandibular teeth (Suyama et al. 2010).
  2. One of the 10 occupational fatalities reported to poison control centers in 2005 was due to sulfuric acid ingestion (Lai et al. 2006).
  3. The National Toxicology program concluded that inhalation of mists of strong inorganic acids caused cancer of the larynx and lung. (NTP 2011).

Partial reference list:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Sulfuric Acid. 2016.
  • IARC Monographs Strong Acid Mists Containing Sulfuric Acid, 100-F, 2011
  • Lai, M.W., et al.: 2005 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poisoning and Exposure Database. Clinical Toxicology. 40: 803-932, 2006.
  • NTP Report on Carcinogens Strong Inorganic Mists Containing Sulfuric Acid
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Sulfuric Acid. September 1978.
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety CardsSulfuric Acid. February 10, 2000.
  • Suyama, Y., Takaku, S., Okawa, Y, Matsukubo, T.: Dental erosion in workers exposed to sulfuric acid in lead storage battery manufacturing facility. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll. 51(2):77-83, 2010.

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