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Sulfuric acid, sulfuric also spelled Sulphuric (H2SO4),also called Oil Of Vitriol, or Hydrogen Sulfate, dense, colourless, oily, corrosive liquid; one of the most important of all chemicals, prepared industrially by the reaction of water with sulfur trioxide (see sulfur oxide), which in turn is made by chemical combination of sulfur dioxide and oxygen either by the contact process or the chamber process. In various concentrations the acid is used in the manufacture of fertilizers, pigments, dyes, drugs, explosives, detergents, and in organic salts and acids, as well as in petroleum refining and metallurgical processes. In one of its most familiar applications, sulfuric acid serves as the electrolyte in lead–acid storage batteries.
Main Routes of Exposure: Inhalation. Skin contact. Eye contact.
Inhalation: Not expected to be an inhalation hazard unless heated or misted. VERY TOXIC, can cause death. Can cause severe irritation of the nose and throat. Can cause life-threatening accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath, difficult breathing and tightness in the chest. Long-term damage may result from a severe short-term exposure.
Skin Contact: CORROSIVE. Contact can cause pain, redness, burns, and blistering. Permanent scarring can result. A severe exposure can cause death.
Eye Contact: CORROSIVE. Contact causes severe burns with redness, swelling, pain and blurred vision. Permanent damage including blindness can result.
Ingestion: Can burn the lips, tongue, throat and stomach. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Permanent damage can result. Can cause death.
Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure: At low concentrations: Can cause dry, red, cracked skin (dermatitis) following skin contact. At high concentrations: May wear away tooth enamel when breathed in. May harm the respiratory system. Can irritate and inflame the airways.
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