What are the dangers of sulfuric acid? (with photos)

All sulfuric acid burns require immediate medical attention.

Sulfuric is a colorless, odorless, highly reactive, water-soluble strong acid that has the potential to be quite dangerous when handled incorrectly. One of the most well-known and most important hazards of sulfuric acid is its ability to cause severe burns upon contact with the skin. This is particularly true for highly concentrated acids, although even slightly dilute solutions can still be quite dangerous. Other risks of sulfuric acid present when the acid is ingested. It can be dangerous when taken in high concentrations in a single dose or in lower concentrations over a long period of time.

Sulfuric acid can cause burns if it comes in contact with a person’s skin.

The various hazards of sulfuric acid mainly arise from its high chemical reactivity, the same property that makes it very useful in a variety of scientific and industrial settings. When it comes into contact with materials and substances such as metal, concrete, water and many others, chemical reactions take place – in many cases violently. Proper handling ensures that it only comes into contact with materials with which it must react, thus minimizing the potential hazard. Mishandling or unexpected incidents, on the other hand, can lead to ingestion or contact with skin, clothing or even eyes. This can cause severe burns, and eye exposure in particular is notorious for leading to poor eyesight or blindness.

Special dressings may be needed to promote healing and prevent infections in severe chemical sulfuric acid burns.

Ingesting or inhaling sulfuric acid can lead to many different health problems, depending on whether the ingestion is acute or occurs over time. Ingestion of a considerable dose at once can cause severe internal burns and organ damage, and if proper treatment is not given, it can be fatal. Some of the risks of sulfuric acid only present after long-term exposure and can affect those who regularly use sulfuric acid-containing cleaning products or labware. The long-term dangers of sulfuric acid exposure include lung damage, vitamin deficiency, and possibly cancer.

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A sulfuric acid burn should be irrigated abundantly with water.

Many of the hazards of sulfuric acid can be minimized or entirely eliminated through proper handling of the acid. It looks a lot like water and a variety of other harmless chemicals because it’s clear and odorless. Many of the dangers of sulfuric acid can be avoided simply through proper labeling. When working with acid, it is important to wear proper eye and body protection as it is difficult to fully prevent and control spills and splashes. A single drop of concentrated sulfuric acid is enough to cause serious damage to a person’s eyes, so proper protection is always important.

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