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Sulfuric Acid


CAS No.7664-93-9

Sulfuric acid (H2S04) is a corrosive substance, destructive to the skin, eyes, teeth, and lungs. Severe exposure can result in death.  Workers may be harmed from exposure to sulfuric acid. The level of exposure depends on dose, duration, and type of work being done.

Sulfuric acid is used in many industries. It’s used to produce other chemicals, explosives and glue; to refine petroleum; to cure metal; and in lead-based car batteries. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to sulfuric acid include the following:

  • Outdoor workers who work in areas where coal, oil, or gas are burned
  • Mechanics who handle dirty batteries
  • Plumbers and contractors who come in contact with toilet bowl cleaners mixed with water
  • Workers in publishing, printing or photography shops
  • Fire fighters and steelworkers who are exposed to acid mists

NIOSH recommends that employers use the Hierarchy of Controls to prevent or reduce worker exposures. If you work in an industry that uses sulfuric acid, read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheet for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.

The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to sulfuric acid. Useful search terms for sulfuric acid include “battery acid,” “hydrogen sulfate,” “oil of vitriol,” and “sulfuric acid (aqueous).”

NIOSH Chemical Resources

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NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemicals and their hazards.

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Manual of Analytical Methods

The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.

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Health Hazard Evaluations

The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on sulfuric acid.

Related NIOSH Resources

Selected Publications

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International Resources