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NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
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Sulfuric Acid

In Case of Spills/Exposures

Prompt action is essential if there is a sulfuric acid spill or leak.

First Aid Management

Take the following actions for each type of exposure:

  • Inhalation (breathing):
    • Move the person to fresh air at once.
    • Perform artificial respiration, if breathing stops.
    • Keep the affected person in a resting position.
    • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Eye Exposure:
    • Wash eyes immediately with large amounts of lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes, lifting the upper and lower lids.
    • Seek medical attention immediately.
    • Contact lenses should not be worn when working with sulfuric acid.
  • Skin Exposure:
    • Flush skin contaminated with sulfuric acid with soap and lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. Do not scrub or rub skin. If strong concentrations of gas or solution penetrate clothing, remove clothing and flush the skin with water.
    • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Swallowing:
    • Give the victim large amounts of water or milk to dilute the sulfuric acid solution if swallowed and person is conscious.
    • Do not attempt to make the exposed person vomit.
    • Seek medical attention immediately.
    • Refer to a material safety data sheet (MSDS); call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222), or call a physician.

Spill Management

  • Notify trained personnel immediately, such as the company HAZMAT team or the local fire department. Untrained persons or those without proper personal protective equipment must not enter areas with high concentrations of sulfuric acid.
  • Evacuate and restrict people from the hazardous area of a sulfuric acid release.
  • Stop or control the source of exposure.
  • Ventilate contaminated atmospheres by opening windows to disperse the fumes.
  • If the exposure is from the spill of a solution, collect or confine the spilled material. Dilute and neutralize the spill and dispose in a secured landfill. Sulfuric acid may be absorbed in vermiculite, dry sand or similar material.
  • Refer to the manufacturer's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for more information about sulfuric acid hazards.

For Additional Information