Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Hydrochloric acid
Identification Number: CASRN | 7647-01-0

  Substance Attributes


  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.


    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Serious Acute Effects

    This is a serious nasty substance. Effects are Acute (seen immediately). Substances in this category may be FATAL or acutely toxic if inhaled, skin contact or swallowed. See further details.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Soluble in Water

    This substance easily dissolves in water. As such it can be easily transported via waterways. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

  • Volatile - Evaporates easily

    This substance easily enters the air we breath. Not really a nastiness attribute, but this feature helps rapidly spread other nastiness attributes this substance may have.

These attributes are ONLY based on peer-reviewed evidence. See link to Data Sources below. Everyone benefits from knowing this stuff. Please Share.



  • CATEGORIES: Food Additives with E Numbers | Mineral salts | Chemical used in hydraulic fracturing fluids | Natural Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | EAFUS (Everything Added to Food in the United States) | PESTICIDE active ingredient | Inert Pesticide Ingredient USA - Food Use Permitted | Pesticide approved in USA (California) | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Inorganic Compounds | Homogeneous Non-metal Compounds | Halogen Organides | Halogen Hydrides | Halogen hydrides
  • SYNONYMS: HCl | Hydrochlorate | Hydrochloride | Hydrogen chloride | [HCl]
  • DESCRIPTION: E Number: E507 | Food Additives with E Numbers used in Australia, NZ, UK and the EU. Over 400 in total. | Substance has been approved in: Australia and NZ | EU and UK | | Mineral salts | Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Scale inhibitor, pH control, gellant, fracturing, unknown | HCl refers to both hydrogen chloride gas and aqueous hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen chloride gas is a colorless gas formed from the reaction of hydrogen with chlorine. It forms white fumes of hydrochloric acid upon contact with atmospheric humidity. Hydrochloric acid is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. Hydrochloric acid is found naturally in gastric acid. Hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid are important in technology and industry. For example, hydrochloric acid is used in the chemical industry as a chemical reagent in the large-scale production of vinyl chloride for PVC plastic, and MDI/TDI for polyurethane. It has numerous smaller-scale applications, including household cleaning, production of gelatin and other food additives, descaling, and leather processing. Hydrogen chloride is less widely used, although even in the absence of water, hydrogen chloride can still act as an acid. For example, hydrogen chloride can dissolve in certain other solvents such as methanol, protonate molecules or ions, and serve as an acid-catalyst for chemical reactions where anhydrous (water-free) conditions are desired. Hydrogen chloride is corrosive, particularly in the presence of moisture. Likewise hydrochloric acid is also extremely corrosive. Most hydrochloric acid is sold or is available as a 38% aqueous solution.
  • COMMENTS:

    From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia:

    Toxic if inhaled. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage | Acutely Toxic | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)

    Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.

    The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: ClH
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | Article-Colborn-2010 | FracFocus | EPA in USA | US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES | APPEA | FSANZ and FSA | EAFUS | DPR | EPA USA - Pesticide Inerts | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 28/04/2018

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Inhalation of HCl fumes can cause coughing, choking, inflammation of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract, and in severe cases, pulmonary edema, circulatory system failure, and death. Skin contact can cause redness, pain, and severe skin burns. Hydrogen chloride may cause severe burns to the eye and permanent eye damage. Severe and rapid corrosive burns of the mouth, gullet and gastrointestinal tract will result if hydrochloric acid is swallowed. Symptoms include burning, choking, nausea, vomiting and severe pain.
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Hydrogen chloride forms corrosive hydrochloric acid on contact with water found in body tissue. Inhalation of the fumes can cause coughing, choking, inflammation of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract, and in severe cases, pulmonary edema, circulatory system failure, and death. Skin contact can cause redness, pain, and severe skin burns. Both hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid may cause severe burns to the eye and permanent eye damage. Severe and rapid corrosive burns of the mouth, gullet and gastrointestinal tract will result if hydrochloric acid is swallowed. Symptoms include burning, choking, nausea, vomiting and severe pain. Concentrated hydrochloric acid (fuming hydrochloric acid) forms acidic mists. Both the mist and the solution have a corrosive effect on human tissue, with the potential to damage respiratory organs, eyes, skin, and intestines irreversibly. Upon mixing hydrochloric acid with common oxidizing chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach, NaClO) or potassium permanganate (KMnO4), the toxic gas chlorine is produced. Chronic exposure to hydrogen chloride can lead to liver damage, bleeding of nose and gums, nasal and oral mucosal ulceration, conjunctivitis, yellowing of teeth and erosion of tooth enamel as well as dermatitis. |
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Both hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid are highly corrosive. Many strong acids cause tissue burns through the denaturation of proteins and partial hydrolysis of proteins. Most proteins denature at pH values of less than 3-4. The large-scale denaturation of proteins, de-esterification of lipids and subsequent desiccation of tissues leads to chemical burns. Symptoms include itching, bleaching or darkening of skin or tissues, blistering and burning sensations. |
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cell junction", "Cell surface", "Endoplasmic reticulum", "Microtubule", "Mitochondrion", "Nerve Fiber", "Nuclear Membrane", "Plasma Membrane"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Hydrochloric acid is found naturally in gastric acid. Most hydrogen chloride gas is used in the production of hydrochloric acid. HCl gas is also an important reagent in other industrial chemical transformations. For example, the hydrochlorination of rubber and the production of vinyl and alkyl chlorides. In the semiconductor industry, it is used to both etch semiconductor crystals and to purify silicon via trichlorosilane (SiHCl3). It may also be used to treat cotton to delint it, and to separate it from wool. In the chlor-alkali industry, brine (mixture of sodium chloride and water) solution is electrolyzed producing chlorine (Cl2), sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen (H2). The pure chlorine gas can be combined with hydrogen to produce hydrogen chloride in the presence of UV light.

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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