Toxno Substance Profile
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Substance Name

Sulfuric acid
Identification Number: CASRN | 7664-93-9

  Substance Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • 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.

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • 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.

  • 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: Chemical used in hydraulic fracturing fluids | Natural Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | EAFUS (Everything Added to Food in the United States) | PESTICIDE active ingredient | inorganic | herbicide | 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 | Non-metal Oxoanionic Compounds | Non-metal sulfates | Non-metal sulfates
  • SYNONYMS: Sulfurate | Sulphurate | Sulphuric acid | [S(OH)2O2] | [SO2(OH)2],H2SO4
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Surface cleaning agent | Sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive strong mineral acid with the molecular formula H2SO4. It is a pungent-ethereal, colorless to slightly yellow viscous liquid which is soluble in water at all concentrations. Sometimes, it is dyed dark brown during production to alert people to its hazards. The historical name of this acid is oil of vitriol. Concentrated sulfuric acid is 98% pure and shows different properties depending upon its concentration. For instance battery acid is 30% sulfuric acid. Because the hydration reaction of sulfuric acid is highly exothermic, dilution should always be performed by adding the acid to the water rather than the water to the acid. Pure sulfuric acid is not encountered naturally on Earth in its anhydrous form, due to its great affinity for water. Dilute sulfuric acid is a constituent of acid rain, which is formed by atmospheric oxidation of sulfur dioxide in the presence of water – i.e., oxidation of sulfurous acid. Sulfur dioxide is the main byproduct produced when sulfur-containing fuels such as coal or oil are burned. Most sulfuric acid (~60%) is consumed for fertilizers, particularly superphosphates, ammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfates. About 20% is used in chemical industry for production of detergents, synthetic resins, dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, petroleum catalysts, insecticides and antifreeze, as well as in various processes such as oil well acidicizing, aluminium reduction, paper sizing, water treatment.
  • COMMENTS:

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

    Causes severe skin burns and eye damage | | 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: H2O4S
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | NTP | Article-Colborn-2010 | FracFocus | EPA in USA | US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES | EAFUS | Consolidated Pesticide Information Dataset (CPI) from the USA EPA | Compendium of Pesticide Common Names | 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: Skin contact can cause redness, pain, blisters and severe skin burns. Sulfuric 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 sulfuric acid is swallowed. Symptoms include burning, choking, nausea, vomiting and severe pain.
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Sulfuric acid at a high concentration can cause very serious damage upon contact, as it not only causes chemical burns via hydrolysis, but also secondary thermal burns via dehydration. It burns the cornea and can lead to permanent blindness if splashed onto eyes. Accordingly, it rapidly attacks the cornea and can induce permanent blindness if splashed onto eyes. If ingested, it damages internal organs irreversibly and may even be fatal. Inhalation of sulfuric acid spray mist may produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. Sulfuric acid is also a known carcinogen. Sulfuric acid may be toxic to kidneys, lungs, heart, cardiovascular system, upper respiratory tract, eyes and teeth. |
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: 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. More specifically, sulfuric acid readily decomposes proteins and lipids through amide hydrolysis and ester hydrolysis upon contact with living tissues. In addition, it exhibits a strong dehydrating property on carbohydrates, liberating extra heat and causing secondary thermal burns. The strong oxidizing property may also extend its corrosiveness on the tissue. Because of such reasons, damage posed by sulfuric acid is potentially more severe than that caused by other comparable strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. |
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cell surface", "Cytosol", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Sulfuric acid is found naturally in acid rain or rainwater near industrial sites. Most sulfuric acid (~60%) is consumed for fertilizers, particularly superphosphates, ammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfates. About 20% is used in chemical industry for production of detergents, synthetic resins, dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, petroleum catalysts, insecticides and antifreeze, as well as in various processes such as oil well acidicizing, aluminium reduction, paper sizing, water treatment.

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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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