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Identifying and Mitigating Occupational Exposure Risks to Sulfuric Acid and Other Industrial Chemicals

Clark Seif Clark provides industrial hygiene testing, consulting and training services to safeguard workers and to help keep companies in regulatory compliance.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that occupational exposure to strong inorganic acid mists containing sulfuric acid is carcinogenic to humans.

Sulfuric acid is a mineral acid composed of the elements sulfur, oxygen and hydrogen. It is a corrosive substance used in many industries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns it is destructive to the skin, eyes, teeth and lungs, with severe exposure potentially resulting in death.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports that touching sulfuric acid will burn the skin, and breathing sulfuric acid can result in tooth erosion and respiratory tract irritation. Drinking sulfuric acid can burn the mouth, throat and stomach; which can result in death. If sulfuric acid gets in the eyes, it will cause the eyes to water and burn.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that occupational exposure to strong inorganic acid mists containing sulfuric acid is carcinogenic to humans. IARC has not classified pure sulfuric acid for its carcinogenic effects. Strong Inorganic acid mists containing sulfuric acid were added to California’s Proposition 65 list back in 2003 as a chemical known to cause cancer.
Sulfuric acid is used to produce other chemicals, fertilizers, 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 according to NIOSH include:

  • 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
  • Firefighters and steelworkers who are exposed to acid mists

“To help protect workers from airborne exposure to sulfuric acid, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) and NIOSH has a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL),” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “At CSC, our industrial hygiene and environmental professionals are dedicated to helping companies and institutions safeguard their workers and maintain regulatory compliance. We offer testing, monitoring, consulting and training services to identify and mitigate exposure risks associated with sulfuric acid and many other hazards in the workplace.
CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about sulfuric acid and potential occupational exposure risks that can be seen at:
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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 Sulfuric Acid
 Industrial Hygiene
 Occupational Health
 Occupational Safety

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