This fact sheet is part of a series of chemical fact sheets developed by TURI to help Massachusetts companies, community organizations and residents understand the chemical's use and health and environmental effects, as well as the availability of safer alternatives. Since Massachusetts companies report usage under the Toxics Use Reduction Act, readers will learn how the chemicals are being used and by which companies.
Sulfuric acid is a corrosive toxic chemical that causes direct effects ranging from irritation to burns on the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Massachusetts businesses consumed almost 45 million pounds of sulfuric acid, the world's most widely used chemical, in the production of chemicals, electricity, food products, paper products, electronics, textiles, leather goods, and electroplated parts. Fuming sulfuric acid is used to transport high concentrations of acid.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies occupational exposure to strong, inorganic mists containing sulfuric acid as a known human carcinogen (Group 1). Limited evidence suggests that sulfuric acid causes lung cancer in refinery workers.
Learn more about Sulfuric acid and Fuming Sulfuric acid health effects, use in Massachusetts, and alternatives here.