Exposure to concentrated hydrochloric acid can cause circulatory collapse, which may lead to death; it can also cause death by asphyxia due to glottic oedema. Less concentrated solutions, can also cause conjunctivitis and corneal burns, inflammation and ulceration of the respiratory tract, dermatitis, skin burns, rhinitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, pulmonary oedema, dental erosion, hoarseness, a feeling of suffocation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dehydration, convulsions, oliguria, hypotension, chills, shock, lethargy, stupor, permanent visual damage, cough, and choking. Ingestion or skin contact with hydrochloric acid can cause corrosion of mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, and oesophagus, with immediate pain and dysphagia; it can also cause gastric haemorrhage and intense thirst.
Entering the body
Probable routes of human exposure to hydrochloric acid are skin contact and inhalation of hydrogen chloride gas.
Probable routes of human exposure to hydrochloric acid are inhalation and skin contact during any of the consumer uses of the chemical outlined above.
Worksafe Australia has set the exposure standard for hydrochloric acid (hydrogen chloride) to 5 ppm (7.5 milligram/m3 (TWA).
Note: For some rapidly acting substances and irritants, averaging of airborne concentration over an eight hour period is inappropriate. These substances may induce acute effects after relatively brief exposure to high concentrations and so the exposure standard for these substances represents a maximum or peak concentration to which workers may be exposed.
Irritant: concentration cut-off level: 1% weight/weight
Corrosive: concentration cut-off level: 5% weight/weight
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