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Phosphoric acid can affect human health through inhalation of mist, ingestion, and contact with the skin and eyes. It can severely irritate the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin. It can burn the skin, mouth, and eyes, and cause dermatitis, a sour acrid taste, coughing, conjunctivitis, tearing, blepharospasm, severe gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, difficult swallowing, severe abdominal pains, extreme thirst, acidemia, difficult breathing, convulsion, shock, and even asphyxial death.
It can cause circulatory collapse with clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, shallow respirations, and scanty urine. It can corrode the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, and esophagus, with immediate pain and dysphagia.
People at special risk of exposure to phosphoric acid include those with chronic pulmonary disease, and skin disease.(3)
The symptoms of lung oedema often do not become manifest until a few hours have passed and they are aggravated by physical effort. Rest and medical observation are therefore essential. Immediate administration of an appropriate spray, by a doctor or a person authorized by him/her, should be considered. NEVER pour water into this substance; when dissolving or diluting always add it slowly to the water.
PHYSICAL STATE; APPEARANCE:
HYGROSCOPIC, COLOURLESS CRYSTALS.
The substance violently polymerizes under the influence of azo compounds, epoxides and other polymerizable compounds. On combustion, forms toxic fumes (phosphorous oxides). The substance decomposes on contact with metals, alcohols, aldehydes, cyanides, ketones, phenols, esters, sulfides, halogenated organics producing toxic fumes. The substance is a medium strong acid. Attacks metals to liberate flammable hydrogen gas.
OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE LIMITS (OELs):
TLV: ppm; 1 mg/m3 (ACGIH 1991-1992).
TLV (as STEL): ppm; 3 mg/m3 (ACGIH 1991-1992).
ROUTES OF EXPOSURE:
The substance can be absorbed into the body by inhalation of its aerosol and by ingestion.
A harmful contamination of the air will not or will only very slowly be reached on evaporation of this substance at 20°C.
EFFECTS OF SHORT-TERM EXPOSURE:
Corrosive. The substance is corrosive to the eyes, the skin, and the respiratory tract. Corrosive on ingestion as well. Inhalation of vapour may cause lung oedema (see Notes). Exposure may result in death. The effects may be delayed. Medical observation is indicated.
EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM OR REPEATED EXPOSURE: