Battery acid is sulfuric acid that has been diluted with water to attain a 37% concentration level. This particular type of acid is used in sealed lead acid batteries, however, concentration levels differenciate with some brands. These batteries use a combination of lead plates and an electrolyte consisting of a diluted sulphuric acid to convert electrical energy into potential chemical energy and back again. Although this acid allows us to have portable power in the form of SLA batteries, the actual acid can be extremely dangerous. It's corrosive nature literally melts any bodily tissue it comes in contact with. When it comes in contact with soil it will actually contaminate it for an extended period of time depending on the concentration of the acid. This could potentially be harmful to humans, animals and the environment. Because of this, SLA batteries must be recycled. It is illegal to dispose of these batteries in the garbage. Here at Atbatt.com we offer a battery recycling service for your convenience as well as the general cleanliness of our planet.
Sulfuric acid, also known as "oil of vitriol", has a chemical formula of H2SO4 in H2O. The emergency overview label on this chemical reads: 'POISON! DANGER! CORROSIVE. LIQUID AND MIST CAUSE SEVERE BURNS TO ALL BODY TISSUE. MAY BE FATAL IF SWALLOWED OR CONTACTED WITH SKIN. HARMFUL IF INHALED. AFFECTS TEETH. WATER REACTIVE. CANCER HAZARD. STRONG INORGANIC ACID MISTS CONTAINING SULFURIC ACID CAN CAUSE CANCER. Risk of cancer depends on duration and level of exposure.'
Safety Data Ratings
Health Rating: 4 - Extreme (Poison)
Flammability Rating: 0 - None
Reactivity Rating: 2 - Moderate
Contact Rating: 4 - Extreme (Corrosive)
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES
Storage Color Code: White (Corrosive)
Potential Health Effects
Inhalation: produces damaging effects on the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. Symptoms may include irritation of the nose and throat, and labored breathing. May cause lung edema, a medical emergency.
Ingestion: Corrosive. Swallowing can cause severe burns of the mouth, throat, and stomach, leading to death. Can cause sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea. Circulatory collapse with clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, shallow respirations, and scanty urine may follow ingestion or skin contact. Circulatory shock is often the immediate cause of death.
Skin Contact: Corrosive. Symptoms of redness, pain, and severe burn can occur. Circulatory collapse with clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, shallow respirations, and scanty urine may follow skin contact or ingestion. Circulatory shock is often the immediate cause of death.
Eye Contact: Corrosive. Contact can cause blurred vision, redness, pain and severe tissue burns. Can cause blindness.
Chronic Exposure: Long-term exposure to mist or vapors may cause damage to teeth. Chronic exposure to mists containing sulfuric acid is a cancer hazard.
Fire: Concentrated material is a strong dehydrating agent. Reacts with organic materials and may cause ignition of finely divided materials on contact.
Explosion: Contact with most metals causes formation of flammable and explosive hydrogen gas.
Fire Extinguishing Media: Dry chemical, foam or carbon dioxide. Do not use water on material. However, water spray may be used to keep fire exposed containers cool.
Special Information: In the event of a fire, wear full protective clothing and NIOSH-approved self-contained breathing apparatus with full facepiece operated in the pressure demand or other positive pressure mode. Structural firefighter's protective clothing is ineffective for fires involving this material. Stay away from sealed containers.
Accidental Release Measures
Ventilate area of leak or spill. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment as specified in Section 8. Isolate hazard area. Keep unnecessary and unprotected personnel from entering. Contain and recover liquid when possible. Neutralize with alkaline material (soda ash, lime), then absorb with an inert material (e. g., vermiculite, dry sand, earth), and place in a chemical waste container. Do not use combustible materials, such as saw dust. Do not flush to sewer! US Regulations (CERCLA) require reporting spills and releases to soil, water and air in excess of reportable quantities. The toll free number for the US Coast Guard National Response Center is (800) 424-8802.
Handling and Storage
Store in a cool, dry, ventilated storage area with acid resistant floors and good drainage. Protect from physical damage. Keep out of direct sunlight and away from heat, water, and incompatible materials. Do not wash out container and use it for other purposes. When diluting, always add the acid to water; never add water to the acid. When opening metal containers, use non-sparking tools because of the possibility of hydrogen gas being present. Containers of this material may be hazardous when empty since they retain product residues (vapors, liquid); observe all warnings and precautions listed for the product.
Stability and Reactivity
Stability: Stable under ordinary conditions of use and storage. Concentrated solutions react violently with water, spattering and liberating heat.
Hazardous Decomposition Products: Toxic fumes of oxides of sulfur when heated to decomposition. Will react with water or steam to produce toxic and corrosive fumes. Reacts with carbonates to generate carbon dioxide gas, and with cyanides and sulfides to form poisonous hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen sulfide respectively.
Hazardous Polymerization: Will not occur.
Incompatibilities: Water, potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium permanganate, sodium, lithium, bases, organic material, halogens, metal acetylides, oxides and hydrides, metals (yields hydrogen gas), strong oxidizing and reducing agents and many other reactive substances.
Conditions to Avoid: Heat, moisture, incompatibles.
Although this chemical is extremely dangerous, proper handling of your sealed lead acid batteries, will keep you safe.