Effects of Exposure to Sulfurous Acid

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Sulfurous acid is the chemical compound with the formula H2SO3. H2SO3 is a clear, colorless liquid with a sulfurous odor. It is a weak acid that is formed when sulfur dioxide is dissolved in water. Sulfurous acid is used as a bleaching and chemical reducing agent that is often used in medicine, throat and nasal sprays and skin lotions. Antiseptics, anti-fermentative, and antizymotics include sulfites that are formed from the acid. This compound is only stable in aqueous solutions, and decomposes back into sulfur dioxide and water when left standing. In addition, sulfurous acid is a crucial component to acid rain (1). H2SO3 causes burns in all exposure routes, its target organs are the respiratory system if inhaled, eyes through direct contact, skin through direct contact and gastrointestinal system if ingested. However, there is no chronic health hazards with H2SO3 (2). If Sulfurous acid is inhaled medical attention should be sought out immediately, the individual should be removed from the exposure to a more ventilated area with fresh air. If breathing remains difficult oxygen should be given, mouth to mouth should not be given if Sulfurous acid is inhaled or ingested. If Sulfurous acid makes direct contact to the eyes the eyes should be flushed immediately with a great deal of water for 15 minutes while lifting the lower and upper lids of the eye. medical attention should be sought out. If direct contact is made to the skin medical attention again should be sought out immediately. The skin should be flushed with water for 15 minutes and the contaminated clothing removed. And lastly, if the compound should be ingested vomiting should not be induced, medical attention should be sought out and poison control contacted.(2) Having exposure to to this compounds decomposition product sulfur dioxide in the air can reduce lung function and increase the likelihood of respiratory diseases and symptoms it has also been known to cause irritation of the eyes, nose and...
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