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CAS Registry No.: 7446-09-5
Other Names: Sulphur dioxide, SO2
Main Uses: To make sulfuric acid, intermediate in bleaching processes, in food processing.
Appearance: Colourless gas.
Canadian TDG: UN1079
A - Compressed Gas; D1A - Very Toxic; D2B - Toxic (Mutagenicity); E - Corrosive
Emergency Overview: Colourless gas. Suffocating odour. COMPRESSED GAS. Contains gas under pressure. May explode if heated. Will not burn. VERY TOXIC. Fatal if inhaled. Corrosive to the respiratory tract. A severe, short-term exposure may cause long-term respiratory effects (e.g., Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)). CORROSIVE. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. May cause frostbite. SUSPECT MUTAGEN. Suspected of causing genetic defects.
Main Routes of Exposure: Inhalation.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 3 - Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.
American Conference for Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH): A4 - Not classifiable as a human carcinogen.
Inhalation: Take precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment). Move victim to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, trained personnel should administer emergency oxygen. DO NOT allow victim to move about unnecessarily. Symptoms of pulmonary edema may be delayed. Immediately call a Poison Centre or doctor. Treatment is urgently required. Transport to a hospital.
Skin Contact: Gas: flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes. Call a Poison Centre or doctor. Liquefied gas: quickly remove victim from source of contamination. DO NOT attempt to rewarm the affected area on site. DO NOT rub area or apply direct heat. Gently remove clothing or jewelry that may restrict circulation. Carefully cut around clothing that sticks to the skin and remove the rest of the garment. Loosely cover the affected area with a sterile dressing. DO NOT allow victim to drink alcohol or smoke. Immediately call a Poison Centre or doctor. Treatment is urgently required. Transport to a hospital. Double bag, seal, label and leave contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods at the scene for safe disposal.
Eye Contact: Gas: move victim to fresh air. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes, while holding the eyelid(s) open. Liquefied gas: avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective gloves if necessary. Immediately and briefly flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water. DO NOT attempt to rewarm. Cover both eyes with a sterile dressing. DO NOT allow victim to drink alcohol or smoke. Immediately call a Poison Centre or doctor. Treatment is urgently required. Transport to a hospital.
Ingestion: Not applicable (gas).
First Aid Comments: Some of the first aid procedures recommended here require advanced first aid training. All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the chemical and its conditions of use in the workplace.
Flammable Properties: Does not burn.
Suitable Extinguishing Media: Not combustible. Use extinguishing agent suitable for surrounding fire.
Specific Hazards Arising from the Chemical: Heat from fire can cause a rapid build-up of pressure inside cylinders. Explosive rupture and a sudden release of large amounts of gas may result. Cylinder may rocket. Contact with some powdered metals may cause fires and explosions.
Personal Precautions: Use personal protective equipment as required. Increase ventilation to area or move leaking container to a well-ventilated and secure area.
Methods for Containment and Clean-up: Stop or reduce leak if safe to do so. Knock down gas with fog or fine water spray. The resulting sulfuric acid solutions are very corrosive and very toxic. Dike and recover contaminated water for appropriate disposal.
Other Information: Contact supplier, local fire and emergency services for help.
Handling: In event of a spill or leak, immediately put on escape-type respirator and exit the area. Immediately report leaks, spills or failures of the safety equipment (e.g. ventilation system). Get medical attention for all exposures. Symptoms can be delayed. Secure cylinder in an up-right position. Protect cylinders from damage. Use a suitable hand truck to move cylinders; do not drag, roll, slide, or drop. Keep containers tightly closed when not in use or empty. Use corrosion-resistant tools and equipment.
Storage: Store in an area that is: cool, dry, well-ventilated, temperature-controlled, separate from incompatible materials, out of direct sunlight and away from heat and ignition sources. Restrict access to authorized personnel only. Have escape-type respiratory protective equipment readily available, in case of leaks or spills. Always secure (e.g. chain) cylinders in an upright position to a wall, rack or other solid structure. Empty containers may contain hazardous residue. Store separately. Keep closed.
ACGIH® TLV® - STEL [C]: 0.25 ppm A4
Exposure Guideline Comments: TLV® = Threshold Limit Value. STEL = Short-term Exposure Limit. C = Ceiling limit. A4 = Not classifiable as a human carcinogen.
NOTE: In many (but not all) Canadian jurisdictions, the exposure limits are similar to the ACGIH® TLVs®. Since legislation varies by jurisdiction, contact your local jurisdiction for exact details. A list is available in the OSH Answers on Canadian Governmental Occupational Health & Safety Departments.
A list of which acts and regulations that cover exposure limits to chemical and biological agents is available on our website. Please note that while you can see the list of legislation for free, you will need a subscription to view the actual documentation.
Engineering Controls: Use a local exhaust ventilation and enclosure, if necessary, to control amount in the air. Use stringent control measures such as process enclosure to prevent product release into the workplace. Use a corrosion-resistant exhaust ventilation system separate from other ventilation systems. Exhaust directly to the outside, taking any necessary precautions for environmental protection. Provide eyewash and safety shower if contact or splash hazard exists.
Eye/Face Protection: Wear chemical safety goggles and face shield when contact is possible.
Skin Protection: Wear chemical protective clothing e.g. gloves, aprons, boots. Suitable materials include: Viton®/butyl rubber, Saranex®™, Tychem® BR/LV, Tychem® Responder® CSM, Tychem® TK.
Up to 20 ppm:
(APF = 10) Any chemical cartridge respirator with cartridge(s) providing protection against sulfur dioxide*; or Any supplied-air respirator*.
*Reported to cause eye irritation or damage; may require eye protection.
APF = Assigned Protection Factor
Recommendations apply only to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators. Refer to the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards for more information.
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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.