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Author: Subject: Health effects of acute, low concentration acid vapors.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2020 at 18:23
Health effects of acute, low concentration acid vapors.

I perform experiments not too often and am not exposed to vapors often. Whenever I perform nitrations where RFNA is made in situ, or when I know there is a possibility of some corrosive chemicals during any experiment I wear a respirator with proper filters. However, sometimes I didn't wear one since the fumes were minimal and I tended to not wear one when there were very low concentrations of vapors and I was working outside anyway. A small opposite wind gust would sometimes blow a bit of fumes my way. I have a quick reflex that makes me exhale a little to "purge" my air ways, hold my breath, and just move to different spots. With the concentrated vapors the same was true.

Sometimes I would feel a very slight irritation in my airway, as in the back of my throat. It was typically only the back of my throat and I had never inhaled the vapors deeply. I never got such a strong whiff that it made me cough or have any adverse effects besides maybe slightly watery eyes.

My question is if the slight corrosion of my airways from such a small exposure causes permanent damage? I imagine not and nowadays I wear my PPE religiously but every once in a while I still have an accidental whiff of acid fumes. Is this analogous to getting a slight scratch to the skin that heals quickly? Since it's irritation at most I feel like it's fine and might not even have done any damage at all. The irritation often just feels like a bit of a dry throat than anything and since I am getting pretty paranoid about my safety with this hobby I can't help but think that it's often my mind playing tricks on me.
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[*] posted on 23-7-2020 at 06:02

Long-term (years) exposure to acid vapors is known to cause an increased risk of cancer. See:

But as long as you're not doing it regularly, I wouldn't be worried.

As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 24-7-2020 at 10:57

Airways are wet so traces of acid vapors are immediately neutralized with HCO3-. But higher concentrations and longer exposure may overwhelm the internal buffers (HCO3- system). Airways irritation increases the secretion so the capacity for neutralization increases. NOx do also different damage than acid itself (H3O+).

If there is a heaven, it seems not to be materially based. Does chemistry exist there and if yes, how does it look like? Are there good souls well supplied with laboratory equipment, glass, chemicals and information?
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 10-8-2020 at 02:50

A little HCl here and there, or a little Acetic acid, doesn't trouble me. Nitric acid, and Oxides of Nitrogen, worry me more. But, that's me. I must defer to those that are more expert. I think it's pretty bad, some might disagree.
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