Would you use a product for your household if it showed these symbols?
The skull and crossbones are universal for poison and other lethal substances.
Corrosive, although another common symbol is that of the skeleton of a human hand.
Sulfuric (Sulphuric) acid is meant to be handled by professionals who are trained to use it. This chemical is unsafe in the hands of the general public or consumer, i.e. the residential homeowner or tenant. Sulfuric acid is not available for retail sale, and anyone in possession of such chemicals have obtained them from industrial sources.
It is not meant to be used in toilets for clogged drains. There are stringent warnings on the bottles to remind users of the dangers in this product:
- to wear acid resistant gloves and goggles or face shield
- not to get in eyes, on skin or on clothing
- not to breathe the vapors or mist
- to use sufficient ventilation to prevent build-up of vapors or mist
- not to be used where other drain chemicals (cleaners and openers), hot water or bleach are present
- this product attacks all organic and inorganic material or chemicals and may cause an explosion or fire
- contact with metals liberates flammable hydrogen gas
- not to allow product to come in contact with stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, certain plastics and non-acid resistant enamel.
- Not to use in old drains or traps
- CORROSIVE to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. May cause blindness and permanent scarring. Causes lung injury – effects may be delayed. Strong inorganic acid mists containing sulphuric acid are CARCINOGENIC. Risk of cancer depends on duration and level of exposure to the sulphuric acid mist.
The skull and crossbones symbol means the product is VERY TOXIC, immediate and serious. Products which have this symbol ought not to be used at all in a household where it is all too easy to have accidents.
The reason I have posted information about Sulfuric Acid is because one of my housemates decided to assist in the declogging of the kitchen sink on the weekend by using Sulfuric Acid. Despite being told quite firmly that she not use it as other chemicals had already been used on the drain (without much success), and the fact that it was a hazardous chemical, she poured it into the kitchen sink drain and the two toilets between 12:30am and 1:30am on Saturday when the rest of the household had retired to bed. No windows had been opened for ventilation. The toilets had been flushed afterwards, yet the next day the kitchen sink sported large black areas around the drains, along with chemical odour in the kitchen, in the bathrooms and in the hallways.
I had used one of the bathrooms around 2am, felt dizzy while there, and upon returning to my room had opened the window and left it open for several hours despite the chilly temperatures. I have been to the doctor since with complaints of burning eyes, severe headache, sore throat, tightness and pain of the upper chest and difficulty breathing at times. I suffer from occasional asthma, but now wonder what will happen in the coming days. I am drinking large quantities of water and fluids to flush my system hoping the more serious effects do not occur while wondering why this roommate chose to take such a risk with others health and her own.
Source and photo credit: wikipedia