Sulphuric acid poisoning


Colorless, heavy liquid which acts powerfully on organic matter, rapidly breaking it up and blackening it. A large amount of heat is evolved when it is mixed with water.

Chemical Formula - H2SO4

Synonym - Oil of Vitriol

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Tongue become swollen shapeless mass covered with white coating.
  2. Teeth becomes chalky white.
  3. Lips becomes swollen and excoriated.
  4. Black trickle marks appear on lips, cheeks and chin due to dribbling of the acid from the angles of the mouth.
  5. Black or brownish vomiting.

Fatal Dose

10-15 ml for adult ( Half of this amount for children)

Fatal period

12 to 24 hours.


  1. Symptomatic
  2. Milk of magnesia to neutralize the acid.
  3. Use of demulcents (Milk, vegetable oils, starch solution etc. )
  4. 10 mg morphine I.M for pain.
  5. Corticosteroids to combat shock
  6. Ice sucking to relieve thirst.

Medico-legal Impotance

  1. Sulphuric acid is commonly used for suicidal purposes due to its easily availability.
  2. Accidental cases have occurred from its having been mistaken for glycerin, syrup or castor oil.
  3. It is given internally as an abortifacient.
  4. Vitriolage - Throwing of acid over the face by malicious people is very common and known as vitriolage. It may lead to permanent scar over the face and even cause blindness.

Post-mortem appearances

  1. Blackish or brownish marks of corrosion on the whole surface from inside the mouth down to the stomach.
  2. Structure of esophagus is seen.
  3. Extensive marks of corrosion, inflammation and perforation is found on the stomach.
  4. Peritoneal cavity contains grumous (clotted) fluid.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *