Sodium bisulfate

Poisoning from an overdose of sodium bisulfate.

Poisonous Ingredient 

Sodium bisulfate

Where Found 

  • Leather tanning agents  
  • Photographic reducing agents  
  • Some food preservatives

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • If sodium bisulfate was swallowed:       o Burning pain in the mouth       o diarrhea       o Asphyxiation (death due to inability to breathe) from swelling in the throat       o Brown discoloration around the mouth       o Vomiting       o Severe Low Blood pressure  
  • If poisoning results from skin contact:       o Pain in the area of skin contact       o Brownish stains in the area where the acid contacted the skin

Home Treatment 

Seek emergency medical care immediately. If the chemical was swallowed: DO NOT INDUCE Vomiting. Give water or milk as soon as possible to dilute the acid. If the patient is Vomiting, keep administering fluids (water or milk). It is very important to dilute the acid to minimize damage to the tissues.

If skin contact is involved: Wash the area thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes. Remove any clothes containing the acid, washing the area beneath the clothes.

Before Calling Emergency 

Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Diluting the acid.  
  • Giving activated charcoal.  
  • Giving milk of magnesia (if the acid was swallowed).  
  • Treating the other symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Damage to the esophagus may occur as late as 2 to 3 weeks after ingestion. Death may occur up to 1 month after ingestion. Those who recover may suffer from constrictions in the pyloric region of the stomach or in the esophagus.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Simon D. Mitin, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.