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How Toxic is Liver of sulfur

Q. We recently started trying to do some antique jewelry. We ordered some liver of sulfur [on eBay or Amazon] and would like to know how toxic it really is? Would wearing a 3M mask be enough precaution when mixing this solution?

George Blackwood
bits and spurs - Farmersville, Texas

A. My first suggestion is buy it premixed! The fumes cannot be removed with a paper filter, but that is not to say that 3M has no filters capable of removing sulfides. Please obtain an MSDS and a technical data sheet for the material. If you remain concerned after that, there are industrial hygiene consultants who can offer help. An internet forum is a one-room schoolhouse housing 3rd-graders and post-docs, epidemologists and the illiterate, scientists working in well equipped labs and clueless people mixing chemicals on their stovetop. Unfortunately, trying to answer "how toxic it really is" in a forum like this isn't possible, George ... but many people use it with just a little ventilation.

Besides, 'toxic' has become a legal term rather than a question of relatives. A former governor of my state phrased it this way: "'Toxic' is a matter of statute, not opinion." But in addition to reading the instructions, one of the most important things is to not experiment with mixing other chemicals into it. My guess is that if you were to acidify it that it would release large amounts of sulfide gases.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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