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topic 5621

Is Liver of Sulphur Toxic?


I want to patina some metal-punched copper panels with Liver of Sulphur [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], but someone told me the stuff is HIGHLY TOXIC. I've read a few things on the substance and don't find mention of that fact anywhere. Can anyone offer a few words of advice?

Stacy Trimble
- Santa Barbara, California

1 of 2 simultaneous responses (2000)

Dear Stacy'

It is not the liver of sulphate that is toxic , it is the gas that is produced (in very small amounts) when dissolving it in water. The H2S Gas is 10 times more toxic then HCN but I do not think there is a great risk, because of the very strong smell of H2S ( It smells like eggs that have become bad, in fact it is the same stuff that make the eggs smell). If you use liver of sulphate work in a well ventilated area, there should be no problem. Best regards Marcus

Marcus Hahn
- Sachseln Switzerland

2 of 2 simultaneous responses (2000)

Liver of Sulfur (potassium sulfide) will, in the presence of acid, generate hydrogen sulfide. This gas IS highly toxic, so you need to use caution. You also must avoid contact with this stuff unless you want to smell like rotten eggs.

James Totter
James Totter, CEF
- Tallahassee, Florida


I am interested in a more detailed description of the toxicity of Liver of sulphate. How much does it take to get what amount of exposure and under what conditions? What kind of protection is necessary? Exactly how does it affect the body? I will be dipping copper lamp parts into a bath of it for about 3 hours every 3 weeks. There is an exhaust system, and I would be wearing protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and a respirator. Is this enough?

Leslie S.
- Seattle, Washington, USA


You can get an MSDS (material safety data sheet) on this. I don't want to put a specific URL here because website come and websites go, while letters stay on line a long time, but type "sulfurated potash MSDS" into a general search engine, and you'll find it easy enough, Leslie.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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