Aspirin (chemical formula: C₉H₈O₄), also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is an odourless white crystal or powder. It has a slight bitter taste and does not mix well with water. It is soluble in alcohol and chloroform, but less soluble in ether.
Aspirin is used as a non-prescription medication (unless administered intravenously, to animals or at high doses) used to relieve pain, inflammation and reduce fever. Aspirin can be taken by individuals on a long term basis to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Administered soon after a heart attack, it reduces the chance of death.
The routes of exposure for aspirin include; inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact.
Inhalation of aspirin can cause inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system. Persons with existing conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, circulatory or nervous system damage or kidney damage, may incur further damage if inhaled. Asthmatics may be at increased risk of rhinitis and severe (and possibly fatal) bronchospasm and dyspnoea.
Ingestion of aspirin may be harmful with animal experiments expecting ingestion of 150g to cause death or serious damage to human health. Ingestion of large doses can cause; mild burning in the throat and stomach, vomiting, anorexia, thirst and diarrhoea. High doses are also poisonous to the liver, with symptoms including nausea, stomach pains, low fever, dark urine, jaundice, loss of appetite and clay-coloured stools. It is common to experience severe sensory disturbances such as deafness and dimness of vision. Death is due to respiratory failure or cardiovascular collapse.
When exposed to skin, aspirin can produce irritation, inflammation, redness, swelling, blistering and scaling. It may also worsen any pre-existing dermatitis conditions. Entry into the bloodstream through open cuts and wounds may also lead to other harmful effects.
Animal experiments suggest that eye contact with aspirin may cause severe ocular lesions that can remain for at least a day after the exposure. Direct eye contact is painful and may cause chemical burns and scarring.
If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and keep them warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Transport to hospital without delay.
If swallowed, seek medical attention without delay as urgent hospital treatment is likely to be needed. Induce vomiting if medical attention is more than 15 minutes away, with fingers down the back of the throat. Lean the patient forward or placed on their left side to maintain open airways and prevent aspiration.
If skin exposure occurs, immediately remove all contaminated clothing and footwear and flush the affected area with plenty of running water and soap. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation.
If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water for at least 15 minutes, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should only be done by a skilled individual. Transport to hospital without delay.
Emergency eyewash fountains and safety showers should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical. There should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants (install local exhaust if necessary).
The PPE recommended when handling aspirin includes; chemical goggles, full face shields, dust respirators, rubber or PVC gloves, protective shoe covers, head coverings, protective suits, and safety boots.
Refer to your SDS for aspirin for a complete guide on how you should properly handle this chemical. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our chemicals management solutions.