Uric Acid

What is Uric Acid?

Uric acid (chemical formula: C5H4N4O3), is an odourless, tasteless crystalline powder. It is off-white in colour and does not mix well in water. Uric acid is soluble in glycerol, alkali hydroxide solutions, their carbonates, and sodium acetate and phosphate. Uric acid is present in the urine of all carnivores. 

What is Uric Acid used for?

Uric acid is created during the metabolic breakdown of substances called purines. The body naturally produces purines, however they are also found in many foods and drinks. Food and drink with a high purine content include tuna, alcohol, red meat, deli meats, poultry, oysters, liver and drinks containing high concentrations of sugar. 

High levels of uric acid within the body can lead to conditions such as gout, diabetes, kidney stones and other health issues. To prevent these conditions, a diet low in purine is recommended. Foods low in purine include low fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, bread, potatoes, coffee and most nuts. 

Gout develops when high levels of uric acid crystallises around the joints in the body
Gout develops when high levels of uric acid crystallises around the joints in the body

Uric Acid Hazards

The routes of exposure for uric acid include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of uric acid is not thought to cause any respiratory irritation, however good hygiene practices are recommended as systemic effects have been produced in animals following exposure by other routes of exposure. Persons with existing conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, circulatory or nervous system damage or kidney damage, may incur further damage if inhaled in high concentrations. 

Ingestion of uric acid may be harmful to the health of the individual. If high concentrations are ingested, it may be toxic to the kidneys.

Uric acid is not thought to be a skin irritant, however systemic harm may occur following entry into the bloodstream through open cuts or wounds. Good hygiene practices are always recommended in any case.

Eye exposure to uric acid may cause discomfort characterised by tearing and redness. Slight abrasive damage may also result.

Uric Acid Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area. Other measures are not usually necessary. 

If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting occurs anyways, ensure the patient is leaned forward or placed on their left side to prevent aspiration. Observe the patient carefully and have the patient rinse their mouth out and slowly drink water as much as they comfortably can. Seek medical attention.

If skin exposure occurs, flush the affected skin and hair with soap and running water. 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, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Contact lenses should only be removed by skilled personnel. Seek medical attention if pain persists.

Uric Acid Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains 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 uric acid includes, safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, dust respirators, PVC/rubber gloves, lab coats and overalls. Skin barrier and cleansing creams are also recommended in the event of skin contact.  

The SDS for uric acid will give you detailed information on the safe handling and use procedures to follow. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at sales@chemwatch.net for more information about our chemicals management solutions.