Hydrochloric acid is used in the rubber, photographic, textile and electroplating industries, and is used to manufacture dyes, chlorides and fertilizers. The chlorides produced from hydrochloric acid are used for the cleaning and pickling of metal items, as a solvent and catalyst in organic syntheses, to remove scale from boilers and to refine ore when producing tantalum and tin.
Hydrochloric acid is nonflammable and colorless, and can come in the form of a gas or aqueous solution. It is corrosive to the mucus membranes, eyes and skin and can cause chest pains, inflammation, coughing and other harmful health conditions if inhaled. When ingested, hydrochloric acid can cause damage to the stomach, mucus membranes and esophagus, which can result in diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.