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Hydrogen Sulfide fact sheet

Hydrogen Sulfide fact sheet

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Published by: darrd2010 on Dec 25, 2012
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Contact with liquid hydrogen sulfide causesfrostbite. If clothing becomes wet with theliquid, avoid ignition sources, remove theclothing and isolate it in a safe area to allowthe liquid to evaporate.
Health effects of H
2
S exposure
Hydrogen sulfide is both an irritant and achemical asphyxiant with effects on bothoxygen utilization and the central nervoussystem.Its health effects can vary dependingon the level and duration of exposure.Repeated exposure can result in health effectsoccurring at levels that were previously toler-ated without any effect.Low concentrations irritate the eyes, nose,throat and respiratory system (e.g., burning/ tearing of eyes, cough, shortness of breath).Asthmatics may experience breathing difficul-ties. The effects can be delayed for severalhours, or sometimes several days, whenworking in low-level concentrations. Repeatedor prolonged exposures may cause eyeinflammation, headache, fatigue, irritability,insomnia, digestive disturbances and weightloss.Moderate concentrations can cause moresevere eye and respiratory irritation (includingcoughing, difficulty breathing, accumulationof fluid in the lungs), headache, dizziness,nausea, vomiting, staggering and excitability.
Hazardous properties of H
2
S gas
Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air and maytravel along the ground. It collects in low-lyingand enclosed, poorly-ventilated areas such asbasements, manholes, sewer lines, under-ground telephone vaults and manure pits.For work within confined spaces, use appro-priate procedures for identifying hazards,monitoring and entering confined spaces.The primary route of exposure is inhalationand the gas is rapidly absorbed by the lungs.Absorption through the skin is minimal.People can smell the “rotten egg” odor ofhydrogen sulfide at low concentrations in air.However, with continuous low-level expo-sure, or at high concentrations, a personloses his/her ability to smell the gas eventhough it is still present (olfactory fatigue).This can happen very rapidly and at highconcentrations, the ability to smell the gascan be lost instantaneously. Therefore,
DONOT
rely on your sense of smell to indicatethe continuing presence of hydrogen sulfideor to warn of hazardous concentrations.In addition, hydrogen sulfide is a highly flam-mable gas and gas/air mixtures can be explo-sive. It may travel to sources of ignition andflash back. If ignited, the gas burns to pro-duce toxic vapors and gases, such as sulfurdioxide.
Fact
Sheet
Hydrogen Sulfide (H
2
S)
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, extremely hazardous gas with a “rot-ten egg” smell. Some common names for the gas include sewer gas, stink damp,swamp gas and manure gas. It occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas,and hot springs. In addition, hydrogen sulfide is produced by bacterial break-down of organic materials and human and animal wastes (e.g., sewage).Industrial activities that can produce the gas include petroleum/natural gasdrilling and refining, wastewater treatment, coke ovens, tanneries, and kraftpaper mills. Hydrogen sulfide can also exist as a liquid compressed gas.

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