Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) is a gas that is commonly encountered when natural gas and crude oil are manufactured or during the drilling process. H2S is additionally found in sewers, wastewater treatment plants and utility facilities. The microbial degradation of organic materials in the absence of oxygen produces the gas.
Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable, highly dangerous and colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs. H2S is also called a “knock down gas,” because instant loss of consciousness or even death can result from the inhalation of high concentrations of the gas.
Prolonged exposure to lower concentrations, for example, 10-500 ppm, can result in several respiratory conditions that vary from rhinitis to severe respiratory failure.
H2S has several names, for example, manure gas, swamp gas, stink damp and sewer gas. It is naturally found in hot springs, crude petroleum and natural gas. Hydrogen sulfide is produced when the bacteria of human/animal wastes (such as sewage) or organic materials are broken down.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified that the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) to H2S gas were as follows:
H2S gas builds in low-lying areas of spaces that are poorly ventilated and is heavier than the air it resides in. When in the presence of moisture and air, in gas and oil applications, sour gas (products including H2S gas) can create sulfuric acid, which has the ability to corrode metals.
The equipment of a facility, including the internal surfaces of many components, faces decreased impact strength and durability, which can potentially result in early failure.
Image Credit: Ion Science
Several industries can be vulnerable to hydrogen sulfide, for example, it is utilized in the manufacture of textiles. Some examples of colleagues in danger of hydrogen sulfide exposure include the below:
Within these markets, the use of hydrogen sulfide for material fabrication is also especially dangerous for workers who operate in restricted spaces. For example:
As a fast-acting poison, hydrogen sulfide can impact multiple bodily systems. Wearable VOC gas detectors are crucial for early alerts and detection, as the senses of the body are not trustworthy indicators.
Gas detectors, such as the Ion Science Ara H2S detector, should be crucially explored as they notify live monitoring colleagues of worker H2S gas exposure with their built-in alert system.
Equipment with rugged construction and fast response time are crucial for use in challenging applications where H2S may be found. As H2S in high concentrations can bring about unconsciousness almost instantly and causes the worker to become desensitized, connected personal monitoring equipment is vital.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Ion Science.
For more information on this source, please visit Ion Science.
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