Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

What Does Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Mean?

Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic, highly flammable, gas that occurs in synthetic compound mixtures derived from petroleum oil and natural gas resources; it also appears as a byproduct in the decomposition of organic matter, characterized by a pungent odor. Given its atmospheric density, hydrogen sulfide is apt to settle in underground repositories such as basements, mine shafts, and sewage lines, where the mass concentration grade to exposure can be lethal.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

Many industrial fields that include oil and gas, mining, pulp/paper processing, and rayon textile plants carry hazardous risks to employees where overexposure due to frequent inhalation of hydrogen sulfide can lead to detrimental health concerns. The severity of cases associated with hydrogen sulfide toxicity reflects the ambient concentration levels in which individuals can experience a host of symptoms ranging from coughing spells, irritation to mucous membranes (i.e., eyes, nose, throat), headaches, and nausea/vomiting. In some instances, workplace environments with a high concentration index of hydrogen sulfide can lead to convulsions, shock, and respiratory failure, often an incidental factor compounded by employees who may suffer from cardiorespiratory conditions, for example, asthma.

Employers should enlist a specialist to gauge the quality of air to determine if hydrogen sulfide concentration levels exceed the norm, underscoring the incidence rate for a fire or explosion within the area of the facility. Since companies are obligated to protect their workforce, the installation of ventilation system units can help disperse hydrogen sulfide contaminants while, reciprocally, filtering out clean air to meet standards in maintaining a safe workplace environment. If technical applications fail to remove hydrogen sulfide composites, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a viable option; for example, a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is a required device where the proportion of noxious fumes to respirable air is low.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


WellnessErgonomicsHealth and SafetyWorkplace HealthEmploymentLegalWorker Health Monitoring

Trending Articles

Go back to top