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Sewer Gas

Last updated: July 4, 2017

What Does Sewer Gas Mean?

Sewer gas generally refers to a mixture of toxic and nontoxic gases produced by the decomposition of organic household or industrial waste. The mixture can include methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxides.

Sewer gas is also used as a synonym for hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas which is colorless and highly flammable. Hydrogen sulfide is recognizable by its rotten egg odor.

Safeopedia Explains Sewer Gas

Hydrogen sulfide is produced naturally from decaying organic matter and also from certain industrial activities such as petroleum refining and hot-asphalt paving.

Exposure to hydrogen sulfide, even in low concentrations, can cause the eyes, nose, or throat to become irritated. It may also cause difficulty breathing for some asthmatics. Health effects from exposures to concentrations of hydrogen sulfide greater than 500 parts per million (ppm) include headaches, poor attention span, poor memory and motor function, loss of consciousness and possibly death.

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