Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely toxic, colourless, flammable gas with a characteristic “rotten egg” smell when present in low concentrations. Hydrogen sulfide is a liquid when stored at low temperature or high pressure. It turns rapidly into a gas at room temperature and under normal pressure conditions.
Hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas, volcanic gases, and hot springs. It can also result from bacterial breakdown of organic matter, as well as being produced by human and animal wastes.
Hydrogen sulfide is used in processing many different types of products. For example, in the Pulp and Paper industry, it is used as a whitening agent for paper products. Hydrogen sulfide is also a by-product of petroleum production, and occurs naturally in crude oil. It may be present in petroleum production facilities or in petrochemical operations.
It may also be present at natural gas wells or in natural gas pipelines. Hydrogen sulfide may also be released during wastewater treatment and during landfill operations.
By implementing the safety guidelines in this guide, you can avoid injury and work safely with and around hydrogen sulfide.