Introduction to Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is a toxic gas with a pungent, irritating, and rotten smell. It is released in various industrial processes and also naturally through volcanic eruptions. Fossil fuels and mineral ores often contain sulfur compounds and their combustion generates Sulfur Dioxide. The emission of Sulfur Dioxide is a major air pollutant, with the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere influencing the habitat suitability for plant communities and animal life. However, Sulfur can be removed from coal and fuel during the burning process to prevent the formation of Sulfur Dioxide.
Exposure to high concentrations of Sulfur Dioxide can be life threatening. Inhaling the toxic gas is associated with increased respiratory symptoms and disease, difficulty in breathing, and premature death. People working in industries where Sulfur Dioxide is produced and those who live near industrial sources are exposed on a regular basis. It is essential to have proper monitoring at all times to ensure the safety of the workers and the neighborhood surrounding the industry.
When present in high concentrations, Sulfur Dioxide may produce these symptoms:
- Eye, nose, throat irritation
- Rhinorrhea (discharge of thin nasal mucus)
When researching SO2 gas detection solutions, facility managers should be aware of the following SO2 exposure limits:
|5 ppm TWA||OSHA PEL (General Industry)|
|5 ppm TWA||OSHA PEL (Construction Industry)|
|5 ppm TWA||OSHA PEL (Maritime)|
|0.5 ppm STEL||ACGIH TLV|
|2 ppm TWA; 5 ppm STEL||NIOSH REL|
|100 ppm||NIOSH IDLH|