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Hydrogen Sulfide

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Snapshot: This is the main organizing page for information and research related to hydrogen sulfide in Public Lab. Please see links to wiki pages, research notes, and questions for further information.

Table of contents

What is hydrogen sulfide, what are its effects, and where is it found?

Hydrogen sulfide, with the chemical formula H2S, is a flammable gas that has a pungent odor at low concentrations and is odorless at higher concentrations. It can be a respiratory irritant and a neurotoxin. For more information about hydrogen sulfide health effects, please see: https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-sulfide-effects.

Hydrogen sulfide is naturally formed in low-oxygen conditions with sulfate present, such as in organic-rich sediments and thus in petrochemical source rocks. Upon exposure to oxygen, hydrogen sulfide readily oxidizes to sulfur dioxide or sulfate, and generally reacts within hours to days. For information about hydrogen sulfide sources and spatial and temporal variation, please see: https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-sulfide-environment

How are hydrogen sulfide emissions and exposures regulated?

In the United States, hydrogen sulfide emissions are only federally regulated to the extent that they contribute to sulfur dioxide formation, and thus acid rain. These emissions are regulated through the Prevention of Significant Deterioration of major stationary sources review and permitting. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide is mostly regulated in terms of occupational exposure, with very few states regulating ambient exposure to this toxin. For detailed information of environmental and occupational hydrogen sulfide regulations, please see: https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-sulfide-regulations

How can hydrogen sulfide be measured?

Hydrogen sulfide can be measured through a variety of means. While there is no federal regulatory method for hydrogen sulfide, agencies often measure hydrogen sulfide emissions through continuous sampling of gaseous emissions, and measure hydrogen sulfide workplace exposure through air grab samples chemically processed and discerned through gas chromatography. For routine monitoring, there are several hydrogen sulfide passive samplers that utilize color-changing oxidation-reduction reactions. For more information about laboratory, commercially available, and DIY hydrogen sulfide measurement methods, please see: https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-sulfide-detection

There are three low-cost hydrogen sulfide detection methods currently being explored by Public Lab community members. These include a silver halide photo paper method, a copper rod method, and an anodic stripping voltammetry method.

What work is being conducted in Public Lab regarding hydrogen sulfide?

To see all of the latest work relating to hydrogen sulfide by the Public Lab community, please see https://publiclab.org/tag/hydrogen-sulfide. You can subscribe to this tag to get email notifications when new work is posted to the website.

Here are some recent research notes:

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What are health and environmental concerns for sewage smell in a home? @stevie over 2 years ago 3
[Talk Recording] Mobilizing People to Act on Air Pollution with the Bucket Air Monitor - a Community Science Tool @amocorro about 3 years ago 1
Response to Alternative Copper Sheet Preparation Method on Public Lab @ErikHanley11 about 6 years ago 0
Qualitative Time Lapse of Copper Corrosion @ErikHanley11 about 6 years ago 4
Two Rounds of Copper Rod Test Making @ErikHanley11 about 6 years ago 3
Copper Strip Test Preparation Using Solvents @ErikHanley11 about 6 years ago 1
Copper Rod to Copper Sheet Discussion @ErikHanley11 about 6 years ago 0
Can Bio-char products absorb CAFO gases like Hydrogen Sulfide or Ammonia? @zengirl2 about 6 years ago 3
Is there more information on the "Corrosion Coupon" hydrogen sulfide test kit? @warren over 6 years ago 0
What lab tests are available for hydrogen sulfide, and how much do they cost? @warren over 6 years ago 4
How to Help Citizens Affected by Factory Farming? #waterquality #airquality #CAFO #factoryfarms @zengirl2 over 6 years ago 0
What are some options for copper materials to make a copper plate test kit? @warren over 6 years ago 3
Help collect environmental sensors + probes on a shared list @warren over 6 years ago 0
What are different commercially available hydrogen sulfide detection methods? @warren over 6 years ago 3
Can you use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for prepping copper for Hydrogen Sulfide test? @zengirl2 over 6 years ago 16
How to select a site for hydrogen sulfide testing? @warren over 6 years ago 3
How can we safely try out and evaluate a hydrogen sulfide test? @warren over 6 years ago 4
Training in odor identification? @sara over 6 years ago 1
What's the best setup for a copper rod or copper plate test for DIY hydrogen sulfide detection? @warren over 6 years ago 6
Can copper sulfide and copper oxide products be precisely visually identified? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 5
How quickly do copper sulfide and copper oxide form under different environmental conditions? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 0
What is the hydrogen sulfide concentration range that can be monitored using a copper tarnish method? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 1
Copper Sheet Hydrogen Sulfide Detection Activity @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 14
Effective low-cost water filters to remove hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 2

To learn about activities you can do to test out hydrogen sulfide detection methods or use these tools in the field, please see: https://publiclab.org/tag/activity:hydrogen-sulfide.

Questions regarding hydrogen sulfide can be found at https://publiclab.org/questions/hydrogen-sulfide.

Please add your own here:

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What are health and environmental concerns for sewage smell in a home? @stevie over 2 years ago 3
Is there more information on the "Corrosion Coupon" hydrogen sulfide test kit? @warren over 6 years ago 0
What lab tests are available for hydrogen sulfide, and how much do they cost? @warren over 6 years ago 4
What are different commercially available hydrogen sulfide detection methods? @warren over 6 years ago 3
Does your state have air quality standards for hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 0
Are there occupational exposure rules limiting exposure to hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 1
Are there air quality standards for hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 1
How to select a site for hydrogen sulfide testing? @warren over 6 years ago 3
How can we safely try out and evaluate a hydrogen sulfide test? @warren over 6 years ago 4
What's the best setup for a copper rod or copper plate test for DIY hydrogen sulfide detection? @warren over 6 years ago 6
Can we determine hydrogen sulfide concentration, or a threshold presence/absence using the copper pipe method? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 0
What is the hydrogen sulfide concentration range that can be monitored using a copper tarnish method? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 1
Effective low-cost water filters to remove hydrogen sulfide? @gretchengehrke over 6 years ago 2
What methods are available for doing air grab samples for hydrogen sulfide? @stevie over 6 years ago 2
What are the relative rates of hydrogen sulfide oxidation in ambient air? @gretchengehrke almost 7 years ago 1

Where can I find more information?

Two particularly good resources are listed below. Other hydrogen sulfide wiki pages (mentioned above) include additional relevant resources.

  1. Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. 2016. Hydrogen Sulfide Fact Sheet. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp114-c1-b.pdf.

  2. National Research Council. 2010. Acute Exposure Guidelines. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-11/documents/hydrogen_sulfide_final_volume9_2010.pdf.