Health Risks Associated with H2S in Landfill Gas

H2S Removal from Landfill Gas

Health Risks Associated with H2S in Landfill Gas

February 9, 2024
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Any landfill, big or small, produces a range of non-toxic and toxic classes, including H2S, or hydrogen sulfide. While hydrogen sulfide may occur in some natural processes, excess exposure to H2S poses inherent health risks. Understanding some of the most prevalent health risks associated with H2S in landfill gas can help mitigate exposure and potential long-term effects.


Health Risks Associated With H2S in Landfill Gas


  • Respiratory Responses: Respiratory issues are extremely common with immediate and prolonged exposure to H2S in landfills. Coughing, sneezing, and even noted shortness of breath may occur when repeated exposure to H2S.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Gastrointestinal responses to H2S exposure typically occur in locations with a high concentration of H2S. In these instances, exposed individuals will likely feel a general sense of malaise, while those with serious reactions may feel extremely nauseous or may vomit as a response.
  • Eye Irritation: Experiencing discomfort, watery eyes, itchy eyes, burning, and excessive redness may occur in areas where the concentration of H2S is higher than normal.
  • Cognitive Impairment: When exposed to H2S for an extended time or whenever you're surrounded by a high concentration of H2S, cognitive impairment is likely. In some cases, overexposure to H2S can lead to a total loss of consciousness or a coma and death.
  • Chronic and Long-Term Health Issues: Repeated long-term exposure to H2S can lead to overall reduced lung function, chronic gastrointestinal issues, and even recurring headaches.


Concentration vs. Symptoms When Exposed to H2S


Acute exposure to H2S in landfills may not cause any symptoms. The following chart indicates potential symptoms and side effects that may present themselves in individuals who are exposed to a particular concentration of H2S for an extended time:


Concentration (PPM) Symptoms and Potential Side Effects
0.00011-0.00033 Common measurement of H2S in environments
0.01-1.5 First detection of sulfur-like (rotten egg) smell
2-5 Extended exposure may cause headaches, watery eyes, and even nausea or indigestion issues.
20 Extended or chronic fatigue is present, and increased anxiety, irritability, memory loss, and even a loss of appetite may present.
50-100 1 day of prolonged exposure may lead to respiratory irritation, infections, and even conjunctivitis formation.
100 Loss of smell may rapidly occur (between 2 and 15 minutes in rota) along with extremely irritated eyes and a scratching cough.
100-150 A noted loss of complete smell is common. This is often classified as olfactory paralysis or, in some cases, olfactory fatigue, depending on surrounding factors and contributors to the condition.
200-300 Just 1 hour of exposure will lead to intense respiratory infections and conjunctivitis. In serious cases, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience pulmonary edema at this level of exposure.
500-700 In 30 minutes, serious and, in some cases, permanent eye damage may occur. Collapsing may occur in less than 5 minutes.
700-1000 A loss of consciousness is likely to occur with just one to two inhales and exhales of surrounding air.
1000-2000 Instantaneous death

Remove H2S From Any Landfill With MV Technologies


Are you interested in learning more about H2S reduction and removal systems that may be right for your landfill or next project? Are you determined to reduce emissions and abide by regulations in your industry? We can help. When you contact MV Technologies, our engineers will work with you to devise a plan of action for the removal of H2S from your landfill as quickly and effectively as possible.

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