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Hazards and Leakage Disposal of Sulfur Dioxide

Date: Jan 06, 2023

Sulfur dioxide is a colorless gas, has a strong pungent smell, the main way to invade the human body is absorbed through the respiratory tract.

After sulfur dioxide enters the human body, it first acts with water on the respiratory mucosal surface to produce sulfite, and then it is oxidized to produce sulfuric acid. Thus, sulfur dioxide has a strong stimulatory effect on the respiratory mucosa.

Experiments show that sulfur dioxide will massive accumulated in the trachea after absorbed through the respiratory tract, followed by the lung, hilar lymph nodes and esophagus, and less in the liver, spleen. 

The deep respiratory tract and lung tissue will damaged if inhalation of a large amount of sulfur dioxide, severe cases will cause pulmonary congestion, pulmonary edema, or reflex laryngeal spasm and suffocation.

In addition, sulfur dioxide can also combine with thiamine in the blood, further affecting the production of enzymes,which could causedisorders in the metabolism of sugar and protein in the blood, and causing degenerative changes in brain, liver, spleen and other tissues.

Long-term exposure to low concentrations of sulfur dioxide may cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue, or cause chronic rhinitis, pharyngitis, and bronchitis, resulting in decreased sense of smell and taste. A small number of people also will suffer from dental erosion.

Rescuers must wear filter gas masks (full face masks) or isolated respirators when extinguishing fire caused by sulfur dioxide, and full-body fireproof and anti-virus clothing is necessary. Rescuers should stand upwind, cut off the gas source and spray water to cool the container. If possible, move the container from the fire site to an open place.

When the sulfur dioxide leakage accident occurs, irrelevant personnel should quickly evacuate the scene instead of watching.

Personnel in the polluted area should quickly evacuate to the upwind place, and immediately take isolation measures to strictly restrict irrelevant personnel from entering and leaving the polluted area.

Rescuers should wear self-contained positive pressure respirators and anti-virus clothing, enter the scene from upwind, cut off the source of leakage as much as possible, and cover the sewer near the leakage point with industrial coverings or adsorbents to prevent pollutants from entering. Reasonable ventilation accelerates the diffusion of sulfur dioxide, and dilutes it with sprayed water, and builds embankments or digs pits to contain a large amount of waste water generated. If possible, use a catcher to make sulfur dioxide pass through the sodium hypochlorite solution; properly handle the leaking container, and use it after repair and inspection.

Operators who are in direct contact with sulfur dioxide during the operation must undergo special training and strictly follow the operating procedures. Operators should wear self-priming filter gas mask (full cover), polyethylene gas suit and rubber gloves. Sulfur dioxide should be stored in a cool and ventilated warehouse, away from fire and heat sources, and should be stored separately from flammable (combustible) materials, oxidants, reducing agents, food chemicals, etc., and mixed storage should not be avoided. The storage temperature should not exceed 30 degrees Celsius. The warehouse should be equipped with leakage emergency treatment equipment.

Skin contact: Take off contaminated clothing immediately, rinse with plenty of running water and seek medical attention.

Eye contact: Rinse with running water or normal saline and seek medical attention.

Inhalation: Quickly leave the scene to fresh air. Keep airway open. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. If not breathing, give artificial respiration and seek medical attention immediately.

Handling Precautions: Adequate local exhaust and general ventilation must be provided. Operators must undergo special training and strictly abide by the operating procedures. It is recommended that the operator wear a self-priming filter gas mask (full face mask), wear polyethylene protective clothing, wear rubber gloves, keep away from flammable and combustible materials, and prevent gas from leaking into the workplace air. Avoid contact with oxidizing agents and reducing agents. When transporting, load and unload lightly to prevent damage to cylinders and accessories. Equipped with leakage emergency treatment equipment.

Precautions for storage: Store in a cool, ventilated warehouse. Keep away from fire and heat sources. Storage temperature should not exceed 30°C. It should be stored separately from flammable (combustible) materials, oxidants, reducing agents, and edible chemicals, and should not be stored together. The storage area should be equipped with leakage emergency treatment equipment.

Disposal method of waste gas: Put the waste gas into the soda ash solution, add calcium hypochlorite to neutralize it, and then flush it into the waste water system with water.

Engineering Controls: Adequate local exhaust and general ventilation must be provided. Provide safety showers and eyewash facilities.

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