Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and health

h2s  Some reviews of the health hazards associated with H2S exposure and subsequent treatment include Milby and Baselt (1999a) and Guidotti (1996). Earlier reviews of the health effects were provided by Glass (1990), Reiffenstein et al. (1992), and Mehlman (1994).

  Exposure to H2S has been reported to be an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the workplace (Snyder et al., 1995) and olfactory dysfunction (Hirsch and Zavala, 1999). These reviews indicate that the typical “rotten-egg odor” of H2S is an inadequate warning indicator of exposure since levels in the range of 100-200 ppm (140-280 mg/m3) can lead to loss of smell followed by olfactory paralysis (Reiffenstein et al., 1992). These authors estimate the odorthreshold of H2S in the range of 3 to 20 ppb (0.004 to 0.03 mg/m3).



  • Glass, DC. (1990) A review of the health effects of hydrogen sulphide exposure. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 34: 323-327.
  • Guidotti, TL. (1996) Hydrogen sulfide. Occup. Med. 46(5): 367-371.
  • Hirsch, AR; Zavala, G. (1999) Long-term effect on the olfactory system of exposure to hydrogen sulphide. Occup. Environ. Med. 56: 284-287.
  • Mehlman, MA. (1994) Dangerous and cancer-causing properties of products and chemicals in the oil refining and petrochemical industry. Part VII: adverse health effects and toxic manifestations caused by exposure to hydrogen sulfide, a component of crude oil. In: Advances in Modern Environmental Toxicology, Vol XXIII. The identification and control of environmental and occupational diseases: hazards and risks of chemicals in the oil refining industry.
  • Milby, TH; Baselt, RC. (1999a) Health hazards of hydrogen sulfide: current status and future directions. Environ. Epidemiol. Toxicol. 1: 262-269.
  • Reiffenstein, RJ; Hulbert, WC; Roth, SH. (1992) Toxicology of hydrogen sulfide. Ann. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 109-134.
  • Snyder, JW; Safir, EF; Summerville, GP; et al. (1995) Occupational fatality and persistent neurological sequelae after mass exposure to hydrogen sulfide. Am. J. Emerg. Med. 13: 199-203

Source: extracted from TOXICOLOGICAL REVIEW OF HYDROGEN SULFIDE (CAS No. 7783-06-4) In Support of Summary Information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) June 2003 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez's Avatar

Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez

Carlos is the editor-chief of olores.org and has been in the odour world since 2001. Since then, Carlos has attended over 90 conferences in odour management, both national and international and authored a few papers on the subject. He has also organized a few international meetings and courses. Carlos owns a small company named Ambiente et Odora (AEO). He spends his free time with his wife and his twins, Laura and Daniel, and of course, writing on olores.org.