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Understanding Different Types of Toxic Gases
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The structures in your lungs where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxides are tiny, grape-like sacs called alveoli. The total surface area inside of all the 700 million alveoli is about 70 square meters.

That's about the same size as four-and-a-half parking spaces. The large surface area allows us to get all the oxygen we need when we breathe.

On the other hand, that is a massive area for toxic gases to get into our bodies. Read on to learn more about how different gases harm our bodies.

Working with Toxic Gases

Certain industries, such as chemical manufacturing and petroleum processing, deal with toxic chemicals and the potential for exposure to harmful gases in evident.

Many are invisible and odorless and can, therefore, go undetected.

However, we may also be exposed to dangerous gases in our own homes. It is best to inform ourselves about the possibles risks and how to minimize them.

Deadly Gases List

There may be countless kinds of chemicals that, when inhaled, can cause harm. Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, famously believed that any substance can be either harmless or deadly.

It all depends on the dose to which a person was exposed.

Here are some of the most important poisonous gases we may be exposed to.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

CO is believed to be one of the most common toxic gases on earth. It has no smell or color.

It is emitted from coal, gas, and diesel engines. That includes gas and oil appliances. Also, it is found in cigarette smoke and coal mines.

We're almost all exposed to it in some way but this can often lead to tragedy. For this reason, it's known as the "silent killer".

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CO2 is a natural byproduct of breathing; we all exhale it with every breath.

It can be dangerous in high concentrations, however. This can occur in poorly ventilated and crowded areas with low oxygen content.

Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)

This gas is often produced in petroleum processing, metal finishing, and other industries.

It is very irritating for the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Larger exposure can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, and death.

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

Produced by decaying material, hydrogen sulfide is sometimes called sewer gas. As you might expect, it smells like rotten eggs.

It can be found in higher concentrations in water treatment plants, sewers, landfills, and many other job sites.

Exposure can lead to asphyxiation and death.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) make up some of the most hazardous gases workers can be exposed to. They are found in many fuels and solvents, such as house cleaners.

They are both flammable and toxic. Even small exposures can cause severe irritation.

Caring for your Pulmonary Health

We need our lungs to live. Unfortunately, many of us take them for granted and we let ourselves be exposed to all types of toxic gases.

Inform yourself about the dangers of these gases and other dangers in the workplace. Trust the experts on analysis technology, check out this blog for more information about air and water safety.

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