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Author: Subject: H2S intoxication
Klute
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[*] posted on 15-5-2008 at 12:12


I guess there was a part of the panic when I realized I was poisoined, but it's the pronouced symptoms that got me worried. I have already suffered panic attacks under hallucinogens, been in a severe car accident and had a friend die of an overdose in my arms, and most lately deeply cut my left hand open, all situations were panic get hold of you, and this definatively wasn't just a panic attack, there was a very strong "sickening" side to it, i really felt poisoned, and not far from fainting (blurred vision, getting very light colors, about to trip), while I have never fainted in my life before. The irritations of the mouth, nose and lungs wasn't psycological either.

the fact the symptoms quickly diminished after adminitering the nitrite, while I was actual even more anxious after, because I was scared it would cause even more bad effect in case of a bad dosage, leaves me no doubt.

I obviously don't deny the strong hand shaking and the increased heart beat was at least in part du to the panic, but the hand shaking is one of the first things that made me feel something was going wrong, not the other way around.




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[*] posted on 15-5-2008 at 22:07


"That has certainly happened to me after I thought I had been overexposed to something. However, the symptoms of the "panic attack" disappear within an hour. His symptoms did not. "
The symptoms of H2S poisononing seemed to disapear in seconds.
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[*] posted on 16-5-2008 at 04:53


Um, no they didn't. They disappered easily 30min after exposure, once the nitrite was administred. They effectively called down once I was outside and got fresh air, 5min after I felt like I wasnt' going to faint after all. But, beleive me, things didn'yt just wear off from that point on.

In any case, no matter how much I type, I will not be able to fully describ the feeling it was. the description of hands shaking during a panic attack and during an intoxication are exactly the same when writen down, but as are the description of feeling relaxed, be it after a massage or after smoking a joint, while the feeligns are totally different. If, from what I wrote, you consider this to be a simple panic attack, well, too bad. If one day your are exposed to this gas, something I sincerely hope will never happen, you will be able to see the feeling it is by yourself. I will be able to judge then.

in any case, I just don't want this to make you, or anyone else for that matter, beleive that you can get away easily with H2S, and that you have time to smell it, feel a little dizzy, then go away. Just don't take the chance. I will never know what would have happened if I hadn't administered the nitrite, perhaps things would have calmed down after 15min, perhaps not. take it the way you want, but be carefull.




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[*] posted on 16-5-2008 at 06:38


Quote:
Originally posted by MagicJigPipe
Why do you fear KF? Apparently, it is no more toxic than KBr and not much more than KI. Are you afraid of it's hygroscopy that forms semi-corrosive solutions?

[Edited on 5-15-2008 by MagicJigPipe]

KF is actually very toxic. Maybe even more toxic than NaF (the solubility of NaF is way below the KF solubility), although the MSDS do not say KF is more toxic. Ofcourse, this is when you ingest it, wich is highly unlikely. But comparing KF to KBr is a bit odd.

Oxford MSDS states KF as 'Harmful'. I guess they do that, because there hasn't been much research on KF toxicity. As you can see on other MSDS, when not much data is available, they will call a substance 'Harmful'.

And KBr is quite harmless, maybe a little more toxic than KCl of KI. I once read a full research project focussing on bromide and bromate toxicity. KBr was only harmful in large dosis.

[Edited on 16-5-2008 by Jor]
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[*] posted on 16-5-2008 at 11:32


Fluorides are only harmful in "large" doses as well (over 1 gram), apparently. Bromides produce CNS effects and, in larger doses (a few grams) can cause coma and sometimes death. After reading about it's pharmacology I learned that it's half-life is 4-6 weeks, which, in theory, would pose a significant accumulation risk if you work around it often (apparently it is still used to treat siezures and rarely as a sedative).

I just think it would take a rather large mishap to be killed or even harmed with fluoride salts (excluding chemical reactions). I wonder how much fluoride is in a tube of toothpaste? Enough to kill someone if they ate it? I doubt it but who knows...

[Edited on 5-16-2008 by MagicJigPipe]




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[*] posted on 16-5-2008 at 15:07


I said:
Quote:

At times I have contemplated making a small amount of KF and KCN. Probababy due to unfamiliarity I fear them more than H2S.


I agree that KF per se, while a poison, is not what concerns me. It is the possible breathing of HF vapors, or getting HF solutions on my skin, during the synthesis of KF that I fear. Also, once you have the KF and/or KCN then you have the burden of safe storage to make sure that it never inadvertantly comes in contact with acid. This could be especially troublesome if you weren't aware that it had happened.
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[*] posted on 16-5-2008 at 15:51


Especially if you're one of the unlucky ones who can't smell HCN.



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[*] posted on 28-10-2008 at 05:45


I have a rat-problem, _now_. And poison does not come into account, because of the stinking and rotting cadavers in the holes !
The rat(s ?) are under a 2-ton brickwall-waste, and their "home" has at least maybe 4-5 visible entrances. Now I heavily think of what to do ...
because it's also a indoor-problem !


[Edited on 28-10-2008 by chief]
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[*] posted on 28-10-2008 at 06:30


I don't know about you guys, but these two surprised me:

http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/reprint/16/3/1066.pdf

and

http://www.jhu.edu/~gazette/2008/27oct08/27hydrogen.html

sparky (~_~)




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[*] posted on 20-11-2008 at 01:48


ive made HCN and got a small dose of it. very simular to what klute explained
for H2S.

was not fun thats for sure.

was very early in my chem days that I did this.

I was trying to make sodium cyanide by reacting ferrocyanide with H2SO4 then
bubbling the HCN gas into NaOH.

all was going well till the time I opened the reaction flask for clean up.

I would only do these type of reactions with a full breathing apiratice now and
a good fume hood as well.

even then I would be very carefull.

does┬┤nt lead acetate work as an indicator for H2S ;)




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[*] posted on 25-1-2009 at 05:22


I don't mind the dangers of chemistry, especially not them of poisenous gasses,
but during my experimenting with H2S in a closed room and bad smell of rotten eggs, I've not encountered numbing of senses or
scary intoxication symptoms and the procedure was a stinky 12 hours experimental of producing HI.

Another interesting part, though it doesn't belong into this thread (can't find the one about Zn/Acid reduction), is, to bubble H2S through the post reaction mix.

There should be a ZnS percipitate be formed and fall out of solution and the acid and product regained. I've read this in an old patent.
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[*] posted on 25-1-2009 at 05:49


Quote:
Originally posted by oxide
I don't mind the dangers of chemistry, especially not them of poisenous gasses,


That kind of complacency is often terminal.
Get real!
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[*] posted on 30-1-2009 at 21:14


When I was a kid (back in the late 1970s) I had one of those Thomas Salter chemistry sets. One of the experiments involved making a couple of "measures" of FeS (the "measure" was a little spoon with a bowl around 5 mm across) from the elements, then grinding it up and heating it with sodium bisulphate. Presumably the amount made was tiny, but it seems weird that a kid's chemistry set told you how to make something more toxic, dose for dose, than HCN.



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[*] posted on 25-11-2009 at 13:32


I know this is an old thread, but after my experience earlier this week (2 days ago), I feel like I have to share.

As mentioned earlier, thioacetamide has supplanted H2S gas for qualitative analysis in teaching labs almost exclusively due to safety issues, however, H2S can still be generated by subsequent steps. I work as a lab assistant for university teaching labs, and outside of my regular duties I was asked to run through an experiment (cation identification) to see how long it would take, so that the experiment could be run during normal lab hours for undergraduate students.

So normally, Pb2+ and Cu2+ (amongst others, only Pb/Cu were present as sulfides) get precipitated as sulfides when H2S gas is bubbled through a solution, or, when thioacetamide is added and the solution is heated in a boiling water bath. Because the procedure was simply too long, a modification was made (not my decision, requested by professor) and I ran through the experiment again.

The modification was to simply omit Cu2+ from the known (control) and unknown solutions given, however because the thioacetamide solution volume being added wasn't reduced, there was a large excess. The thioacetamide precipitated what remaining lead there was, however due to the excess, and slight acidity in the solution, H2S gas was generated when not expected.

Normally the procedure requires the thioacetamide precipitation of sulfides, followed by centrifugation, then separation. The precipitate is acidified, releasing H2S, and freeing the cations in question (this is done in the fume hood). Once the heating is complete and the solution has cooled (also done in a fume hood), there is no chance of thioacetamide producing H2S gas.

In the modification, the large excess of thioacetamide solution, and slight acidity from a previous step generated enough H2S to deaden my sense of smell, I stopped the experiment and threw everything into the fume hood when I realized this about 1-3 minutes after I noticed my sense of smell had been deadened, and it was faintly 'sweet'. The lab tech had a few fragrant items around (coffee, perfume, etc), none of which I could smell. I started to feel dizzy, and weak, and my hands were only slightly shaky, however knowing the hazards of H2S, She and I went down to health services who checked my blood pressure, heart rhythm, breathing, etc.

I remained for observation and was not sent to the hospital because I did not exhibit symptoms of acute exposure, mainly, no heart arrhythmia, bronchiospasms, no visible irritation of any mucous membranes (eyes, nose, throat), and my heart rate + blood pressure were in normal ranges. After about an hour, my symptoms began to improve, and my heart rate + blood pressure dropped slightly. The doctor suspects that a fair bit of anxiety had to do with the increased heart rate and blood pressure, but since no signs of a large dosage occured (namely due to no heart arrythmia), she wasn't terribly worried.

------------------
Epilogue:
Granted, my exposure was not as extreme as Klutes to warrant a hasty NaNO2 injection, however I did exhibit similar (but not as pronounced) symptoms. I'm surprised at how little it actually takes.

To give some perspective, I used 0.5mL of a 1M solution (0.5mMol) in a large lab with 4 fume hoods at one side of the room drawing air out. Now assuming that about 0.1mMol (according to the original procedure) of Pb2+ was present in the original mixture, after precipitating most as PbCl2, and approximately 0.3mMol Cu2+, that would mean the experiment was designed with a slight excess of thioacetamide in mind, but removing Cu2+ resulted in most of the thioacetamide slowly hydrolyzing in water to H2S over time.

Edit for clarity: I was working at the benches, not in the hoods. The students that might have ended up running this experiment would have been at the benches. Imagine 24 first year undergraduates generating H2S in that quantity.

Two days later and I'm completely fine, I did have a headache for the rest of the day and felt 'drained'. After a good nights sleep however I am feeling well.

My advice is to treat *any* sulfide, or sulfide source with extreme respect. In a 'relatively' confined space, my ~0.3mMol H2S was enough to make me feel bad enough to have to go seek medical attention. Always have your H2S steps planned out where you won't have exposure to them until the sulfides are removed (precipitation or reaction with acid).

[Edited on 25-11-2009 by aonomus]
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entropy51
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[*] posted on 25-11-2009 at 16:45


Quote:
I was asked to run through an experiment (cation identification) to see how long it would take, so that the experiment could be run during normal lab hours for undergraduate students
Was this a test tube scale experiment? How much H2S could you have made, worst case?
Quote:
I started to feel dizzy, and weak, and my hands were only slightly shaky, however knowing the hazards of H2S, She and I went down to health services who checked my blood pressure, heart rhythm, breathing, etc.
You walked to student health? Patients with H2S poisoning are horizontal, not vertical and walking.
Quote:
I remained for observation and was not sent to the hospital because I did not exhibit symptoms of acute exposure
That's right, going wee wee in your pants doesn't count.
Quote:
The doctor suspects that a fair bit of anxiety had to do with the increased heart rate and blood pressure
Yup. Fear does that to some people.
Quote:
I'm surprised at how little it actually takes
Get a grip, man. It's H2S, not sarin. If you're awake enough to be worried about it, just go out into the fresh air. I've seen that work, even for people who'd lost consciousness.
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[*] posted on 25-11-2009 at 17:10


Test tube scale experiment.

No need to be quite so point-by-point snippy though. This has been my first accident beyond things that don't matter... well... ever. Figures it had to be H2S. Different people probably also have different threshold levels for showing symptoms like that.
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entropy51
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[*] posted on 25-11-2009 at 17:34


Quote:
Figures it had to be H2S.
WTF. Apparently nobody but anonomus thinks that there was even anything wrong, let alone that it was due to H2S. And you tell us that you're surprised at how little it actually takes? In your case, apparently negligible amounts are adequate.

Test tube scale, in a room with hoods exhausting the room air, even if you were on the bench. How much H2S do you think you could possibly been exposed to? If you had been shut up in a little closet, I might think, well maybe, but not under these conditions.

But at least you didn't go nuts and start giving yourself "antidotes".
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[*] posted on 25-11-2009 at 21:44


I have debated the wisdom of writing my experience into this thread, in case it somehow instils people with a sense of invunerability, however as it is evident people do work with this gas i will share my technique for working with it in a manner that allows one to be safer than one would be otherwise.
It goes without saying that a fumehood venting to somewhere that the gas can be infinitely diluted (ie the atmosphere) is ideal. I understand this is something that is not possible for all people wanting to experiment with this gas.

As you can smell the gas at safe working levels this gives it an inbuilt detection system, in case of leaks. I believe gas masks for working with this gas can actually lead to complacency at times. I firmly believe Klute would have discovered and fixed his leak well before anything untoward had occurred had he not been wearing it. As a fall back, having one slung over ones head, is a sensible approach. The gas however is not toxic enough to kill you instantly, unless you happen to breath it in completely undiluted, which is unlikely, unless you are an idiot.

But the catch is you stop smelling the gas at higher levels, so to circumvent this i kept a small stoppered testtube in my labcoat pocket with some Fes and hcl in it, i would take this out probably every other minute and ensure that by wafting it i could smell it, thus establishing that background level was lower than what is toxic.

If you do encounter the circumstance where you have stopped smelling the gas, put the mask on, calmly, then take your detergent/water solution in a spray bottle(prepared), and spray all the joints on your setup to establish where the leak is, fix it. Then take your 1% NaOH solution in a spray bottle (prepared and ready) and spray the entire contents in to the room, this will take about 5 minutes and your wrist will cramp. Exit the room, shutting the door, relax somewhere until you can smell your little tube again. Re-enter the room, its unlikely you will smell anything, take your little tube out, waft it, you should be able to smell it, continue.
If you cannot, replace your mask, repeat the previous step until you can.

My setup was thorough enough that i never encountered a leak i could smell, people should ensure that after they have setup their glass, they throughly test it for leaks using compressed air/n2/blowing through it, a small spray of detergent in water over each joint will display bubbles in the case of a leak. Finally the exit stream from your glass should bubble through enough caustic solution to neutralise ten times the amount of gas you are expecting.

I also had a nitrite solution, dosed, syringed and ready, an ex-junkie mate ran me through how to find a vein etc and i practised on some silicon tubing, taped onto my forearm, it was fun, not really that easy when you only have one hand. Probably a bit of overkill but it was harmless.

Finally i feel it entirely ridiculous that anyone should belittle or demean efforts of those who are simply attempting to be careful or are concerned regarding their own health or that of others. Legitimate comment could easily be made, if ones feels it warranted in a manner that does belittle and leaves the thread open and inviting for others to comment.

Thank-you for your post Aonomus (i spelt it correctly), i really don't understand the motives behind the aggressive responses you seem to have generated.

There with these few comments taken in you are ready to prepare dimethyl mercury under the bed in your dorm room. Good Luck!!!

Edit-Many of us here have much practical experience with bench setups using gases, if anyone is trying new things and wants a look over the setup they are considering just sketch a quick crappy, but well labeled diagram and post it here, there are many small things that can be problematic if one is inexperienced, likewise there are many ways of simply doing the same thing.



[Edited on 26-11-2009 by Panache]




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[*] posted on 25-11-2009 at 22:14


Thanks for your response Panache, my only attempt was to voice my concern that once you stop smelling the gas, you don't know how much you are getting dosed, even if it was a 'small' amount. Perhaps my calculations were wrong and somehow I got dosed with more.

I know I was only working on the test tube scale, and not generating H2S as a reagent, but this is an example of how a tiny bit can take you by surprise even for someone that has done more hazardous and complex procedures. I myself was a little complacent, but at least I quickly realized what was happening and left the area.

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[*] posted on 28-11-2009 at 13:24


I will say it once more, because I don't want people to believe that they can rescue themselves from a serious intoxication with H2S.

Free medical advice

If you are intoxicated seriously enough with H2S to need an antidote, you will be unconscious. You will not be able to treat yourself.

Corollary: If you are able to think about injecting yourself with an "antidote", let alone really inject yourself, you are not, repeat not, seriously intoxicated enough to need an antidote. Just quickly move to fresh air. If you are able to walk, that's all you need, fresh air.

The real deal

Sodium nitrite is an antidote for HCN, not H2S. There is no evidence that sodium nitrite is effective in treating H2S intoxication. It has been tried, out of desperation, but it doesn't work. An IV injection of NaNO2 itself can be lethal, especially in untrained hands.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2009 at 13:24


Entropy51: if that is the case, it is rather surprising that, during World War/Whore 2, from about 1940 to until the death camps were liberated by the Allies in late 1944 and early 1945, the Nazis did not think of using H2S, generated by acid hydrolysis of a metal sulfide, in their gas chambers at Auschwitz and elsewhere to kill Jews and other political prisoners, instead of using HCN generated from hydrolysis of Zyklon B. H2S would have been even more deadly, and with much less possibility of any antidote. Also, I wonder if any of the Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz etc., and people in the Polish Resistance outside trying to help them, tried to obtain and smuggle NaNO2 into the camp.
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[*] posted on 29-11-2009 at 14:03


H2S wasnt considered that scarry until the over-reaction to chremicals in the last decade or so - I remember making it was part of my school lab and kids chemistry set also. FDor that reason alone I dont believe it ever entered the Nazis head.

But the whole thing was actually carefully engineered - its not easy to kill 3500 a day - ten train loads of people. With gas time of 30mins they needed a gas which could be cleared in 20mins so the workers could get in and haul the bodies to the crematorium, with the chamber ready again in 2hrs. Hence giant fans started working after 30mins exposure. The human nose is so sensitive to H2S that it would have been impossible to get the air clean, ready for the next lot, as if nothing had happened. The whole camp would have reeked of H2S, sulphur covered the walls, the next set of victims would be hard set to convince theyre about to take a shower.

As for NaNO2 antidote - 30 minutes is a huge overdose - this salt is quite toxic, and designed to be taken in after exposure ceased, I dont believe the human body can run as a reagent vessel taking in cyanide in the lungs, being oxidized by continuos injection of the nitrite ion. Having said that, the single digit people who survived the gassing were shot.
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[*] posted on 4-11-2011 at 14:39


I realize this thread is old. I just wanted to add that I worked with a chemistry set in the 1960's and production of H2S was not considered any big deal. In fact I used to do it every so often to make "stink bombs". I'm not saying this to discount any of the real dangers, but I wonder why there were not more serious incidents before people became so sensitive to safety, ie prior to the 1970's or so.

I recall a chem professor of mine in 1963 (this was in a class on qualitative analysis) saying that H2S was very poisonous but it smelled so bad that no one had ever been known to have been killed by it.




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[*] posted on 4-11-2011 at 16:01


Quote: Originally posted by annaandherdad  
I realize this thread is old. I just wanted to add that I worked with a chemistry set in the 1960's and production of H2S was not considered any big deal. In fact I used to do it every so often to make "stink bombs". I'm not saying this to discount any of the real dangers, but I wonder why there were not more serious incidents before people became so sensitive to safety, ie prior to the 1970's or so.

I recall a chem professor of mine in 1963 (this was in a class on qualitative analysis) saying that H2S was very poisonous but it smelled so bad that no one had ever been known to have been killed by it.


Indeed. Its not like HCN that the smell may go unnoticed, or even worse, like phosgene, which the smell may go unnoticed, with delayed symptoms, increasing the risk of a fatal poisoning.
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[*] posted on 4-11-2011 at 16:25


I do not mean to downplay how scary of an experience it was for Klute, but his symptoms sound like those of a panic attack. I've experienced a few bad ones before and I have never experienced anything so unpleasant and terrifying since. It's very different from a typical bout of severe anxiety ("I'm panicking because I'm completely screwed!"). Instead of the anxiety stemming from an external trigger, it's internal - one freaks out over the symptoms of anxiety. Of course this leads to symptoms worsening exponentially to shocking extremes, including heart rates as high as 180bpm with skipped beats, pins and needles all over the body, muscle spasms causing facial muscles to clench and hands to pull back to a right angle, pale blue color to the skin, and of course a sense of complete TERROR and total conviction that death is imminent, that something is very wrong, that such extreme symptoms could not possibly be the result of simple anxiety... I say this because once a doctor told me it was panic, and not a heart attack, I never had a repeat experience anywhere near as severe. I would not wish it on anyone.



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