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Author: Subject: Very dizzy after melting sulfur - what happened?
Draeger
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 09:36
Very dizzy after melting sulfur - what happened?


So, I just melted less than a gram of sulfur. It all went well, it didn't start burning or something. Suddenly I got very dizzy, so I stopped and left the room.

What was it? Could it have been hydrogen sulfide? I did smell rotten eggs faintly, but the smell didn't suddenly disappear.




Collected elements:
Al, Cu, Ga, C (coal), S, Zn

Collected compounds:

Inorganic:
NaOH; NaHCO3; MnCl2; MnCO3; CuSO4; FeSO4; aq. 30-33% HCl; aq. NaClO; aq. 9,5% ammonia; aq. 94-96% H2SO4; aq. 3% H2O2

Organic:
citric acid, sodium acetate, sodium citrate, petroleum
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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 09:38


As far as I know, you get numbed to hydrogen sulfide odor very quickly so there could be a possibility for that.

Quote:

0.00047 ppm or 0.47 ppb is the odor threshold, the point at which 50% of a human panel can detect the presence of an odor without being able to identify it.

At 100–150 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger.


[Edited on 29-7-2020 by Fyndium]
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Draeger
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 09:42


Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium  
As far as I know, you get numbed to hydrogen sulfide odor very quickly so there could be a possibility for that.

I didn't get numbed, though, so I guess that means it was in a safe concentration?

Maybe it was just nocebo. I had thought of the possibility of dissolved H2S before I started, and once I smelt it my body might have just decided to hallucinate.




Collected elements:
Al, Cu, Ga, C (coal), S, Zn

Collected compounds:

Inorganic:
NaOH; NaHCO3; MnCl2; MnCO3; CuSO4; FeSO4; aq. 30-33% HCl; aq. NaClO; aq. 9,5% ammonia; aq. 94-96% H2SO4; aq. 3% H2O2

Organic:
citric acid, sodium acetate, sodium citrate, petroleum
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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 11:42


Quote: Originally posted by Draeger  

I didn't get numbed, though, so I guess that means it was in a safe concentration?


Could you smell hydrogen sulfide the whole time? How long did you feel you could smell it for? Dizziness is a symptom of exposure to hydrogen sulfide. Did you get any nausea, head ache, watery eyes or other symptoms? Any issues sleeping following the exposure? These are all symptoms of exposure, but they are usually experienced at concentrations orders of magnitude higher than what is perceived as a faint odour.
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Draeger
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 12:07


Quote: Originally posted by B(a)P  
Quote: Originally posted by Draeger  

I didn't get numbed, though, so I guess that means it was in a safe concentration?


Could you smell hydrogen sulfide the whole time? How long did you feel you could smell it for? Dizziness is a symptom of exposure to hydrogen sulfide. Did you get any nausea, head ache, watery eyes or other symptoms? Any issues sleeping following the exposure? These are all symptoms of exposure, but they are usually experienced at concentrations orders of magnitude higher than what is perceived as a faint odour.

I guess I did get exposed to a high amount then, since I had all of those symptoms. Weird is that I smelt it all the time, and it really wasn't strong, but noticeable. Can there really be so much H2S dissolved in sub-gram quantities?




Collected elements:
Al, Cu, Ga, C (coal), S, Zn

Collected compounds:

Inorganic:
NaOH; NaHCO3; MnCl2; MnCO3; CuSO4; FeSO4; aq. 30-33% HCl; aq. NaClO; aq. 9,5% ammonia; aq. 94-96% H2SO4; aq. 3% H2O2

Organic:
citric acid, sodium acetate, sodium citrate, petroleum
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Fyndium
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 12:09


It could also be a coincidence. I have experienced dizziness, headache and other common symptoms many times, but I doubt they never actually were caused by exposure to toxic fumes. I even got myself carbon monoxide meter when I used a large gas burner indoors, but it went off only once and that was when the gas burner choked because of me messing with it.

Sometimes I just forgot to eat and drink and I was working hours and hours in not-so-well ventilated area and standing and walking around all the time. The enthusiasm just takes over sometimes and it can manifest itself this way.
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Draeger
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 12:38


Is there any H2S indicator I could make with the compounds in my signature?



Collected elements:
Al, Cu, Ga, C (coal), S, Zn

Collected compounds:

Inorganic:
NaOH; NaHCO3; MnCl2; MnCO3; CuSO4; FeSO4; aq. 30-33% HCl; aq. NaClO; aq. 9,5% ammonia; aq. 94-96% H2SO4; aq. 3% H2O2

Organic:
citric acid, sodium acetate, sodium citrate, petroleum
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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 13:24


Check out the copper sheet method
https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-sulfide-detection

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Draeger
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 13:59


Quote: Originally posted by B(a)P  
Check out the copper sheet method
https://publiclab.org/wiki/hydrogen-sulfide-detection


I guess copper powder on a piece of tape would also work?




Collected elements:
Al, Cu, Ga, C (coal), S, Zn

Collected compounds:

Inorganic:
NaOH; NaHCO3; MnCl2; MnCO3; CuSO4; FeSO4; aq. 30-33% HCl; aq. NaClO; aq. 9,5% ammonia; aq. 94-96% H2SO4; aq. 3% H2O2

Organic:
citric acid, sodium acetate, sodium citrate, petroleum
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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 14:18


The effect might even be more pronounced with powdered copper. Certainly worth a try.

[Edited on 29-7-2020 by B(a)P]
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OldNubbins
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[*] posted on 29-7-2020 at 17:18


Quote: Originally posted by Draeger  

I didn't get numbed, though, so I guess that means it was in a safe concentration?


Not numbed as in a tingling numbness, numbed as in you don't smell it or, like you stated, doesn't seem as strong. If you experienced most of the stated symptoms, I'd say you were exposed to more than just a little.
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outer_limits
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 00:26


H2S is very toxic. If you can smell it you never know what is the actual concentration. It's not like HCl gas when you run away coughing like hell and having running eyes.



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unionised
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 02:16


Copper will burn in sulphur vapour, if you are heating sulphur some will evaporate, the copper will blacken whether there's hydrogen sulphide or not.

The traditional method for detecting H2S was paper dipped in lead acetate solution. Lead's toxic so this might not be readily available.
I wonder if
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismuth_subsalicylate
would do the same with less of a toxicity issue.
(It may well be equally toxic, but people are less scared of it)


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Tsjerk
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 02:47


Lead is easily dissolved in acetic acid with a bit of H2O2. I guess for the purpose of acting as sulfide indicator a bit (or a lot) of tin wouldn't interfere, so 40/60 lead tin solder should work I guess.

But I wonder, why would sulfur be reduced to sulfide under oxidative conditions? Googling "sulfur dioxide dizziness" gives me 10 million hits.
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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 02:56


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Googling "sulfur dioxide dizziness" gives me 10 million hits.


What do you mean by this?
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Tsjerk
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 03:35


I mean sulfur dioxide causes dizziness.

https://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/1759.pdf

Sulfur heated in atmosphere forms sulfur dioxide, not hydrogen sulfide.
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outer_limits
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 03:46


Draeger mentioned a smell of rotten eggs, so it's quite characteristic for H2S



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B(a)P
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 03:48


Surely the respiratory irritation would be noticed well before the dizziness though so SO2?
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Herr Haber
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[*] posted on 30-7-2020 at 06:49


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  


But I wonder, why would sulfur be reduced to sulfide under oxidative conditions? Googling "sulfur dioxide dizziness" gives me 10 million hits.


YES !
Draeger, did your nose at some point tingle ? Just as if you were about to sneeze ?

That could be the hint of some of your sulfur burning and your dizziness.
But even then, this is a very small quantity you were melting and it would have actually started to burn before there could be any "dangerous" amount of SO2.
I dont know the word "nocebo" you used but if it means it was mostly in your head yes, I agree.

Melting sulphur is fun. I have very good memories of pouring it in water, making beads etc.

You dont really need to do this inside though.
I probably used an alcohol lamp. With a candle too much soot can contaminate your sulphur.




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