Methane Gas poisoning/fried eggs 
Author Message
 Methane Gas poisoning/fried eggs

A friend has been working around methane gas in high concentrations.  I'm
concerned that he has methane gas poisioning.  Can anyone out there give
me a brief list of the symptoms?

Also, he heard that eating fried eggs will help to alleviate some of the
symptoms.  Is this true, or is this simply an old wives tale?

Any response would be greatly appreciated.



Tue, 24 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT
 Methane Gas poisoning/fried eggs

Quote:
Giri) writes:

>A friend has been working around methane gas in high concentrations.
I'm
>concerned that he has methane gas poisioning.  Can anyone out there
give
>me a brief list of the symptoms?

>Also, he heard that eating fried eggs will help to alleviate some of
the
>symptoms.  Is this true, or is this simply an old wives tale?

>Any response would be greatly appreciated.

Comment: methane isn't poisonous!  You can suffocated in it, as with
any gas that isn't oxygen, but short of that it won't poison you.  You
could breathe it at 80% concentration all the time, if you had to.  All
you'd have to worry about would be the explosion hazard.

                                          Steve Harris, M.D.

P.S.  Methane is odorless, but methyl mercaptan (CH3SH) is added to
commercial sourses to help identify leaks.  So far as I know, this gas
is not poisonous either at the very low concentrations that you'd get
with any realistic concentrations of methane.  This gas would be
poisonous if breathed in higher concentrations, but that would require
VERY special circumstances.

                                               S.H.



Wed, 25 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT
 Methane Gas poisoning/fried eggs


Quote:

>Comment: methane isn't poisonous!  You can suffocated in it, as with
>any gas that isn't oxygen, but short of that it won't poison you.  You
>could breathe it at 80% concentration all the time, if you had to.  All
>you'd have to worry about would be the explosion hazard.

Just a little trivia here.....  At 80% concentration, you wouldn't have to
worry about the explosion hazard either.....  There wouldn't be enough
oxygen to form an explosive mixture.....  (Actually, 80% CH4, 20% O2 might
be explosive, but 80% CH4 20% air is WAY too high of a concentration of
methane to be explosive.  I believe the highest explosive concentration in
air is somewhere around 14%  Problem is, in a natural environment, if you
have and 80% mixture of gas and air, as you move away from the center of
the mixture, SOMEWHERE the concentration will be just perfect for an
explosion.  But in a confined space, the concentrations have to be
chosen very carefully, or the methane will just extinguish a flame, believe
it or not.)

Quote:
>P.S.  Methane is odorless, but methyl mercaptan (CH3SH) is added to
>commercial sourses to help identify leaks.  So far as I know, this gas
>is not poisonous either at the very low concentrations that you'd get
>with any realistic concentrations of methane.  This gas would be
>poisonous if breathed in higher concentrations, but that would require
>VERY special circumstances.

One of the reasons that methyl mercaptan was chosen as the oderant for
natural gas is because it is one of the strongest smelling chemical compounds
known to man.  If you were to spill 1/10 of a ml (about 1 drop) of methyl
mercaptan in your home, the smell would be strong enough to make it
uninhabitable for quite a while, while it aired out.  Mercaptan is actually
a volatile liquid at room temperature, and the strong smell of natural gas
comes merely from the vapors which mix with the methane.

I bet the cause of death from methyl mercaptan poisoning would be gagging to
death.....  :)

-Bret Wood



Thu, 26 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT
 Methane Gas poisoning/fried eggs

Quote:
>  One of the reasons that methyl mercaptan was chosen as the
> oderant for
>   natural gas is because it is one of the strongest smelling
> chemical compounds
>   known to man.  If you were to spill 1/10 of a ml (about 1 drop)
> of methyl
>   mercaptan in your home, the smell would be strong enough to
> make it
>   uninhabitable for quite a while, while it aired out.  Mercaptan

I was a student at the University of Wisconsin biochemistry department in
the 1950's.  One winter's day, a senior professor decided to have a
cleanout of his lab. There were sundry old bottles of mercaptans that had
been used as experimental chemicals by students now graduated.  So Prof
Johnson tipped them all, one by one, into a handy sink, and ran a bit of
water on top.  What he forgot was that the drain lines of the entire
building were interconnected.  There were small sinks in every office,
for some historic reason.  Now, every sink has a small u-trap in the
pipe, which when filled with water is intended to prevent smells from
coming back up.  But many of these sinks had not been used for years, and
the U-traps were dry.  So the mercaptan fumes filled the entire building.

Result: the fastest building evacuation ever recorded.  We all rushed out
into the frigid Wisconsin winter weather without even bothering to put on
coats.  From memory, someone volunteered to re-enter the building while
wearing a gas mask, then he or she ran water into every sink in every
room.  We were able to go back in after a couple of hours.


Christchurch, New Zealand



Wed, 04 Mar 1998 03:00:00 GMT
 
 [ 4 post ] 

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