Sewer gas is certainly an unpleasant smell that many of us are familiar with, often resembling the stench of rotten eggs. While it may seem like nothing more than a nuisance, prolonged exposure to sewage odor can actually be quite harmful to your health.
What Is Sewer Gas Made Of?
Sewage gas is a mixture of both toxic and nontoxic gases. Depending on the source, concentration levels of sewage gas vary. Sewer gas can contain the following:
- Carbon dioxide
- Nitrous oxide
- Sulfur dioxide
Highly toxic components of sewer gas can sometimes include hydrogen sulfide and ammonia as well. Hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs. However, without these chemicals present, most people are not aware of their exposure, as methane and carbon monoxide are odorless.
How Can Sewer Gas Be Harmful?
Exposure to sewer gas can result in the following symptoms:
However, there are also other health risks that can occur from sewer gas exposure. People can suffer hydrogen sulfide poisoning as well as suffocation.
- Hydrogen sulfide poisoning: This can cause eye and respiratory irritation. Other symptoms can include nausea, nervousness, dizziness, and drowsiness. High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide can cause loss of consciousness and death.
- Suffocation: Suffocation can occur when there is a high concentration of methane in an enclosed area. This decreases the amount of oxygen and can lead to an inability to breathe properly.
When your home is exposed to sewer gas, not only is your space contaminated but you are faced with health risks. If you experience any symptoms of sewer gas exposure, it’s important to see a doctor and to hire a plumber to help resolve this issue.
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