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Invisible Killers Among Us

Mention gas leak to someone and the first thing they will likely do is sniff the air. While propane and natural gas both have a distinctive odor many toxic and combustible gases are odorless, tasteless and colorless requiring gas leak detection equipment in order to identify their presence. Properly functioning detection equipment can “sniff” low levels of corrosive, toxic and combustible gases before they become a hazard.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide results from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as propane, butane, charcoal, gasoline and other flammable materials, but it is also produced, in low levels, through animal metabolism. It is an odorless, tasteless gas present to some degree just about everywhere. In poorly ventilated areas, gas leak detection equipment can often detectambient levels far below what could result in dangerous blood level concentrations.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can resemble the flu or fatigue leaving many victims unaware of their exposure to an environmental contaminant. For this reason, it is important industrial, manufacturing and commercial locations, with fuel-burning equipment in or around confined or enclosed spaces, have some way of monitoring carbon monoxide levels. Many safety equipment suppliers offer a gas leak detection system for sale suitable for various applications.

Methane

Methane is another dangerous gas prevalent in the environment. Although nontoxic, methane is extremely flammable and concentrations of this odorless and colorless gas can be explosive in the presence of air. As a primary component of natural gas, methane is abundant on Earth and a popular source for fuel.

Many people are unaware of common biological sources of methane. Methane is a byproduct of the anaerobic fermentation of organic materials. Stockyards and dairies with piles of rotting manure, solid waste treatment facilities and landfills are examples of prime locations for the generation of methane as a biogas. Gas leak detection equipment in these facilities can help identify dangerous concentrations of methane that could lead to spontaneous combustion or explosion.

Carbon Dioxide

Most everyone knows humans produce carbon dioxide through respiration, and that it is the gas responsible for the bubbles in soda, beer and sparkling wines, so it is difficult to think of it as potentially toxic. However, with a density 60% greater than air, carbon dioxide can pool in lethal concentrations.

Similar to methane, carbon dioxide is a byproduct of fermentation, but aerobic fermentation of sugars in this case. Commercial breweries and wineries use yeast to ferment hundreds of gallons of wort and juice into beer and wine. When emptied, the fermentation vessels can contain dangerous levels of the gas even if allowed to remain open before workers go in to clean them. Although odorless in normal environments, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide cause a stinging or fizzing sensation in the nose. Despite this, gas leak detection equipment should be used wherever concentrations of carbon dioxide are suspected.

Detection is Prevention

These are only a few of the more common, potentially hazardous gases prevalent in our environment. There are a great number of other potentially hazardous gases utilized in or resulting from manufacturing and industrial applications. Gas leak detection equipment can prevent dangerous conditions that can disrupt production or cause significant injury or death to workers. Manufacturing and Industrial safety personnel should look for a gas leak detection system for sale that addresses their specific needs.