Air Monitoring of Sulfur Dioxide
Air Monitoring Applications - Petrochemical

Sulfur Dioxide

Petrochemical Applications main pageSulfur Dioxide (SO2) contamination in air results from industrial activities that burn coal and oil at power plants and copper smelting. It readily converts to other compounds such as sulfuric acid, sulfates and sulfur trioxide. It is easily recognized by its pungent “egg” smell. Exposure occurs from breathing in vapors or coming in contact with it in contaminated areas; this happens usually when working in industries that produce SO2 as a by-product, or for a manufacturer of paper products, sulfuric acid, food preservatives or fertilizers. In nature, it gets released into the atmosphere through volcanic eruptions.

More recently, contamination from sulfur-containing compounds (H2S, SO2, Sulfuric Acid, etc) has come to the forefront due to concerns with commercial and residential buildings where Chinese Drywall was installed in warm and humid climates.


Exposure Limits
Contaminant/
Agency
Exposure Limit
Sulfur Dioxide
OSHA (PEL) for General Industry: 5 ppm (13.0 mg/m³) TWA
for Construction Industry: 5 ppm (13.0 mg/m³) TWA
for Maritime: 5 ppm (13.0 mg/m³) TWA
ACGIH (TLV) 2 ppm, 5.2 mg/m³ TWA; 5 ppm, 13 mg/m³ STEL; Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen
NIOSH (REL) 2 ppm, 5 mg/m³ TWA; 5 ppm, 13 mg/m³ STEL
NIOSH (IDHL) 100 ppm
(TWA=Time-weighted average; TLV=Threshold Limit Value; STEL=Short-term Exposure Limit; PEL=Personal Exposure Limit, REL=Recommended Exposure Limit; IDHL=Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health Conc)

References
ASTDR ToxFAQs™ - Sulfur Dioxide (PDF)
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Sulfur Dioxide
International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Sulphur Dioxide

Air Sampling Media by Regulatory Method
Method Contaminants of Interest Sampling Media
OSHA 1011 Sulfur Dioxide Sorbent Tube w/Reservoir – Silver Nitrate Coated Silica Gel +
  Sodium Carbonate/Glycerol coated GFF, PUF, SGW Plugs (New)
Passive Sampling – Radiello HF/NO2/SO2 (RAD166)

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