Biological Effects of Short, High-Level Exposure to Gases: Sulfur Dioxide.
Phase rept. May 79-May 80,
ENVIRO CONTROL INC ROCKVILLE MD
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This report presents an analysis and synthesis of the available literature concerned with possible health effects of exposures to sulfur dioxide. The U.S. Army is concerned with short, high-level exposures to sulfur dioxide that may exceed present threshold limit values of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists 5 ppm, 13 mgcu m as a time-weighted average. The organ systems primarily affected by exposure to sulfur dioxide are the respiratory tract and the eyes. Certain neurologic effects including suppression of dark adaptation and decreased light sensitivity are of unknown significance and warrant further study. Below about 5 ppm, there are no significant irritant or pulmonary effects. Between 5 and 8 ppm 13 and 20.8 mgcu m, most people will experience coughing, moderate irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and bronchoconstriction. At about 10 ppm 26 mgcu m, moderate to severe eye irritation, copious lacrimation, and nasal and chest irritation will occur. At 20 to 30 ppm 52 to 78 mgcu m, intense lacrimation, respiratory tract irritation, bronchoconstriction, epistaxis, sneezing, coughing, and hemoptysis may occur. With nasal breathing, about 99 of inspired sulfur dioxide is absorbed by the nasal mucosa and only 1 penetrates the lower airways. With mouth breathing, the effects of sulfur dioxide at a given concentration may be intensified.