Cinnaminson, NJ, July 7th, 2016
Methane (CH4) is a colorless, odorless and extremely flammable gas that can be explosive when mixed with air. It is a primary component of natural gas and is a major greenhouse gas. It is used to make ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen and methanol.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, human-related sources of methane include emissions from burning fossil fuels (such as coal, gasoline, natural gas and oil). These emissions can come from vehicles; fuel-burning equipment; operations on oil and gas fields; the processing, storage, and transport of natural gas; and the generation of electricity at coal-fired power plants. Hydraulic fracturing can also emit methane and it is released from coal deposits during underground and surface mining.
Other sources of methane include the decomposition of waste in open dumps and landfills. Methane can be emitted from the digestive processes of domesticated livestock, be produced during the decomposition of animal waste and be released through liquid manure management systems. It can also be produced when manure is deposited on crop fields or pastures as fertilizer. Processes during wastewater treatment can emit methane, as can some of the sludge produced.
Methane in its gas form is an asphyxiant, which in high concentrations may displace a person’s oxygen supply, especially in confined spaces. Decreased oxygen can cause suffocation and loss of consciousness. It can also cause headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting and loss of coordination.
“People are exposed to low levels of methane by breathing outdoor air, but some may be exposed to much higher levels than others,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Those who live by or work in an oil or gas field, coal mine, farm, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, coal-fired power plant, hydraulic fracturing operation or a facility that uses methane to manufacture other chemicals could be exposed to significantly greater levels.”
Working to identify exposure risks to methane, hydrocarbons and other airborne pollutants is EMSL Analytical. They offer advanced testing services and all of the sampling supplies required. EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about methane exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/0JXpOEFGkBg.
To learn more about methane testing or other air quality, occupational, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.