Sunday, May 6, 2012


(Haiti Libre) -

Since Saturday, residents around the Thor oil terminal (Carrefour, south of the capital) are bothered by a smell similar to that of Propane, and some had trouble breathing. Alerted to this situation, R├ęginald Delva, the Secretary of State for Public Security, launched an appeal for calm to the population, indicating that the product causing the odor, Ethyl mercaptan (ethanethiol) is used in the preparation of propane [product which gives the smell of gas to help detect leaks], and is not dangerous... He indicated that this situation could continue for a few hours, and that inspectors from his office were on site to collect data...

Yvon Jerome, the mayor of Carrefour abounds in the same direction, and said that this gas does not endanger the safety of the population who normally could continue his business... He clarified that it was possible that this situation will persist for several days due to the high concentration of the odor in the area.

It is true that Ethyl Mercaptan, in trace amounts in the propane gas, poses no danger to human health or the environment. This may be different, if the Ethyl Mercaptan is in the air and the environment at higher concentrations. Pending a statement from the oil company [if it is involved], on the origin, and causes, the importance of this incident, and the level of concentration per m3 of air in the area, it is a little quick on the part of these representatives of the authority, to assert that there is no danger for the population. Without being alarmist, a minimum of precautionary advice, would not have been superfluous...

Note that a certain concentration of Ethyl Mercaptan is not only toxic but ecotoxic to aquatic organisms, and may cause long term damage to the environment. For humans, depending on the degree of air concentration and exposure time, this product may cause headache, nausea and a lack of coordination. In France, the permissible exposure limit is 0.5 ml/m³ while 0.002 ppm is enough to smell the Ethyl Mercaptan in ambient air.

No comments: