followed by convulsive seizure and profound weakness of the extremities and
secondary infection of the lungs.
(2) Hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas with the foul odor of rotten eggs that is
flammable and highly toxic, is used as an industrial chemical. It is encountered in
mining, especially where sulfide ores are found; in excavating in swampy or filled
ground, and sometimes in wells, caissons, and tunnels; in natural gases and in sewer
gases. By far the greatest danger from the inhalation of hydrogen sulfide is from its
acute effects. Concentrations of 700 PPM and above may result in acute poisoning.
Although the gas is an irritant, the systemic effects from the absorption of hydrogen
sulfide into the blood stream exceed that which is readily oxidized. Systemic poisoning
results, with a general action on the nervous system. Hyperpnea occurs shortly, and
respiratory paralysis may follow immediately. This condition may be reached without
warning as the originally detected odor of hydrogen sulfide may have disappeared.
Unless the victim is removed to fresh air within a very few minutes and breathing is
stimulated or induced by artificial respiration, death occurs.
Section III. ORGANIC SOLVENT HAZARDS
The most widespread, and some of the most dangerous, occupational hazards
are created by liquid chemicals, such as solvents. These chemicals may present
hazards from the use of the liquid itself, as a vapor of the liquid, or as a mist of the
liquid. The vast majority of liquid chemicals found in the industrial workplace are
organic compounds. The organic compounds are those that contain carbon. They are
found in plant and animal tissues and in materials, such as petroleum and coal, which
result from the breakdown of living substances. Lubricants, solvents, fuel, and many
insecticides are but a few of the many hundred of different compounds in use, and new
ones are constantly being produced. These chemicals are used in the course of most
industrial-type jobs, as well as being commonly found in the home. Because of their
widespread use and their harmful properties, the organic compounds present significant
military occupational hazards.
2-11. SOURCES OF EXPOSURE
It would be virtually impossible to list all the possible occupations or industrial
type operations in which exposure to liquid chemicals occur, since so many occupations
or industrial processes use these chemicals in one way or another. However, a few
typical military exposures will be discussed, and others are listed in Appendix B.
a. Liquid Chemicals. There are many military situations in which individuals
are exposed to a potentially hazardous organic compound in liquid form. Many different
solvents and fuels are used in military operations. Vehicle and weapons maintenance