Hydrogen Sulfide Sensing
In September of 2011, Public Laboratory members, met with residents of Garfield County, Colorado to discuss the growing hydrogen sulfide problem in their small, rural community. Recently, the community organized to take a gaseous grab sample from one resident’s kitchen sink. Analysis of the grab sample showed hydrogen sulfide levels of more than 185 times above the long-term exposure level recommended by the EPA. The family, in which the son developed painful skin lesions and other symptoms coincident with this exposure, was forced to abandon the house. They are seeking legal assistance, but so far, neighboring gas development companies have denied association with the families water contamination. In this extreme case, the regulatory authorities were not able to act to support exposed individuals. The grab sample, while able to capture one record of exposure, was costly (over $500) and had to be shipped to a lab in California within 24 hours in order to ensure the samples viability. The family did not hear results of the test for weeks, all the while continuing their exposure. There are large gaps in our public health system, particularly around environmental health issues associated with large scale industries like oil and gas. This instance is just one of many. Public Lab researchers are attempting to innovate novel community based approaches to environmental health problems like hydrogen sulfide, so that communities and workers may begin not only developing systems to track their exposure, but also generating data and evidence in order to scientifically validate their experiences.
If you are interested in helping develop hydrogen sulfide sensing, please contribute thoughts, comments and research notes on this page as well as join us on the Public Lab mailing list.
Currently in the early stages of development, research notes can be found at the links below. There are two different tracks, one utilizing an industrial sensor with an arduino board and the other utilizing photographic paper with silver halide based on research done on H2S at volcanoes.
Basic Information on Hydrogen Sulfide
[Hydrogen Sulfide Monitoring in Gas Patch: Background]9http://publiclaboratory.org/notes/sara/9-11-2011/hydrogen-sulfide-monitoring-gas-patch-background)
Arduino and Industrial H2S Sensor
[Arduino Patch for Detecting Hydrogen] Sulfide(http://publiclaboratory.org/notes/bha/9-11-2011/arduino-patch-detecting-hydrogen-sulfide)
Photographic Paper for H2S Sensing
This project is partially funded by a grant from the American Anthropology Association, Anthropology and Environment section