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PPE Canary Mine Gases: Properties and Facts

Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Monoxide
Hydrogen
Hydrogen Sulfide
Oxygen
Methane
Nitrogen
Nitrogen Dioxide
Sulfur Dioxide

Conversion Tip:  Percent and PPM
Move the decimal point 4 places right or left.
Examples:
2% equals 20,000 PPM
1500 PPM equals 0.15%


Mine Gas Charts linked below
Coal     M/NM 

Mine Gas PowerPoint Presentations Mine Gas PowerPoint Presentations
Find additional information on Mine Gases in underground mines in these ready-to-use PowerPoint Presentations.
Adobe PDF Mine Gas Files Adobe PDF Mine Gas Documents
Find additional information on Mine Gases in underground mines in these Adobe PDF documents.
Mine Gases - The Collection Mine Gases - The Collection
Collection of 107 questions with answers on nine gases commonly present in undergound metal and nonmetal, and coal mines.  Each gas is also available as a PowerPoint Presentation.



Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon Dioxide is a natural component of air at approximately 0.03%.  It is also a key component of Black Damp, caused by biological oxidation such as rotting mine timbers.  Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide replace the oxygen content of the mine air thus producing a toxic atmosphere.
Specific Gravity:  1.529
Properties:
  • Colorless
  • Odorless
  • Heavier than air
  • Acidic taste at high concentrations
Health Effects:
  • At 5%, stimulated respiration.
  • At 7% to 10%, unconsciousness after a few minutes of exposure.
Limits:
  • Ceiling – 1.5%
  • IDLH – 50,000 PPM
Additional Resources


Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide results from incomplete combustion of organic carbon-based materials.  It is also an after-product of detonated explosives and diesel engines.  Carbon monoxide is highly toxic to the body.  When inhaled, CO quickly bonds with the body’s hemoglobin, thus reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Specific Gravity:  0.967
Properties:
  • Flammable
  • Colorless
  • Tasteless
  • Odorless
  • Lighter than air
Health Effects:

CONCENTRATION (PPM) PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT
200 Slight headache, tiredness, dizziness, nausea after 2 to 3 hrs.
400 Frontal headache within 1 to 2 hrs., life threatening after 3 hrs.
800 Dizziness, nausea and convulsions within 45 minutes.  Unconsciousness within 2 hours.  Death in 2 to 3 hours.
1,600 Headache, dizziness, nausea within 20 minutes.  Death within 1 hour.
3,200 Headache, dizziness, and nausea within 5 to 10 minutes.  Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 Headache, dizziness, and nausea within 1 to 2 minutes.  Death within 10 to 15 minutes.
Limits:
  • TLV – 50 PPM
  • Ceiling – 200 PPM
  • IDLH – 1500 PPM
Explosive Range:
  • 12.5% to 74%
Additional Resources


Hydrogen (H2)

Hydrogen is an extremely explosive gas that is commonly found in battery charging stations.  It can also be created when water is applied to super hot mine fires or from the incomplete combustion in explosions.  Adding strong acids to iron or steel can also release hydrogen into the atmosphere.
Specific Gravity:  0.0695
Properties:
  • Colorless
  • Odorless
  • Tasteless
  • Flammable
  • Explosive when exposed to heat or flame
  • Lighter than air
  • Needs 5% Oxygen to ignite
Health Effects:
  • Asphyxiant at high concentrations
Limits:
  • None established
Explosive Range:
  • 4.1% to 74%
  • Violent explosions when concentrations are over 7% to 8%
Additional Resources


Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely toxic gas.  It blocks the use of oxygen by the body’s cells.  It is produced when sulfur compounds decompose.  It is commonly associated with acid mine water.  This gas is released whenever a mine pool is agitated.  Can be produced in mine fires should sulfide ores be present.
Specific Gravity:  1.191
Properties:
  • Colorless
  • Odor similar to rotten eggs at very low concentrations (0.003 PPM)
  • Extremely flammable
  • Heavier than air
  • Highly soluble
Health Effects:

CONCENTRATION (PPM) PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT
10 Obvious and unpleasant odor (rotten eggs).
50 Mild conjunctivitis, respiratory tract irritation in 30 to 60 minutes.
100 Kills sense of smell in 3 to 5 minutes, may sting eyes and throat.
200 Stings eyes and throat.
250 Exposure for 1 hour is the Hazardous Limit concentration which may cause death.
300 Immediately dangerous to life.
500 Dizziness, coughing, breathing ceases within minutes, artificial respiration required.
600 May cause death within 2 minutes.
700 Unconscious quickly, death if not rescued immediately.
1000 Unconscious instantly, breathing ceased, death within a few breaths.  Death may occur even if rescued immediately.
Limits:
  • TLV – 10 PPM
  • Ceiling – 15 PPM
  • IDLH – 300 PPM
Explosive Range:
  • 4.3% to 46%
Ignition Temperature:
  • 700° F
Additional Resources


Oxygen (O2)

Oxygen is essential to support life.  Although oxygen is not an explosive gas, it does support and accelerate combustion.  Normal air contains 20.94% oxygen by volume.  Atmospheres containing less than this amount are known as oxygen deficient.
Specific Gravity:  1.105
Properties:
  • Colorless
  • Odorless
  • Tasteless
  • Non-Explosive
  • Supports Combustion
  • Heavier than air
  • Easily displaced by other gases introduced into the atmosphere
Health Effects:

CONCENTRATION (%) PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT
21% Breathing easiest
19.5% Minimum required by law.
17% Breathing faster and deeper, possible impaired judgement.
16% First signs of anoxia or hypoxia occur.
15% Dizziness, buzzing in ears, headache, blurred vision, rapid breathing.
12% to 16% Rapid breathing and pulse, impaired muscular coordination.
10% to 12% Emotional upset and abnormal fatigue on exertion.
6% to 10% Nausea and vomiting, inability to move, unconsciousness.
< 6% Convulsive movements, gasping respiration, breathing ceases, cardiac arrest occurs.
Additional Resources


Methane (CH4)

Methane gas is found naturally in most coal seams.  It includes many volatile organic compounds including methane, ethane, butane, propane, and contaminants.  Methane is the most common ingredient (>50%) found in natural gas.  It is the most common dangerous gas found in underground coal mines.
Specific Gravity:  0.5545
Properties:
  • Colorless
  • Odorless
  • Tasteless
  • Flammable
  • Lighter than air
  • Largest component of Fire Damp (70% to 98%)
Health Effects:
  • Asphyxiation in high concentrations due to displacement of oxygen
  • Dizziness, headache, and nausea in high concentrations
Explosive Range:
  • 5% to 15% with a minimum of 12.5% O2
Ignition Temperature:
  • 1100° F to 1300° F
Additional Resources


Nitrogen (N2)

Nitrogen composes 78.09% of the atmosphere.  It is a non-flammable gas.
Specific Gravity:  0.967

Properties:

  • Colorless
  • Odorless
  • Tasteless
  • Non-flammable
  • Lighter than air
Health Effects:

  • Unknown
Limits:

  • Ceiling – 81,000 PPM
Additional Resources


Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

Nitrogen dioxide is an extremely toxic gas to the human body.  It is produced from the detonation of explosives and it is found in diesel exhaust.  It is a non-flammable gas that is heavier than air.  In high concentrations, nitrogen dioxide forms nitric acid in the lungs causing pulmonary edema.
Specific Gravity:  1.5894

Properties:

  • Reddish-brown color in high concentrations
  • Acrid or “bleach” odor
  • Non-flammable
  • Heavier than air
Health Effects:

CONCENTRATION (PPM) PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT
1 to 13 Irritation of nose and throat.
10 to 20 Mild irritation of eyes, nose and upper respiratory tract.
80 Tightness in chest after 3 to 5 minutes.
90 Pulmonary edema after 30 minutes.
Limits:

  • TLV – 1 PPM
  • Ceiling – 3 PPM
  • IDLH – 50 PPM
Additional Resources


Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

Sulfur dioxide is produced when iron pyrite burns in gob fires or by blasting sulfide ores.  It is also found in diesel exhaust.  Sulfur dioxide has the same effect on the body as nitrogen dioxide, except that sulfuric acid is created in the lungs.  It is a non-flammable gas.
Specific Gravity:  2.264

Properties:

  • Colorless
  • Heavy sulfur odor
  • Acidic taste
  • Heavier than air
  • Non-flammable
Health Effects:

CONCENTRATION (PPM) PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT
0.3 to 1 Detectable by taste rather than odor.
3 to 5 Detectable odor.
10 Maximum concentration allowable for prolonged exposure.
20 Least amount causing coughing and irritation of eyes.
50 Irritation to eyes, lungs, throat.
50 to 100 Maximum concentration for short exposure (30 to 60 minutes).
150 May be endured for several minutes.  Extremely disagreeable.
400 to 500 Life threatening.
Limits:
  • TLV – 5 PPM
  • Ceiling – 10 PPM
  • IDLH – 100 PPM
Additional Resources