Methane gas is a non-toxic gas and can be harnessed as a source of energy. On the other hand, it is highly explosive and can result to death via asphyxiation.
Asphyxiation from methane gas
Even though it is non-toxic, methane is considered as a simple asphyxiant since it displaces oxygen which is necessary for breathing. The oxygen levels that drops below 16% is dangerous and the levels beneath 10% is considered fatal.
There are no specifics set on the allowable quantity of methane in the air at home or at the work, but the least oxygen content for any area where humans need to breathe is 18%.
Methane gas can become explosive if combined with other chemicals in levels as low as 5%. You can detect methane if there is a utility corporation working on the sewer system and hydrogen sulfide organically mixes with methane.
If in an area where an unpleasant “rotten egg” is detected, the levels of methane might be high enough to become explosive. In large concentrations, the gas can be deadly once ignited. The natural methane from under the earth has resulted to disastrous mining and oil rig explosions.
Am I at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning?
Even though methane gas is not poisonous on its own, it has the potential to become poisonous once it combines with other substances. This potential is present if natural gas which is around 97% methane is burned in businesses, house and offices.
The combustion of natural gas with poor ventilation can generate carbon monoxide which is a poisonous gas that is hard to detect.
Low levels of carbon monoxide can result to dizziness and nausea in 20 minutes and death in 2 hours. High levels of the gas are deadly in just 3 minutes.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on the dangers of methane gas is for learning purposes only. Learn more about the dangers of this gas by taking a standard first aid course with MississaugaFirst Aid.