Hydrogen Sulfide to be Reported for Toxic Release Inventory
EPA has announced plans to require reporting for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and is accepting public comments until April 27, 2010. Under the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the EPA will require H2S reporting estimates of all on-site releases and off-site transfers for disposal by each facility that meets the manufacture thresholds for hydrogen sulfide. Manufacturing limits for H2S emissions are 25,000 pounds per year, process limits are 25,000 pounds per year, and “other” use is 10,000 pounds per year.
H2S is a gas that can be absorbed rapidly through the lungs and through the gastrointestinal tract. In animals and humans, it can distribute to the blood, brain, lungs, heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys. H2S often results from the bacterial break down of sulfur-containing organic matter in the absence of oxygen, like in swamps and sewers (anaerobic digestion) or in the manufacturing process at coke ovens, paper mills, tanneries and wastewater treatment facilities. H2S also occurs in volcanic gases, natural gas, wetlands and some groundwater. Small amounts of H2S occur in crude petroleum, but natural gas can contain up to 90%.
According to the EPA’s Federal Register, H2S has been under an administrative stay since 1994, which means that the EPA included the chemical on the toxic chemicals list, but decided TRI reports were not required until they resolved policy issues about the chemical.
EPA will issue a new Federal Register document responding to all comments received as well as take appropriate action once the public comment period is complete.