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LPG USE AND CARBON MONOXIDE (C0) POISONING

LPG USE AND CARBON MONOXIDE (C0) POISONING

Definition

LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is term used to define gases, which mostly contain 3 and 4 carbon (C3 and C4) hydrocarbons and can liquefy under low pressure.  In its natural form, LPG is a colorless and scentless substance.  It is denser than air and is stored in liquid form under pressure.  Aromatisers are added for easy notice in case of leakage.  As well as being used as domestic, commercial and industrial fuel, it also has area of use in automobiles under the name of autogas.  LPG is also used propellant gas in spray cans we use.

Chemical Composition

It contains LPG propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10) gases as well as ethyl mercaptan (ethane thiol) and similar sulfuric compounds in small amounts for odorization.  With its form used in our country (as bottled gas and autogas), LPC contains 30% propane and 70% butane in terms of volume.  LPG, which is marketed to houses and the industry as bulk gas, contains propane at commercial purity.


LPG Use Safety

LPG is a highly combustible substance and quickly forms explosive air - hydrocarbon mixture when subjected to atmospheric conditions.  LPG vapor is heavier than air.  It can move away from its source with density difference and air movement, and accumulate in low code areas in open air, and lower floors in houses.
Liquid leakages that may form in LPG systems can create combustible and explosive gas mixtures in large volumes (approximately, 1 unit volume LPG (liquid) forms 250 unit volumes of gas).  LPG liquid forms cold burns when contacted with skin or eye.  Inhaling LPG vapor at high concentration even for a short time can cause fainting and/or death.  Inhaling of LPG vapor can cause irritation in nose and throat, headache and nausea, vomiting, dizziness and loss of consciousness.  LPG vapor can cause fainting and choking in closed or poorly ventilated environments.

First Aid

In case of contact with eye: Eyes must be washed with a lot of cold water for at least 15 min.  During washing, eye must be opened with two fingers and eyeball and eyelids must be contacted with water.  Following washing, you must reach the nearest health institution and seek for treatment.

In case of contact with skin: If burn has formed on skin due to cold, dip the affected area into warm water and wait.  Meanwhile, reach the nearest health institution for first aid.

In case of contact through respiration: Gas at high concentrations can cause arrhythmia in the heart when inhaled.  In such cases, the person, who has contacted with LPG, must be taken out for fresh air and sent to the nearest health institution.

Precautions to be Taken In Case of LPG Leakages

Since LPG has low flash point, leakages that may form can cause severe fire and/or explosions.  If you have detected LPG leakage through tubes or tanks, immediately close the tube or tank valve and stop the leakage.  Avoid actions that may start burning by sparking since a combustible gas mixture will form. Remove installations that may cause spark.  Do not electric switch buttons.  Ensure air circulation in the environment and immediately evacuate the personnel in the environment without causing panic or rush.  Contact the fire department and the company concerned, if possible.

In case of leakage through tubes, you must act very carefully knowing that large amounts of gas will form and this gas will be heavier than air.  Avoid all kinds of action that will start burning by sparking.  Since the gas formed will accumulate near the surface, it can be transported to remote areas through air current and can cause fire and/or explosion through deflagration if it finds suitable environment there.  Should there be suitable mechanism, try to disperse LPG in gaseous state with water spray.  Since LPG vapor can accumulate in closed places, cover sinks, waste water installations and sewage connections.  If the leakage has formed in closed areas such as room or kitchen, ensure air circulation by opening doors and windows and ventilate the environment for long time.
Do not enter environments containing intense LPG vapor for purposes other than rescue or leakage stopping.  In unavoidable circumstances, trained personnel must perform rescue operation by wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus.

Suggestions Regarding Bottled Gas Use

·         LPG, which is used in houses and work places, are put into use in our country inside bottles body of which is obtained through welding of two or three pieces to each other.  2 (camping type), 12 (house type) and 45 (industrial type) kg bottles are manufactured in accordance with TS 55 norms.

·         Tubes manufactured in accordance with TS 55 norms must have a minimum explosion pressure of 80 bars (internal pressure of a full bottle is 4-5 bars). Steel body of the bottle must not be contacted with high temperature for long time for explosion.

·         The incident, which is publicly known as tube explosion, is made up of meeting of the gas, which has leaked from bottle, with flame or spark and its explosion.

·         Bottled gas poisoning on the other hand, is used to explain two different incidents: 1) Becoming short of oxygen upon accumulation of the gas, which is heavier than air, in closed environment, 2) Becoming short of oxygen upon consumption of almost the entire oxygen during combustion in closed volumes and exposure to poisoning ending in death as a result of inhaling of combustion gases (e.g. carbon monoxide) arising due to insufficient oxygen.  The best example for that is poisoning originating from geyser.

·         Pay attention to TS 55 mark when buying LPG bottle.  All bottles manufactured after 1981 have to have TSE brand.

·         It is very important where you place your LPG bottles.  Bottles must not be exposed to direct sun light.  Tubes must not be placed near heat producing devices such as radiator and stove.  Do not place easily flammable materials near devices using LPG. Bottles must be kept vertical and in no way be tilted during use.  Bottles must be kept at level lower than devices such as cookers and geysers.

·         If bottles are to be stored in closed area, you must open holes at the bottom that will provide ventilation.  Bottles must not be stored in places such as basements, where air current cannot be provided.

·         If LPG is used in rooms or closed areas (such as LPG stove and cooker), constant clean air circulation must be ensured in the environment.

·         Hose connections used between LPG bottle and device must be provided with clamp.  Hose must be jointless and patch-free and must not exceed 125 cm.  Connection hose must be checked in regular intervals.  Worn, cracked, softened or hardened hoses must be replaced immediately.  Connection hose has its manufacture date written on it. This date must be checked and the hose must be replaced if it has completed 3 years.

·         Regulators (hoods), which drop bottle pressure down to usage pressure, are important devices in terms of use safety.  Gas flow stopping type hoods must be used when required in order to prevent high flow leakages that may occur in connection hose or LPG using devices.

·         Bottle replacement and leakage check during use must be performed with soap water.  Do not use flaming objects such as match or lighter.

·         Geysers must definitely be connected to flue.  The environment they are used in must be ventilated well and must have volume greater than 8 m3.  Ventilation rules must be complied with.

·         Environments heated with LPG stove must be ventilated in regular intervals.  Do not leave LPG stoves open while sleeping and do not use them in places smaller than 30 m3.

·         Do not place containers with large base on camping cylinders.  Check in regular intervals and change where necessary the gasket, which provides impermeability and is found in the bottom of the armature attached on the tube.


CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning due to intentional or accidental exposure continues to be one of the most common poisoning-related death causes in developed/developing countries.  CO poisoning increases and reaches its peak in winter particularly each year in our country.  Value recommended for CO by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA= and the World Health Organization (WHO) is determined as follows: 9 ppm for 8 hours, and maximum 25 to be taken in one hour.

'Air pollution', which we can define as mixing of various gases harmful to living metabolism into the air, is today a serious problem for entire humanity, particularly for large centers of population.  Major part of air pollution arises from 'combustion reactions'.  Carbon dioxide and water form when coal and petroleum products containing carbon and hydrogen molecules are burned.  However, when 'full combustion' does not take place, gases such as carbon monoxide,  which are very harmful and even deadly for human health, are produced.  For example, car engines produce CO. CO has 52%, SO2, hydrocarbons and NO2 have 6% contribution to air pollution.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that comes out upon combustion of carbon with insufficient oxygen.

If there is sufficient oxygen in combustion reactions, carbon dioxide forms instead of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a very toxic gas.  An adult person dies in short time if he stays for half an hour in a closed room containing CO by 1%.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, scentless and tasteless gas, and comes out upon combustion of fossil fuels containing carbon.  A stable gas, CO stays in the atmosphere for more than 2 months.  Considering the fact that CO emission world-wide is 232 million tons in total, problem created by this amount for the world becomes more evident.  More than 70% of the global CO emission comes from transportation sector.  Moreover, it is calculated that this stable gas will increase each year by 0.03 ppm if carbon monoxide formation around the whole world stays in lower atmosphere.  CO found in urban air has important impacts on human health.  The most important of these impact is that carbon monoxide reduces the transportation capability of the hemoglobin cell in blood.

Carbon monoxide is toxic/poisonous due to its particular interest in hemoglobin.  It connects to hemoglobin 250 times more than oxygen and forms carboxyhemoglobin.  Low levels of carboxyhemoglobin can be detected in anyone.  CO has insidious toxic effects.  Cherry red color is observed on the skin due to red color of carboxyhemoglobin. Lips go red as if they are applied lipstick on it.  Chest pain, headache, vomiting, tachycardia, irritability, confusion, respiratory failure and loss of consciousness can be regarded as important indicators.  The person poisoned must be removed from the environment immediately, provided with fresh air and pure oxygen if any, and taken to the nearest health institution.

CARBON MONOXIDE SOURCES

Carbon monoxide is a combustion product/emission occurring as a result of incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons.  CO concentration in the atmosphere is generally lower than 0.001%. Levels are higher in provinces than in rural areas.

1. AUTOMOBILE EXHAUST GAS: Carbon monoxide is both indoor and outdoor air pollutant. Vehicle exhausts are the most important CO sources in outdoors.  When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it has harmful effects particularly on those working in crossroads and parking areas, which have dense traffic, and closed and poorly ventilated working environments such as car workshops. Outer CO causing poisoning results from exhaust fumes of automobiles, poorly functioning heating systems and inhaling fumes.  One cause of the headache experienced in people working in depots and warehouses arises from cranes operated with propane.  Rate of death due CO arising from automobiles is higher in cold regions and reaches its peak in winter.  Some deaths are related to poor ventilation of oil operated generators.  It is known that although 'cleaner' fuels such as propane and methane burn almost completely, they can still cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. GAS LEAKAGE THROUGH STOVE: Hundreds of people in our country die due to poisoning from carbon monoxide gas arising from stoves or barbecues.  Poisoning from carbon monoxide, which is a scentless and colorless gas, takes places without noticing at all. It has serious results from mild headache to come, stroke and death.  Therefore you must not light open fire in places without ventilation and pay attention to pipe and flue cleaning when using stove.  The most important precaution is not leaving the stove open at night while sleeping.  Indicators of carbon monoxide poisoning can be listed as follows: Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea-vomiting, and blurriness in consciousness level, respiratory problem and visual impairment. A person with such indicators must be taken to open air immediately.  He must be given kiss of life if necessary, and provided with oxygen if any.  It is known that coal burning stoves, which are poorly heated and ignited from the bottom, and electric heaters increase risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AVOIDING CO POISONING: Igniting stove from top, not closing air/fume lids of stove, flue cleaning, not putting coal on stove burning at night and not lighting stove during southwester.

3. POISONING FROM NATURAL GAS/BOTTLED GAS (LPG) GEYSER/COMBI BOILER: The reason for poisoning from geyser or gas is not providing fresh air entry into the bathroom while the gas is burnt or using the entire current oxygen in bathroom since geyser is not connected to flue.  Poisonous CO gas starts forming if the oxygen in bathroom is reduced and continues to burn. If there is no/poor flue connection, CO gas forming as a result of combustion spreads to the environment and causes poisoning.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AVOIDING CO POISONING: Pilot system must be safe. Flue connected geysers must not be used.  Geysers/combi boilers must be put in places with high air current.  Sufficient air entry must be provided through ventilation culvert or door sil (minimum 1.5 cm gap). It is the best method not to place geyser in bathroom. Geysers must not be installed in places smaller than 8 m3.  Geysers with flue gas detecting safety system must be preferred.

4. TOBACCO SMOKE: Tobacco smoke has some tranquilizers/stupefacient substances such as CO. These chemical substances suppress tension, anger and other strong emotions for a short time.  Tobacco smoke is an important source of carbon monoxide.  While the rate of carboxyhemoglobin often reaches 10% and can even exceed 15%, this amount is 1-3% in non-smokers.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AVOIDING CO POISONING: Not smoking, avoiding smoking areas or not being smoke filled.

5. FLUELESS HEATERS: Fuels such as kerosene, LPG (propane) and natural gas in particular, are used as fuel in fluless heaters.  Gas Japanese stoves and heaters attached to camping cylinder are these types of stoves.  Full combustion of these fuels in flueless heaters forms carbon dioxide and water vapor.  Fresh air replacement rate must be 0.35/hour in places where flueless heater is used, and flueless heaters must in no way be used in impermeable rooms/houses. When the oxygen in the room drops, this must be detected with a detector and combustion must be stopped.  Thermal efficiency of fluless heaters must be 99%. It must be checked whether flueless heaters burn with blue flame.  Orange colored flame is an indicator of incomplete combustion and formation of carbon monoxide.  Yellow flame means the flueless heater must by no means be used and must be repaired.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AVOIDING CO POISONING: Flueless heaters must be used in places with dense human traffic and air current.  They must not be used in bedrooms/bathrooms. Heater must be switched off before sleeping.  Heater depot must not be filled completely considering the fact that fuel will expand when heated.  Flueless heaters must not be used in places 1350 m higher sea level since flame can go out due to low pressure.  Flueless heaters, which have automatic gas cutting sensor and do not exceed 15 ppm/1 hour CO emission, must be used.