The safest substances exhibit unusual properties under certain conditions. Methane belongs to a group of such compounds. Sometimes this gas can harm a person's health.
When is methane harmful? Is methane poisoning a reality or a fiction? And how to deal with a substance that can not be detected?
Where is methane contained?
Methane (chemical formula: CH4) is one of the simplest compounds belonging to the class of hydrocarbons. It is a gas that is odorless, colorless, almost insoluble in water. Methane is practically insoluble in human blood, therefore it is considered harmless.
Methane is found in the chemical industry and in nature:
- as the main component of natural and associated petroleum gases;
It is abundant in mines and marsh evaporation;
- in industry, it is extracted from coal;
- it is formed daily in the human body, it is a product of the normal vital activity of the intestinal microflora.
The hydrocarbon itself is not a threat, does not belong to the group of toxic substances. It is lighter than air, therefore, with excess, it rushes up quickly, without causing harm to a person. Plus, he does not interact with many chemical compounds. Methane becomes harmful only under certain conditions.
Is Methane Dangerous?
All hydrocarbons adversely affect the human nervous system, leading to various disorders in the body. But methane is not included in the group that is particularly dangerous due to its physical properties.
Why is methane harmful?
- It is explosive, at an air concentration of 4 to 17%, an explosion may occur. Because of the ease of connection, such situations are extremely rare. An explosion is possible in the room with a gas leak.
- Every day in the human body in a small amount of methane produce microorganisms that inhabit the intestine. This gas normally irritates the walls of the large intestine and takes an active part in its peristalsis, contributing to the further advancement of food. But regular stressful situations, an excess of microorganisms that produce methane, leads to the development of chronic intoxication.
- Is it possible to poison yourself with methane? Yes, this happens in the production of this gas in people who work long hours in mines or laboratories, if safety is not observed.
Methane leads to poisoning if its concentration in the room exceeds the permissible standards. The maximum permissible concentration or the limit of the permissible concentration in the work area is 7000 mg / m³. To control the air composition in the premises at the plant, special sensors for controlling methane in the air are installed. And in the production of gas add odorants - substances with a specific smell to detect the compound. Is methane harmful to health? In the case of an excess of this substance in the air, it can lead to poisoning of the body.
How poisoning manifests itself:
the first symptoms of poisoning resemble asphyxiation (suffocation or a feeling of lack of air);
- the pulse rate increases;
- there is a muscle weakness;
- drowsiness, inhibition, general weakness;
- the signs of methane poisoning include temporary euphoria, when a person laughs for no particular reason, he has a high mood, accelerated speech;
- then euphoria is replaced by a sharp decline in physical strength and mood;
- there is a giddiness, the expressed headaches, disturbance of a dream;
- the person is disturbed by the causeless nausea, reaching to vomiting because of disturbance of work of digestive system;
- if the victim is not provided with timely medical assistance, pulmonary edema, heart failure and disruption of the nervous system may develop.
Symptoms of chronic methane poisoning
Such a state develops in people whose work is related to the study of methane or its production. Even a small presence of the compound in the air gradually leads to changes in the work, primarily of the nervous system. In a small amount, with a constant effect on the body, gas manifests its weak narcotic effect.
Symptoms of chronic methane poisoning include:
- hypotension, causeless lowering of arterial pressure;
- a change in the work of the nervous system, which only a neurologist can detect: when the examination reveals a positive eye-glass reflex (during the pressure on the eyeballs, the pulse frequency decreases);
- chronic fatigue.
To chronic intoxication by this substance is the disruption of the digestive glands due to the increased secretion of bacteria by the intestine of this compound.
The use and harm of methane is traced in the effect on the work of the digestive system. Normally, with a balanced diet, methane is released by the natural microflora of the intestine and stimulates its contractility. But excess gas leads to unpredictable consequences.
- Excessive gas contamination causes swelling.
- Irritating the walls of the intestine, which leads to belching, pain, the appearance of constipation.
- On this harmful effect of methane does not end - worsening the work of digestive glands: pancreas, stomach and liver. There are pain in the abdomen and along the bowels, nausea, heartburn.
- The general state of health worsens, the person becomes nervous and irritable, there is an itch of the skin.
The consequences of methane poisoning are different. In chronic exposure to humans, the compound leads to a depressive effect on the central nervous system.
Acute poisoning can result in more serious problems:
- impaired kidney function;
- oppression of bone marrow functions, which is manifested in the violation of hematopoiesis;
- respiratory insufficiency;
- a fatal outcome is possible with a large concentration of it in the air.
Treatment of poisoning
In rare cases, it is possible to suspect methane poisoning, since this gas has no distinctive features that can easily be detected in the room. More often in the formulation of the diagnosis, instruments that fix the excess concentration of gas installed in the plant help.
The first help in methane poisoning is to provide access to oxygen for the victim. For this you need to take it out of the room to the street. Then you need to unbutton the top buttons in your clothes, take off your tie. If there is no pulse or breathing, do a closed heart massage and artificial respiration.
There is no specific antidote, therefore the basic help should be rendered in the specialized intensive care unit of the nearest hospital. There are symptomatic therapy.
Despite the apparent harmlessness of methane can act negatively on a person. A sharp increase in this gas in the air in the absence of oxygen will lead to poisoning. The consequences of it depend on the timeliness of first aid.