Hydrogen sulfide

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A colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs. Hydrogen sulfide occurs as a component in natural gas, volcanic gas, and sulfur springs. It is also produced as an air pollutant due to the combustion of sulfur containing coal and the organic decay of manure. Hydrogen sulfide can also be emitted from some paints, textiles, and vulcanized rubbers. As a component in air pollution, it is responsible for tarnishing silver and blackening lead pigments. Commercially, hydrogen sulfide is used as an antiseptic and a bleach.

Synonyms and Related Terms

sulfureted hydrogen; hydrosulfuric acid; ashepatic air; fetid air of sulfur; sulphydric acid; hydrothionic acid

Personal Risks

  • Highly toxic by inhalation.
  • Causes irritation to eyes and mucous membranes.
  • Flammable, dangerous fire risk. Explosive limits 4.3-46%.
  • Airgas: SDS

Collection Risks

  • Will or corrode tarnish silver, copper, bronze and lead.
  • Corrodes daguerreotypes
  • Yellows porous materials such and paper and fabric.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water, glycerol, gasoline, kerosene, carbon disulfide. Burns in air with a pale blue flame.

Composition H2S
CAS 7783-06-4
Melting Point -83.8 C
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 34.08
Boiling Point -60.2 C

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Jean Tétreault, 'Products used in Preventive Conservation' Technical Bulletin #2, CCI, 2017. Link