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Sulfur Dioxide Occupational Exposure Risks Identified by EMSL Analytical, Inc.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is one of a group of highly reactive gases known as oxides of sulfur. It is a colorless gas with a pungent and suffocating odor.  It is also a common air pollutant found in many parts of the world. 

Much of the sulfur dioxide in the air comes from the burning of coal and oil at electric power plants. Other sources of sulfur dioxide come from industrial facilities that use coal or oil, petroleum refineries, cement manufacturing, metal mining and processing, paper pulp manufacturing and copper smelting. Trains, large ships and some diesel equipment may burn high sulfur fuels, which also contributes to sulfur dioxide in the air. 

Sulfur dioxide has also been used as a food preservative and for food processing; as a disinfectant; for bleaching flour, fruit, grain, wood pulp, wool, textile fibers, wicker, gelatin and glue; and for making other chemicals. It is also used for wastewater treatment. 

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Breathing sulfur dioxide can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs, and cause coughing and shortness of breath. Short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide can cause stomach pain, menstrual disorders, watery eyes, inhibition of thyroid function, loss of smell, headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, convulsions, and dizziness.”  They also report, “Short-term exposure to high levels of sulfur dioxide in the air can be life-threatening by causing breathing difficulties and obstructing airways, especially for people with lung disease. Long-term exposure to persistent levels of sulfur dioxide can cause chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and respiratory illness. It can also aggravate existing heart disease.”

“People who live near or work in facilities that utilize sulfur dioxide or produce it as a by-product may be at risk of exposure,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “At EMSL, we provide sampling supplies and testing solutions to identify sulfur dioxide and other pollutants from indoor, occupational and environmental samples.  Our Products Division also offers real-time monitoring equipment for sulfur dioxide.”

EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about sulfur dioxide exposure concerns that can be seen at:

To learn more about sulfur dioxide testing or other occupational, environmental, health and safety services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of food, environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.  

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 indoor air pollutants
 Breathing sulfur dioxide
 Sulfur Dioxide concerns
 hazardous gases

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