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battery odor like rotten eggs
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battery odor like rotten eggs

I have batteries for my solar panels, and the smell from my batteries today got bad, like rotten eggs...I got a bad headache...can it be due to the smell...am I okay?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Please tell me more about the circumstances around this smell that you describe above.

1. What were you doing when you noticed the smell (and the headache)?
2. Where you in a confined space?
3. How do you feel now?
4. How old are you? Do you have any health problems?

Solar batteries often have a sulfur component (sodium-sulfur or lithium sulfur). Sulfur often smells like "rotten eggs".

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
1. I was online doing homework, as I go to college..
2. I was in a trailer, that is next to the porch where the batteries are kept. My window is shared with the porch.
3. Now, I am almost over the headache, but Wednesday night at about 9pm, I had been smelling the rotten egg smell for about 12 hours, when my husband came home and enlightened me that is was in fact a bad battery. I was ill with a headache all night long, and went to school sick, but by the time I returned, in the afternoon, I was violently ill. I thought I would die of the pain in my head and neck. I was unable to find any relief, and woke up feeling headachey, but as of right now, and it is 10pm, on Friday, I still feel a slight headache, but am able to use my computer, and so I am writing.
4. I am 56 years old, and I do suffer with headaches and sinus trouble. I tried my prescription of Max alt, but it did not work, as I did not have a migraine...this is what prompted by to ask this online site. Also, my mouth tasted like nail polish remover...what was that all about?

Please help me if you can. I did not go to the doctor because my husband had to work and I could not drive myself. Also, I have gone with killer headaches before, and there is nothing they can do, so I saved myself the money, and just hurt. I am only wondering if I was poisoned by the Hydrogen Sulfide gas...was I?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello again,

How are you feeling now?

I thought I would provide with some more information about hydrogen sulfide.

This information is from the state of New York, Department of Health.

Accessed 3/31/2010, http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/chemicals/hydrogen_sulfide/

"Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas with a rotten-egg odor. Some people can smell hydrogen sulfide at very low levels, as low as 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) in air. Most hydrogen sulfide in the air comes from natural sources. It is produced when bacteria break down plant and animal material, often in stagnant waters with low oxygen content such as bogs and swamps. Volcanoes, hot springs and underwater thermal vents also release hydrogen sulfide. Industrial sources of hydrogen sulfide include petroleum and natural gas extraction and refining, pulp and paper manufacturing, rayon textile production, chemical manufacturing and waste disposal. Some bacteria change calcium sulfate, the major component of wallboard, into hydrogen sulfide. If construction and demolition debris contain large quantities of wallboard, large amounts of hydrogen sulfide can be formed. Production is greatest when the wallboard is finely crushed and when there is little oxygen, such as when the debris is buried and soaked with water.

Most of the information on human health effects from hydrogen sulfide exposure comes from accidental and industrial exposures to high levels. Exposure to high levels can cause muscle cramps, low blood pressure, slow respiration and loss of consciousness. Short-term exposure to moderate amounts of hydrogen sulfide in the workplace produces eye, nose and throat irritation, nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulties, headaches and loss of appetite and sleep. Continued exposure can irritate the respiratory passages and can lead to a buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Human volunteers have been exposed to hydrogen sulfide for up to thirty minutes during moderate exercise at levels equal to or half the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 8-hour standard (10,000 ppb). Chemical changes in blood and muscle were observed, but no volunteer experienced adverse symptoms and no changes were seen in lung function measurements.

There is limited information on the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide. People working in industries where hydrogen sulfide exposure is common, but is usually below the OSHA 8-hour standard (10,000 ppb), may have decreased lung function and increased risk of spontaneous abortion and impaired neurological functions (including reaction time, balance, color discrimination, short-term memory and mood) compared to unexposed workers. People living near industries that emit hydrogen sulfide have an increased risk of eye irritation, cough, headache, nasal blockage and impaired neurological function (same measures as above) compared to unexposed residents. Limited information is available about exposure levels in studies of people working in or living near industries emitting hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide exposure is assumed in these studies based on job title, work history or living near facilities emitting hydrogen sulfide. In all cases, the people with presumed hydrogen sulfide exposure had or likely had exposures to other chemicals that could have contributed to some health effects.

Foul odors and health effects were investigated in an Indiana community near a waste disposal lagoon and in five New York State communities near landfills containing construction and demolition debris. Hydrogen sulfide levels in the Indiana community ranged up to 300 ppb during a two-month period. Levels in two of the New York communities ranged up to 4000 ppb for periods of several months. During these episodes there were frequent health complaints including eye, throat and lung irritation, nausea, headache, nasal blockage, sleeping difficulties, weight loss, chest pain, and asthma attacks. Although other chemicals may have been present in the air, these effects are consistent with those of hydrogen sulfide.

The main effects of short-term and long-term hydrogen sulfide exposure in laboratory animals are nasal and lung irritation and damage and effects on the brain. These effects are consistent with effects seen in people exposed to hydrogen sulfide."

http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/chemicals/hydrogen_sulfide/docs/sulfide.pdf

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is great information, but I honestly don't know what amount of exposure I was getting. I will consider my experience and consult my personal physician knowing all that you have included in the email. I want to thank you for all the facts that you have presented me with. I am feeling better now, but I did have some of the side effects mentioned, and do have a chronic nasal irritation, that I have lived with for years, and headaches too. I will discuss this with my ears, nose, and throat specialist as well. I am hoping to change my living arrangements so as to reduce the possible exposure and side effects for me in the future. Thank you again for the information.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was helping a friend move and the next day I noticed that I have a broken blood vessel under my finger and on the bottom of my foot. Should I be concerned? It has been a week now and they are both still painful and red.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am anxious to hear about what you think might be going wrong with my circulation system, regarding the broken blood vessel and resulting painful lumps in my finger and foot (comment posted 5/7/10)?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

My apologies for the delay in my response.

I realize that it has been several days from when you originally posted your question; however, can you describe how you are doing now?

Did you happen to visit your medical provider?
Have you noticed any other "broken blood vessels"? or bruises?
Have you had any bleeding from your nose?

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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