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LP gas tank being filled by Bottini Fuel, Poughkeepsie NY (C) Daniel Friedman Propane Gas Exposure Effects

  • PROPANE GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS - CONTENTS: Effects of exposure to various gases that may occur in buildings, including Ammonia, Arsine, Arsenic, Bromine, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Hydride, Hydrogen Sulfide, Nitrogen Oxide Gas, Propylene, Propane, LP gas Sewer Gas, Refrigerant gases, Sulphur dioxide, & others
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the toxicity of various gases found in buildings
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Propane Gas - LP Gas Exposure Hazards & Dangers:

What are the effects on humans of exposure to LP or propane gases?

This article series gives basic information about exposure to and potential health hazards from a number of common toxic gases that may be found indoors or in or around buildings. We describe symptoms of exposure to these gases, industry recommendations for gas exposure limits, how gases may be measured, and how to track down and cure the sources of gas leaks in buildings.



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Propane Gas or LP Gas Exposure Hazards

Photograph of residential LP or liquid petroleum gas tanks outdoorsThe greatest LP gas or propane gas exposure risk other than fire or explosion, would be not the exposure to LP gas or propane gas itself but the prolonged absence of sufficient oxygen if someone is enclosed in a space with high concentration of propane. No long term exposure health risks associated with LP gas or propane have been reported at low concentrations.

At air concentrations below 1000 ppm propane is virtually non-toxic. Brief exposures to 10,000 ppm cause no symptoms; 100,000 ppm can produce slight dizziness after a few minutes of exposure, but is not noticeably irritating to the nose and throat.

Propane is a simple asphyxiant. High concentrations of propane can displace oxygen and cause asphyxiation. Oxygen content in the atmosphere must not be allowed to fall below 18%.

Effects of oxygen deficiency are: 12-16% breathing and pulse rate increased, muscular co-ordination slightly disturbed; 10-14% emotional upset, abnormal fatigue, disturbed respiration; 6-10%: nausea and vomiting, collapse or loss of consciousness; below 6%: convulsive movements, possible respiratory collapse and death. 

The gas does not affect the skin. Contact with liquified gas escaping from its high pressure cylinder may cause frostbite. Symptoms of mild frostbite include numbness, prickling and itching in the affected area. Symptoms of more severe frostbite include a burning sensation and stiffness of the affected area. The skin may become waxy white or yellow. Blistering, tissue death and gangrene may also develop in severe cases.

Close range contact with liquefied propane gas may cause injury characteristic of a thermal burn with swelling, fluid accumulation and extreme redness. Tissue death and gangrene may also develop.

The gas does not cause eye irritation. Contact with liquified gas escaping from its high pressure cylinder may cause freezing of the eye. Permanent eye damage or blindness could result. - Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

In some areas propane gas and similar fuels may be referred to by the name of their distributor, such as "Cadac" gas referring to the blue fuel gas cylinders and related products sold in South Africa.

Question: is it OK to use a propane stove as a space heater in an RV?

Propane gas cooktop for an RV, provided by Atwood at Inspectapedia.com or purchase at www.askforatwood.com2016/12/02 sandi said:

Is it safe to use a propane stove as a primary source of heat inside an rv?

This question was posted orignally at GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC

[Click to enlarge any image] Shown here, an Atwood brand propane-fueled cooktop for RVs.

Reply: NO, don't do it. Risk of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning

Sandi,

Watch out: No, definitely not. Never use an LP cooking appliance as a space heater in an RV nor in a mobile home. There are risks of both oxygen depletion and fatal carbon monoxide poisoning. If you fall asleep inside of your RV with your propane stove heating away you may never wake up. And in any event your RV should have properly-located and installed carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. "Almost 15 percent of [non-fire carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in the U.S. between 1993 and 1997 occurred ] in temporary shelters, such as cabins, recreational vehicles
or campers, tents, or trailers. (Mah 2000 for the US CPSC)
Also see CARBON MONOXIDE - CO

General safety warning: improper installation and even improper inspection and testing methods involving natural or "LP" gas can involve dangerous conditions and risk fire or explosion.

If you smell gas you should leave the building immediately and should do so without doing anything that could create a spark such as operating a light switch or telephone.

From a safe location, call your gas company's emergency line and/or your fire department.

Atwood, a manufacturer of LP fueled ranges and cooktops for RVs includes these warnings in its cooktop manual:

WARNING: CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

DO NOT use cooking appliance for space heating. It is a potential danger to occupants of vehicle and damage to operating components of the range/cooktop.

A window or air vent should be open slightly while using any cooking appliance. Gas flames consume oxygen which must be replaced to assure proper combustion. (Atwood, 2016 cited below)

See the last sentence of the abstract from Liu (2000) for an example. Similar safety concerns in mobile homes were discussed by Frey as early as 1973

Research on Propane & LP Gas Hazards in RVs & Mobile Homes

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Continue reading at GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS

Or see GAS EXPOSURE SCREENING TEST

Or see LPG & PROPANE APPLIANCE PRESSURES

Or see LPG PROPANE TANK PRESSURES

Or see LP / PROPANE GAS TANKS

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