Teen Attempts Suicide Using Hydrogen Sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a naturally occurring gas. It is also highly toxic. Only a few breaths of air containing high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas can cause death. Brief exposures to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (greater than 500 ppm) can cause a loss of consciousness and possibly death. At lower concentrations, exposure to it can cause eye irritation, headache, and fatigue. No health effects have been found in humans exposed to typical environmental concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (0.00011–0.00033 ppm).
The San Jose Mercury reports that an 18-year-old San Jose boy found unconscious at his home Thursday. He was rushed to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's emergency room remains unconscious and in critical condition today.
The Mercury reports "the teen's mother called 911 to report an attempted suicide by her son, police said." They go on to report that two pans containing hydrogen sulfide were found on a table in the teenager's bedroom, where he was found unconscious by his mother.
There is no mention of where the teen might have obtained the hydrogen sulfide.
Hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas, volcanic gases, and hot springs. It can also result from bacterial breakdown of organic matter. It is also produced by human and animal wastes.
Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable, colorless gas with a characteristic odor of rotten eggs. It is commonly known as hydrosulfuric acid, sewer gas, and stink damp.
Exposure to low concentrations of hydrogen sulfide may cause irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat. It may also cause difficulty in breathing for some asthmatics.