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What gases from a Biofuel Facility can do to your health

What gases will be released from the proposed biofuel plant in South Surrey and how they can affect your health:

Methane Gas​

Methane gas has no odour and no colour. Methane gas exposure, can cause people to suffer from a range of long-term effects including:

  • Cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological problems

  • Development of epilepsy, pneumonia, claustrophobia and heart problems

  • Memory loss and depression

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

Hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) is a colorless gas with a strong odor of rotten eggs. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide may cause irritation to the eyes and respiratory system. It can also cause apnea, coma, convulsions; dizziness, headache, weakness, irritability, insomnia; stomach upset, and if liquid: frostbite.

The lasting effects that people may experience vary based on the type and duration of the exposure, among other factors.

Nitrogen Oxides

The term nitrogen oxides (NOx) describes a mixture of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are gases produced from natural sources, motor vehicles and other fuel burning processes. Nitric oxide is colourless and is oxidised in the atmosphere to form nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide has an odour, and is an acidic and highly corrosive gas that can affect our health and environment.

Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause damage to the human respiratory tract and increase a person's vulnerability to, and the severity of, respiratory infections and asthma.

Long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause chronic lung disease.

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a colorless, reactive air pollutant with a strong odor. This gas can be a

threat to human health, animal health, and plant life.

Sulfur dioxide irritates the skin and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

High concentrations of SO2 can cause inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system,

especially during heavy physical activity. The resulting symptoms can include pain when taking

a deep breath, coughing, throat irritation, and breathing difficulties. High concentrations of

SO2 can affect lung function, worsen asthma attacks, and worsen existing heart disease in

sensitive groups. This gas can also react with other chemicals in the air and change to a small

particle that can get into the lungs and cause similar health effects.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

Summary of Volatile organic compounds (VOC) including eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches and loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system. Some VOCs are suspected or proven carcinogens.


When ammonia enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing or skin contact, it reacts

with water to produce ammonium hydroxide. This chemical is very corrosive and damages cells

in the body on contact.

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