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Lime sulfur health hazards


#1

I finally got my bottle of lime sulfur open (love those safety
caps!) and then got to reading (on the bottle) about how getting it
on your skin or inhaling it can be fatal. How do those of you who use
it deal with these potential dangers? TIA.

Judy Bjorkman


#2

gloves and well ventilated setting for working.

John
www.rasmussengems.com


#3

Judy,

My search for local lime sulphur failed, so I still use the slightly
more reactive liver of sulphur. Two approaches to the hazard
factor… full biohazard suit, or just don’t eat the stuff etc.

Use common sense about handling any chemical, and avoid as much as
possible the really nasty ones. That warning was probably written by
the same folks responsible for the MSDS on water.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#4

Judy,

Those are the same dangers associated with the liver of sulfur too.
Boiling a strong solution causes death, so that is the main concern.
Just be careful and wash it off and don’t make it SUPER strong,
after all there are sulfur drugs that we take as antibiotics.

Susan
www.ThorntonStudioJewelry.com


#5

Don’t eat it…use in a well ventilated area, you can wear throw away
nitrile., vynyl or laytex gloves if you have skin sensitivity, H2S
is very toxic but reasonable care will protect you. You probably
won’t like the smell inside.

Gloves are easy to find even at: http://www.harbor freight.com
search keyword “glove”.

You have to remember that this is an agricultural spray used in much
larger quantities than you would never begin to use. In my student
days ( 50’s) it was a standard in smelly qualitative analysis labs.
The place where H2S is really dangerous is in the oil -gas fields on
the Texas- New Mexico border. Not much population near the well
operations out there -real desert boondocks.

jesse


#6
after all there are sulfur drugs that we take as antibiotics 

Sulfur in and of itself must not be too bad for you, because my
father used to swallow homemade capsules full of sulfur when he went
to the Everglades to hunt orchids. Apparently, it kept mosquitos
from biting him, and I guess he minded the stink less than he did
the bites. He never mentioned any side effects, and he lived another
40 years.

Noel


#7

If you review both Liver of Sulfur and Lime Sulfur MSDS you will
find the same dangers. They are both toxic by inhalation, ingestion
and skin contact. The damage is caused by the breakdown of the
calcium or potassium sulfides into hydrogen sulfide which is a toxic
gas. Liver of Sulfur and Lime sulfur solutions will break down to
hydrogen sulfide gas with any contact with heat, acids, and many
other materials. Gloves goggles and good ventilation should always be
used and common sense precautions (don’t eat or drink them) and
dispose of properly etc. Just don’t treat them like they are somehow
benign because they are treated with no cautions in almost every book
on metal smithing and jewelry. The dangers are easy to avoid but
hydrogen sulfide can kill just as easily as cyanide if you don’t
treat them right

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#8
after all there are sulfur drugs that we take as antibiotics 
Sulfur in and of itself must not be too bad for you 

Two phrases (One of them a prior quote, the other from Noel’s post)
that nicely illustrate the dangers of judging the nature of chemicals
from the approximate sound of their names. We don’t take sulfur drugs
as antibiotics, we take Sulfa drugs. That last “A” makes a world of
difference in the nature of the chemical. And While daddy might have
swallowed sulfur itself, that’s not the same, at all, as ingesting
compounds of sulfur like liver of sulfur. Too illustrate in a reverse
sort of way, If Carbon itself is just carbon, and of course we’re
all made of many hydrocarbons (like proteins, fats, carbohydrates,
etc) and besides, one can eat a bit of the carbon on a well
charbroiled steak and how bad can that be…, and Nitrogen is just
one of the gasses in the atmosphere that we breath daily with no ill
effects, then how bad can it be if we just combine those two
together… Of course, the result is the cyanide ion, which can
indeed be rather dangerous…And to continue, while hydrogen cyanide
gas is extremely deadly, we don’t worry as much about cyanates
(change the “ide” to “ate”), not to mention cyanoacrylates (super
glue…) Related sounds and spellings, and indeed, related
chemistries too. But very different properties and levels of safety.

In short, judge the nature and the safety of a chemical on what that
chemical actually is. Not on what it sorta sounds like.

Or, if you insist on making judgements based on vague similarities,
please allow me to sell you a bunch of almost platinum, at an almost
platinum price. Steel, to be exact. Strong, white in color, makes
good jewelry Looks almost the same…

Oh, you wanted it to sound the same too? OK, pay me almost the
platinum price for palladium. That actually IS in the platinum group
family, but you’d not pay the same for it, would you. Same with
chemistry. Small differences in spelling, endings, prefixes,
suffixes, and the like, all matter. Sometimes a whole lot.

Peter


#9
Oh, you wanted it to sound the same too? OK, pay me almost the
platinum price for palladium. That actually IS in the platinum
group family, but you'd not pay the same for it, would you. Same
with chemistry. Small differences in spelling, endings, prefixes,
suffixes, and the like, all matter. Sometimes a whole lot. 

I want to thank Peter for a very good summation of this problem.
Names or name confusion particularly for those without good chemistry
backgrounds.

And on a similar line with the Olympics going on engraving is a lot
like swimming. You need not be an Olympic swimmer to “swim”, one can
learn to do “engraving” with out years of experience.

Learn your limitations & stay within them, but push the edges to
improve.

Mark Chapman


#10

Hi Peter,

I know that sulfur compounds can be deadly. I worked in a shop and
OSHA was really interested in the manner in which we used the chunks
and how hot the liquid was. The how to books do not make much of its
dangerous nature but used incorrectly it can kill. I also read in a
Sherlock Holmes mystery, how sulfur was used as a killing device in
one of the plots. Still, there are sulfur wells and people bath and
drink the waters and it turns peoples silver black in those areas
quickly. I know those waters are very low in the ppm(parts per
million). We as jewelers use it in different strengths, so it is very
important to use precautions in the care, use and storage of sulfur.

The sulfa pills do stink like sulfur.

Susan
www.ThorntonStudioJewelry.com