Does DEH test for H2S at landfill?

| 05/09/2019 | 2 Comments

Does the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) regularly test for carbons or hydrogen sulphide at the landfill? I read an article that children should not be within 5km of a landfill due to toxic pollutants in the air which is of great concern.  


Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: First of all, hydrogen sulphide (H2S) smells like rotten eggs, so if it’s around you, you should know pretty quickly. According to this website in the UK, low concentrations of H2S may cause irritation to the eyes, nose or throat, headaches, poor memory, tiredness, and balance problems. It may also cause difficulty in breathing for some people with asthma.

H2S does not accumulate in the body, though exposures to high concentrations, even brief, can do long-term harm. If you are exposed to hydrogen sulphide by breathing it in, eating or drinking something contaminated with it, or if it touches your skin, it is rapidly metabolised in the liver and excreted in the urine.

Anyway, I put your question to the DEH and received an answer in less than a day, the second question they have responded to this week. So, before I get to their response, I really want to commend the department for their appreciation of public concern.

The answer for this question was supplied by Laboratory Manager Antoinette Johnson: “We do intermittent sampling in the area for Hydrogen Sulphide. However, the landfill is not the only potential source as the gas is also produced by the wastewater treatment process and it occurs naturally in our groundwater and the mangrove swamps. This is why well drilling and dredging have that rotten egg odour.

“More recently, the sargassum influx has resulted in elevated levels along the beaches where the algae accumulated. The DEH is in the process of acquiring equipment to conduct monitoring programmes of a number of ambient air quality parameters of public health significance, not just hydrogen sulphide.”


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Category: Ask Auntie, Environment, Health Questions, Medical and Health

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Basically DEH has brushed it off. Use common sense instead of asking DEH. No one should be living within 3 miles radius around the Dump. There are hundreds if not thousands of other harmful toxins.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mangroves stink because they are full of life. Not to mention the storm breaking capabilities.

    You’re fighting nature when you clear them to develop. You fart too, you animal!

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