Toxic Gases vs. Combustible Gases

Toxic and combustible gases are found in industrial processing and manufacturing environments – whether they are used in the actual processing or are byproducts of processes.

Although the types of gases inherent many differences, many gases are both toxic and combustible.

Toxic Gases vs. Combustible Gases - Otis Instruments

Toxic Gases

Toxic gases, fumes and vapors from chemical or manufacturing processes are considered the most significant exposure risk for safety that workers face in industrial plants.

A toxic gas can cause harm to humans, ranging from damage to living tissue, the central nervous system and severe illness to death. Life threats are a time-based exposure–so toxic gas measuring ranges are time-weighted average and threshold limit value.

Some toxic gases are not visible, are odorless and may not have an immediate effect on personnel. Some include hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia and chlorine. Even at low concentrations, some toxic gases can cause poisoning caused by exposure to carbon dioxide or by asphyxiation.

Toxic Gases vs. Combustible Gases - Otis Instruments

Combustible Gases

Combustible gases are those that can cause a fire or explosion if the gas is exposed to an ignition source, such as a spark, a hot surface, an open flame, or friction caused by gas escaping through a pipe fissure. Some combustible gases include natural gas, methane, butane, propane, hydrogen, and various hydrocarbons.

Although hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, and non-toxic gas, it is ranked highest on the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) flammability scale due to its flammability level mixed with even small amounts of air. Chlorine, though not flammable alone, can react explosively or form explosive compounds with other chemicals, such as turpentine and ammonia. 

Mitigating Risk

Industrial plants need a gas detection network to mitigate risk in all areas where toxic and combustible gases could create a workplace hazard for life safety. 

Otis Instruments manufactures and supplies a range of wired and WireFree gas detection monitors and instruments, as well a flame detectors, capable of detecting both toxic and combustible gases at low concentrations in the harshest of environments.

Designed for diverse applications, we have the safety solution to meet your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more.