Toxic Seaweed

A number of beaches in northern France are not safe for use due to the presence of toxic seaweed. Nitrates have contaminated the water and the seaweed. When the seaweed is washed up on the beach it rots, as it rots it produces hydrogen sulfide. When the crust that forms over the rotting seaweed is disturbed the gas, which is as poisonous as cyanide, is released. A worker paid to clear one beach was overcome and remains in a coma. Another instance involved someone riding a horse, the rider was rendered unconscious and the horse died. I guess life's not just a walk on the beach anymore.
     Posted By: patty - Thu Aug 06, 2009

who knew? seaweed that emits poisonous gas as it rots, how long till someone tries to use it to deliberately poison people? and we thought acid rain was bad. i didn't understand the nitrates thing. isn't that in hot dogs and other processed meats? does anyone get that?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/06/09 at 05:11 PM
thank you df. i just quoted the article on sky news (it always makes me think of skynet from terminator) they made it sound like polutants had permeated the seaweed so that when it decomposed it put off a toxic gas. they said it was more deadly to animals, but that locals had been sickened in many instances as well. the cyanide thing was stated by a quoted source in the article but i don't doubt your word you're always right anyway. just enviromentalist propaganda then i guess. again thanks for the info sweetie you're the best! 😊
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/06/09 at 08:21 PM
There are many different nitrates, and many different cyanides, and many different sulphides. "As toxic as cyanide" is not a very meaningful comparison by itself -- some cyanides are not toxic at all. The articles specifies a particular sulphide, hydrogen sulphide, but the nitrates and cyanide are unspecified.

Now I finally got the article to load I see it actually says "Pierre Philippe, of the Lannion hospital in Brittany, said hydrogen sulphide was as dangerous as cyanide." Well, I can't argue with that, since some cyanides are not in the least dangerous. Hydrogen sulphide is toxic.

"A crust forms over stacks of rotting seaweed and when this crust is broken, fumes get out. It can be particularly lethal to dogs and other animals."

Okay, that could happen. There isn't a lot of information in the story (unfortunately common with news articles) but as news stories go, I've seen worse....

-Cougar :{)
Posted by Cougar Allen on 08/06/09 at 09:02 PM
so does hydrgen sulfide have toxic effects or is it only dangerous in high concentrations because it suffocates by repacing oxygen going into the lungs?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/06/09 at 09:29 PM
dumbfounded where are you love? lets hear your voice on this.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/06/09 at 09:31 PM
Hmm ... wikipedia makes a much more specific comparison: "The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide."
Posted by Cougar Allen on 08/06/09 at 09:42 PM
cool cougar! this, according to wiki, is the gas that japanese people were manufacturing by mixing household chemicals in order to commit suicide.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/06/09 at 10:00 PM
Next read up about the Permian mass extinction. Mwahahahahahaha!
Posted by Cougar Allen on 08/06/09 at 11:22 PM
I, for one, am deathly afraid of dihydrogen oxide. The stuff is just plain evil and should be banned from use around the globe and any/all stockpiles should be destroyed immediately!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/07/09 at 03:25 AM
expat as soon as i saw your name i just knew... so i googled it. :lol:
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/07/09 at 07:53 AM
Cccccan't ssseem 2B abble 2 kkkeep mmmy fiiiiingerrrsss frrroomm twwwiittccchhhiiinnngggg........
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/07/09 at 09:47 AM
@Patty: What did you find?
@Dumbfounded: Frenchmen.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/07/09 at 09:49 AM
hi dumbfounded! i read in one article that we have enzymes that resist h2s for a bit, but it is still deadly in higher concentrations.
expat i found out it is h2o. 😊
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/07/09 at 03:45 PM
Dihydrogen oxide? I haven't heard of that ban in a while. Funny how no one catches on to it, and when you finally explain it they just stare at you in disbelief. Oh well. But it does remind me of my favorite chemistry based poem...

Simon was a chemist,
Simon is no more.
What Simon thought was H2O
Was H2SO4.

Maybe this is proof that even God doesn't like the French. LOL!
Posted by DownCrisis on 08/08/09 at 12:00 AM
i could easily have misread it df. science is not my forte but i enjoy you guys explaining this stuff to me.

downcrisis, baby! so i gotta know, what's h2so4?
the french usually have their noses up in the air so they should be relatively safe walking the beaches anyway.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/08/09 at 12:36 AM
H2SO4 is more commonly known as sulfuric acid. Yummy!

And since noxious fumes rise having your nose up in the air still won't help. 😊
Posted by DownCrisis on 08/08/09 at 08:50 PM
i stand by a previous comment (not on this thread) smart men are sexy as hell, that's why i love wu! i feel surrounded by them here! 💋
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/08/09 at 09:47 PM
great minds think alike! 😉
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/09/09 at 10:35 PM
From "Toxic Gases from Manure Pits" by R. O. Crapo (no, I am not making this up)...

"A farmer entered a recently partially drained manure pit to retrieve a lid kicked into the pit by a cow, and rapidly became unconscious. Two sons entered the pit to attempt a rescue; one succumbed and the other escaped to call for help. The county sheriff responded accompanied by the barber who had been cutting his hair; they sequentially entered the pit and rapidly collapsed. An ambulance attendant also entered and collapsed, but was retrieved by a rope around his waist and revived rapidly. The barber was fished out with a rope around his arm and was revived by CPR. The others were retireved by firemen using self-contained breathing apparatuses, and were pronounced dead at the scene; autopsies showed heart blood sulfide ion concentrations of 0.8, 3.6 and 5.0 mg/l, consistent with acute H2S toxicity. Later analysis suggested the H2S concentration at the time of the incident was over 500ppm. Two of the fatalities had massive manure aspiration, the other had severe pulmonary edema without aspiration."

Maybe that tale of the worker drowning in the sludge wasn't so apocryphal after all. According to "Principles of Clinical oxicology" there's even a chronic condition brought on by exposure to H2S from manure, it's charmingly called "Dung Lung".
Posted by Dumbfounded on 08/10/09 at 08:35 AM
Oops, here's the link!
Posted by Dumbfounded on 08/10/09 at 08:36 AM
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