How much hydrogen sulfide is safe?

Editor’s note: This letter is addressed to two Winnebago County Board members.

Ms. Owano and Mr. Horstman:

From what I have heard concerning the public meeting for the William Charles asphalt plant, the mentioning of the very toxic gas hydrogen sulfide generated by an asphalt plant was curtailed. This does not reflect the “Good Neighbor” attitude projected by William Charles. Shame on you if you vote “yes.”

The same ATAST study estimates that the nearby APAC hot-mix asphalt plant, typical of the 140-plus asphalt plant located across the state, emits hydrogen sulfide at 0.7 pounds/hour. Material Safety Data Sheets for asphalt plants list hydrogen sulfide as a hazardous ingredient of common hot mix asphalt (


Since the EPA recommends a chronic RfC for hydrogen sulfide of 1ppb, ask William Charles how many cubic meters of air would be contaminated with hydrogen sulfide if just 1/100th of that amount was released into the environment during an eight-hour workday. What would the answer be when they run 24 hours/day?

Thank you for your “NO” vote to especially protect the health of children.

Bruce Blair

From the Oct. 5-11, 2011, issue