Pulmonary effects of acute exposure to degradation products of sulphur hexafluoride during electrical cable repair work

A Kraut, R Lilis
1990 Occupational and Environmental Medicine  
Six electrical workers accidentally exposed to degradation products of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) during electrical repair work were followed up for one year. One degradation product, sulphur tetrafluoride (SF4), was identified from worksite measurements. Unprotected exposure in an underground enclosed space occurred for six hours over a 12 hour period. Initial symptoms included shortness of breath, chest tightness, productive cough, nose and eye irritation, headache, fatigue, nausea, and
more » ... , nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms subsided when exposure was interrupted during attempts to identify the cause of the problem. Although exposure ended after several hours, four workers remained symptomatic for between one week and one month. Pulmonary radiographic abnormalities included several discrete areas of transitory platelike atelectasis in one worker, and a slight diffuse infiltrate in the left lower lobe of another. One worker showed transient obstructive changes in tests ofpulmonary function. Examination at follow up after one year showed no persistent abnormalities. Preliminary data from this paper were presented at the VIIth international pneumoconioses conference. Pittsburgh, PA, August 1988. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), a heavy, colourless, and odourless gas of high chemical stability, was first synthesised in 1902.' It is an effective scavenger of electrons and can efficiently retard electrical conduc-
doi:10.1136/oem.47.12.829 fatcat:htnj5ce4gffsvfl32dnnxsoi24