Should I be concerned about a “rotten egg” smell in my home or workplace?
There are a couple of potential common causes of a rotten egg odor. These include a natural gas leak or the presence of "sewer gas" in the vicinity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise:
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the house immediately. Notify emergency authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark.
- Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so. [http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/injury/facts.asp]
A rotten egg smell may also be associated with the presence of sewer gas. The following Web sites provide information on sewer gas:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: ToxFAQs for Hydrogen Sulfide:
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services: Sewer Gas:
Illinois Department of Public Health: Environmental Health Fact Sheet: Hydrogen Sulfide Gas:
If the smell is coming from outdoors, you may want to contact your public works department to inquire about a possible sewer main break.
Find answers to frequent questions or submit your question about indoor air quality at:
More information may be obtained from your Regional EPA office. Each regional office contains documentation and statistics on environmental issues in the states they have jurisdiction over. The regional and state indoor air quality contacts are listed at: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/whereyoulive.html
If this is a workplace issue, you may also want to contact the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). "OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health."
A directory of Regional & Area Offices is available at:
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20210
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- Topic #: 23002-20244
- Date Created: 7/18/2006
- Last Modified Since: 5/9/2013
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