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Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 8
sensory effects. However, the effects are not disabling and are transient and reversible upon cessation of exposure.
AEGL-2 is the airborne concentration (expressed as ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience irreversible or other serious, longlasting adverse health effects or an impaired ability to escape.
AEGL-3 is the airborne concentration (expressed as ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is predicted that the general population, including susceptible individuals, could experience life-threatening health effects or death.
Airborne concentrations below the AEGL-1 represent exposure levels that could produce mild and progressively increasing but transient and nondisabling odor, taste, and sensory irritation or certain asymptomatic, non-sensory effects. With increasing airborne concentrations above each AEGL, there is a progressive increase in the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of effects described for each corresponding AEGL. Although the AEGL values represent threshold levels for the general public, including susceptible subpopulations, such as infants, children, the elderly, persons with asthma, and those with other illnesses, it is recognized that individuals, subject to idiosyncratic responses, could experience the effects described at concentrations below the corresponding AEGL.
Sulfur dioxide is a colorless gas at ambient temperature and pressure. It can be detected by taste at concentrations of 0.35-1.05 ppm and has a pungent, irritating odor with an odor threshold of 0.67-4.75 ppm. Sulfur dioxide is used in the production of sodium sulfite, sulfuric acid, sulfuryl chloride, thionyl chloride, organic sulfonates, disinfectants, fumigants, glass, wine, industrial and edible protein, and vapor pressure thermometers. It is also used during the bleaching of beet sugar, flour, fruit, gelatin, glue, grain, oil, straw, textiles, wood pulp, and wood. Sulfur dioxide is also used in leather tanning, brewing and preserving, and in the refrigeration industry. It is a by-product of ore smelting coal, and fuel-oil combustion, paper manufacturing, and petroleum refining (WHO 1984).
Sulfur dioxide is an irritant of the upper respiratory tract and eyes. Conjunctivitis, corneal burns, and corneal opacity may occur from direct contact with high concentrations of sulfur dioxide. Death from respiratory arrest may occur from acute over-exposure, while survivors may develop bronchitis, bronchopneumonia, and fibrosing obliterative bronchiolitis. Bronchoconstriction accompanied by increased pulmonary resistance may be asymptomatic or may occur with high-pitched rales. Moderate exposure may result in a prolonged expiratory phase. Respirable particles, cold air, dry air, exercise, and