Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So Much For Sulfur

All we have been hearing for some time now from Steven Jones is how the only explanation for traces of sulfur at Ground Zero is the use of thermate, despite the fact that thermate has never been used in building demolitions, while ignoring all other possible sources of sulfur. It is in this context that I noticed this article this morning on the environmental hazards of hydrogen sulfide in the Wall Street Journal, so I e-mailed Herr Jones a copy, on the likely assumption that he is not a subscriber.

So as not to run afoul of the Journal’s copyright, I will only excerpt the pertinent parts here.

Hydrogen sulfide is produced when organic material containing sulfur decomposes, such as in sewage. It can also be produced from chemical reactions. The gas is readily found in the Earth's crust and in extremely low levels in the atmosphere. In dumps specializing in construction and demolition debris it can be produced when gypsum, the main ingredient in wallboard, decomposes.

After several hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast in the 2004 and 2005 seasons, millions of tons of wet construction debris were hastily dumped in pits, quarries and landfills in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana, says Lynn Wilder, an environmental health scientist with the agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Because many homes were damaged, a higher-than-normal percentage of the demolition debris contains gypsum. Already, complaints have cropped up around some of these facilities and U.S. and state investigators are monitoring several sites.

So, instead of the presence of sulfur in building materials being anomalous, as Jones seems to think, it is present in such large quantities as to be a serious health hazard.

I am not expecting a response to my e-mail any time soon.

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