Methane gas: An invisible danger
When exposed to methane gas, people may experience a range of effects on their health, some of which may be long-term.
It has no odor and no color, and following a massive leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, methane caused numerous problems for Porter Ranch residents. Although many have heard of methane, few know what it is or what may happen if they are exposed to it. In order to help protect themselves, however, it is important that people understand the possible symptoms and effects of methane exposure.
What is methane gas?
Methane is a type of common greenhouse gas and is the primary component of natural gas. It is a mixture of carbon and hydrogen. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, methane is produced by raising livestock, among other human activities. It also occurs naturally, particularly in wetland areas, through the anaerobic bacterial decomposition of animal and plant matter.
What are the symptoms of methane gas exposure?
As a result of methane exposure, people may experience a range of effects. When people are exposed to this asphyxiating gas in high concentrations, it may displace their oxygen supply, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This could cause suffocation, which could lead to brain injuries or death.
Additionally, methane exposure may cause:
A number of Porter Ranch residents also experienced rashes, nosebleeds and wheezing.
What are the Effects of Methane Gas on Human Health?
Due to methane gas exposure and poisoning, people may suffer from a range of long-term effects including:
- Cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological problems
- Development of epilepsy, pneumonia, claustrophobia and heart problems
- Memory loss and depression
The lasting effects that people may experience vary based on the type and duration of the exposure, among other factors.
Consulting with an attorney
When people are exposed to methane gas in high concentrations, as was the case in Porter Ranch, they may suffer from a range of medical ailments. These often require medical treatment and, in some cases, time away from work while they get control of their symptoms. Often, this leads to unexpected medical expenses and lost wages. Depending on what caused the exposure, the gas company or others may be held liable for these, and other damages.