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Dried fruit
Sulphur dioxide has a wide range of uses, but if you don't monitor it, life won't be very sweet.

What is sulphur dioxide – how is it used & how can it be monitored?

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a colourless gas with an irritating pungent smell, that is a common air pollutant.

The main source of SO2 in the air comes from industrial activity that processes materials that contain sulphur (S), such as the generation of electricity from coal, oil or gas, as well as being emitted from fossil fuel combustion at power plants.

What are the uses of sulphur dioxide?

SO2 is widely used in many industrial areas, including in the manufacturing of sulphuric acid (H2SO4), which is mainly consumed for fertilisers, but also applied in the production of detergents, synthetic resins, dyes, pigments, pharmaceuticals, insecticides and antifreeze.

It is sometimes used as a preservative for dried apricots, dried figs, and other dried fruits to maintain their colourful appearance and prevent rotting.

It is also a good reducing agent, and can decolourise substances and bleach materials such as clothes, wool or straw.

Other uses of SO2 include it being utilised as a fumigant, disinfectant and refrigerating agent.

How does sulphur dioxide affect human health?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the permissible exposure limit for SO2 is 5ppm over an eight hour period. However even at 0.25ppm it can trigger exacerbation of asthma, respiratory irritations and breathing difficulties.

Long term exposure to even low levels of SO2 can decrease lung function, aggravate existing heart or lung disease and increase complications for people suffering from asthma.

Exposure to higher concentrations can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and corrosive damage to the airways and lungs.

How can sulphur dioxide be monitored?

The MEC range provides sensors with an RS485 output, which is ideal if digital inputs are required. These sensors can be easily integrated into your building management system, and will help you monitor the level of SO2 in the atmosphere.

We also offer bespoke solutions for monitoring sulphur dioxide.

For more information about our gas monitoring solutions contact our sales team.

Author: Araminta Hartley, Content Writer

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Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.

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