Breathe through your nose: natural gas is not toxic
Let's bust the myth: Natural gas may smell like rotten eggs, but it is not toxic.
Natural gas is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is a non-toxic, non-corrosive gas that poses no health risk if breathed. It has been shown that it is the lack of oxygen in the air and not the natural gas that can cause discomfort.
When a leak occurs inside a building, it is important to open doors and windows to ventilate the room. In a closed environment, the concentration of natural gas can become too high and replace the oxygen in the air you breathe. It can then become asphyxiating through oxygen deprivation.
This situation is very rare, as natural gas is lighter than air. In the open air, natural gas dissipates quickly into the atmosphere. This is why it is important to open doors and windows if you suspect a leak.
Why does it smell like rotten eggs?
Natural gas is odourless, but for safety reasons an odourant, mercaptan, is added to natural gas to give it a strong rotten egg smell. This odour makes it possible to quickly detect the presence of natural gas, even at a concentration as low as less than 1% in the air.