van Kesteren PCE, de Knecht JA, van Iersel PWC, te Biesebeek JD, Palmen NGM, Bakker J, Puts CF, Guichelaar SK
RIVM Report 2017-0102
As natural gas is odourless, an odorant is added to detect the release of gas and prevent explosions. The odorant (tetrahydrothiophene) that is currently used contains sulphur. So as not to add to current levels of sulphur in the environment, Gasunie Transport Services has investigated the possibility of adding another sulphur-free fragrance: Gasodor S-Free. Because of the extensive use of natural gas, it is important that the potential risks of this product are thoroughly evaluated. RIVM has not been able to find sufficient information to determine whether the use of Gasodor S-Free as an odorant in natural gas is safe. There is a concern that this product can cause allergic reactions if inhaled. Any application of Gasodor S-Free, therefore, should be discouraged until the possible risk of allergic reactions has been clarified. RIVM provides recommendations about which investigations could be conducted to assess the risk of these reactions more comprehensively.
Gasodor S-Free is a mixture of three substances, mainly ethyl acrylate and methyl acrylate (together 95 percent or more), and a small percent of 2-ethyl-3-methylpyrazine. The possible consequences of the two main components cannot be judged properly based on current knowledge. Ethyl acrylate and methyl acrylate are known to irritate the respiratory tract, but the low concentrations in intended use of Gasodor S-Free do not exceed standards. Nor are they carcinogenic. However, it is known that both substances can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic effects could also occur if the substance is inhaled, but this cannot be evaluated based on the available information. There is also insufficient information available on the adverse effects of the third substance (2-ethyl-3-methylpyrazine) for an assessment of the possible effects on humans and the environment to be made.