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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Sargassum seaweed: limit the exposure of residents and workers to hydrogen sulphide

Published on 09/11/2018

Since August 2014, the French Caribbean and French Guiana have been experiencing successive waves of Sargassum seaweed washing up on their coastlines. Despite the efforts made to clean it up, the seaweed decomposes in situ. This leads to the production of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which can sometimes be detected at high concentrations. Doctors' reports concerning the health effects suffered by people exposed to H2S, and complaints from the general public relating to the problem of odours, have increased sharply. Following a request from the Ministries of Health, the Environment and Labour, in March 2016 ANSES published an initial expert appraisal on the emissions from decomposing Sargassum seaweed. In 2017, this expert appraisal was supplemented by a revision of the toxicological profile of H2S and a summary of the ecology, accumulation, chemistry and decomposition of Sargassum seaweed.

Keywords : Sargassum seaweed

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