Nitrite as antidote for acute hydrogen sulfide intoxication?Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1981 Nov; 42(11):805-9.AI
The detoxification of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by a heme catalyzed oxidation was examined as part of an on-going study of H2S toxicity. Interlocking O2 absorption and sulfide depletion data indicate that both oxyhemoglobin and methemoglobin are effective catalytic agents. Although the latter is more efficacious, the life time of excess sulfide in the presence of oxygen and either of the above is of the order of minutes. It has also been established that the formation of methemoglobin following nitrite administration occurs preferentially under oxygen poor conditions. Under an atmospheric or oxygen enriched environment, which favors sulfide depletion, the nitrite retards sulfide oxidation. Thus nitrite as an antidote for acute H2S intoxication can only be effective within the first few minutes after the exposure, at which time resuscitation and/or ventilation of the victim is likely to produce conditions in which the nitrite actually slows sulfide removal.