The health hazards that could result from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas depend mainly on the level of its concentration and the duration of exposure, Dr. Hamad Al-Shatti, consultant of occupational health at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry said.
"Inhalation of the gas could result in inflammations in the eye, nose and throat while serious cases could lead to suffocation," Dr. Al-Shatti told KUNA. He advised the residents to remain indoors until the gas leak is put under full control and the chest patients to be more careful and check with their doctors if need be.
In similar statements to KUNA Deputy Director-General of the Public Environment Authority (EPA) for the Environment Affairs Ali Haidar said the measures adopted by KOC to control the situation are "fully sound and meet the internationally-recognized safety regulations." "KOC's technical teams, in collaboration with the EPA experts, burn the hydrogen sulfide emitting from the damaged oil well and detect the concentration levels of the gas countrywide," he said.
"The readings of air pollution, taken by the EPA show that the concentration levels vary from one area to another but don't pose health hazard," Captain Haidar affirmed. "Things will be back to normal after the completion of the gas burning operation and controlling the ensuing smokes," he added. Meanwhile, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Mohammad Al-Kandari said no decision was made to halt schooling as a result of the gas leak.
"The Ministry received no warning in this regard from the EPA, which is the local environment watchdog; so schoolchildren and students have to go to school as normal tomorrow Thursday," Al-Kandari noted. He added that the medical teams at schools are well-trained and ready to offer first aid if need be and the school clinics are well-equipped for handling any emergency.