What would happen if we were to breathe in hydrogen? You know, that gas that's in Jupiter and Saturn's atmosphere....
Just a question that popped up during biology and my teacher said she wasn't in the mood for any "Stasi questions" (I sometimes tend to be a real airhead...=D) Please help me out here!
Thanks in Advanced! =+D
- SVALLv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
Hydrogen poses a number of hazards to human safety, from potential detonations and fires when mixed with air (it is very flammable; the Hindenburg was full of it) to being an asphyxant in its pure, oxygen-free form. In addition, liquid hydrogen is a cryogen and presents dangers (such as frostbite) associated with very cold liquids. Hydrogen dissolves in some metals, and, in addition to leaking out, may have adverse effects on them, such as hydrogen embrittlement (which is a process through which some metals become brittle and break when exposed to hydrogen). Hydrogen gas leaking into external air may spontaneously ignite. However, hydrogen fire, while being extremely hot, is almost invisible, and thus can lead to accidental burns.
- campbelp2002Lv 71 decade ago
Hydrogen is generally considered as safe, apart from the physical risks which arise from flammability. [Safety note: there are reputed to have been cases in which, as part of a chemistry show, hydrogen has been inhaled instead of helium in a demonstration of the "Mickey Mouse voice" effect. Inhalation of hydrogen is a dangerous practice in view of the possibility of explosive reaction of the hydrogen-air mixture either outside or within the body, caused by static electricity discharge. Reports of accidents during the inhalation of hydrogen may be cases of "urban myths", but there is clear potential for a serious or fatal accident, and hydrogen should not be used for this.
- CirricLv 71 decade ago
Hi. You would actually be breathing H2, molecular hydrogen. Nothing bad would happen as H2 is not poisonous. Just keep the O2 away! I did breath some after an electrolysis experiment. Still here!
- 1 decade ago
Well, you sure as hell wouldn't want to do it if you were anywhere near a source of ignition, but other than the danger of explosion, there probably would be no harm -- as long as it was just one lungful, and you breathed regular air right after. It would have the same affect on your voice as helium, only higher-pitched yet.
Key word is "probably". I can't think of any kind of harmful reaction other than burning, but I'm not a doctor, either.
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- Space CowboyLv 41 decade ago
Excellent question! If your Biology teacher was in fun mood she probably would have said "your voice would get a little higher than breathing in Helium."
- 1 decade ago
Your body has evolved to use oxygen to fully oxidize carbon compounds (like sugar) into CO2 to extract a large amount of energy from catabolizing those many-carbon molecules.
If you breathed in H2, your body couldn't use it, and you would breathe it right out (it wouldn't react with the porphyrin rings in your blood cells, unlike some gas molecules, like carbon monoxide). You would suffocate from not getting in oxygen. Just like if you breathed in too much helium.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
um, well you remember how we need oxygen to live? well if werent breathing oxygen we would die.
if we could life off of hydrogen there would be some bad side effects. for one it would bond with oxygen and create water in our lungs...thats bad.
also, we would be very, very flammable.
- 1 decade ago
Good luck with breathing, you'd be dead...