Is Propane Toxic?

Date: November 17, 2023

Understanding Safe and Nontoxic Propane

propane tennessee Propane gas is a perfect choice for those who strive for safety and environmental responsibility because it is not only nontoxic, it produces minimal emissions, according to the nonprofit Propane Education and Research Council. Propane is also harmless to soil or groundwater – an important element for being considered a “green” fuel.

Propane is also classified as a low-carbon fuel that does not adversely contribute to the greenhouse effect. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, propane ranks as one of the lowest in carbon emissions per million BTUs.

Is Propane an Energy Efficient Fuel?

Fuel efficiency is crucial for any product to be considered an environmentally friendly energy source. Increased efficiency means decreased harmful emissions, and propane is one of the most efficient fuels around, with many propane appliances rated 90% efficient or higher. In other words, you get more bang for your buck with propane, both financially and energy-wise.

Propane Safety

While propane gas itself is nontoxic, it can displace the air in a person’s lungs when inhaled, making it difficult to breathe in the unlikely event that someone if exposed to propane gas in high concentrations. To put it another way, propane hogs up the air in the lungs that a person needs to breathe. But symptoms related to propane vapor exposure stem from oxygen depletion, not from any toxic attributes of the propane itself.

Here are just a few of the reasons why propane is one of the safest ways to power your home:

  • Propane leaks are easy to detect due to their strong rotten egg odor (the smell is due to the ethyl mercaptan that manufacturers add to the naturally odorless gas). If you detect the odor or propane, be sure to follow proper propane safety instructions.
  • The propane industry is regulated by strict federal compliance codes, along with numerous state and municipal fire and safety laws.
  • Propane will not ignite until the air reaches 940° F. Propane has the lowest flammability range of all alternative fuels (2.4– 9.5%). There must be a very specific combination of propane and oxygen for propane to burn.
  • If liquid propane ever leaks, it vaporizes into the air, leaving no mess and no toxic burden on the environment; propane cannot contaminate water or soil.
  • Propane tanks are constructed from carbon steel, under procedures developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. They are 20 times more puncture resistant than tanks filled with gasoline.
  • All propane cylinders with capacities between four and 40 pounds must be equipped with an Overfilling Prevention Device (OPD) that cuts off the filling process when the tank reaches 80% capacity. This gives the gas room to expand safely if outdoor temperatures rise.
  • All propane cylinders and tanks must be equipped with a pressure relief valve that opens to reduce excessive internal pressure in abnormal conditions.

The bottom line: propane is one of the safest sources of energy around – not to mention one of the most versatile and efficient ways to power just about any equipment you need to keep your family safe and comfortable in any season.