The properties of natural gas, the quality of the appliances that use it and the codes that regulate its use make it one of the safest sources of energy available. The Gaz Métro distribution grid is one of the most modern in North America and a team of experts ensures its maintenance. It is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In its natural state, natural gas is odourless
Sulphur-based mercaptan is an organic compound added to give natural gas a smell like that of rotten eggs. This allows it to be detected in the air at concentrations of less than 1%.
Natural gas is not toxic
Medical research has shown that people can breathe air with up to a 25% concentration of natural gas without any harmful effects. It is the lack of oxygen in the air and not natural gas that might cause illness.
Natural gas is lighter than air
If natural gas escapes into the air, it simply rises into the atmosphere. It does not accumulate on the ground like propane gas.
Natural gas does not ignite easily
It would take a very high temperature (538°Celsius) for natural gas to catch fire. However, it will ignite if there is a 5-15% concentration of natural gas in the air and someone uses a lighter, or if there is a static discharge caused by a switch.
If you'd like to learn more about the basic rules of using natural gas, consult Safety - Basic rules.