Follow the same procedures for posting the area where cork fumigation takes place as for barrel fumigation. Monitor the air in the fumigation area to assure that the SO2 level stays below 2.0 ppm.
Place a plastic bag into the cork loading equipment and fill the bag with corks. Begin the plastic bag heat-sealing process. Before completing the heat sealing, insert the SO2 gas tube into the bag and open the cylinder hose valve for 2 to 3 seconds. Remove the gas tube and complete the heat sealing. Place a “SO2 Fumigated” label on the bag. Allow at least 24 hours to pass before using treated corks.
AVOIDING HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH SULFUR DIOXIDE FUMIGATION
The handling of SO2 cylinders and the use of SO2 gas have certain hazards that you must learn to avoid to protect yourself and others.
Keep cylinders upright at all times and secured so they will not fall over during storage or while you are using them. Keep the steel bonnet on the cylinder and remove it only when performing a fumigation operation. When not in use, remove the hose and be sure to screw the steel bonnet back onto the top of the cylinder. When a cylinder is empty, tightly close its valve by turning to the right, disconnect the hose, and replace the bonnet. Promptly return empty cylinders to the supplier. Never use cylinders for any other purpose.
Never subject cylinders to rough handling or mechani- cal shock such as dropping, bumping, dragging, or sliding. SO2 cylinders have fusible plugs (heat sensitive plugs) that will rapidly release the gas if the temperature of the cylinder reaches 165°F. Therefore, never expose cylinders to any heat source, including hot water. Do not store cylinders near flam- mable material, near inlets of a ventilating or air conditioning unit, near any source of direct heat, or in a subsurface location. If a sudden release occurs, evacuate the work or storage area until monitoring equipment indicates there is 2.0 ppm or less SO2 concentration in the ambient air. Until reaching the 2.0-ppm threshold, you and anyone else must wear an approved respirator if you have to enter the area. If pos- sible, move the leaking or damaged cylinder outdoors or to an isolated location. Work upwind if feasible. Get immediate medical attention for anyone who has inhaled the gas, even if exposure symptoms are not readily apparent.
Working with SO2 Gas
Inhaling SO2 gas can be fatal if inhaled in high concentrations, so avoid breathing the vapor. Anyone with a history of respiratory problems should avoid any amount of exposure. Sulfur dioxide is an eye, nose, and throat irritant even at low levels. If tearing or upper respiratory tract irritation symptoms occur, leave the fumigation area immediately.