A massive apartment complex near where I live is being fumigated with Vikane gas (sulphuryl flouride, $\ce{SO2F2}$). The process will take a long time (weeks) because there are a lot of buildings, and their tents appear to have rips in them, clearly visible: several neighbors have complained of symptoms of exposure to the gas, and I'm worried about it in my home. Obviously we should try to get them to stop / etc., but that's a matter of law and politics not meant for a chemistry site.

In the meantime, what I would like to know is if there is any safe way I can use to pull the gas out of the air if it should waft its way into my home. My understanding is that activated charcoal will not work for this molecule. I've heard that either strong bases (usually photo-developing chemicals are mentioned) or heavy water vapor reacts with the gas; but I'm not sure what that reaction is, or if it would result in something better or worse than the gas itself. I've tried Googling but with just a high school chemistry exposure some decades ago, I can't make much headway. Please note that I do not have access to any chemicals or machines I can't readily buy in a nearby store. My goal is to turn it into some liquid or solid, or bind it to such, so that I can't breath it in.

  • $\begingroup$ Pumping all the air in your house through a system is going to take a fairly serious set of fans, much less continuously running a system to try and remove the gas from all the surrounding air as quickly as it diffuses in. $\endgroup$
    – Aesin
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ I guess I should have clarified; I realize it's unfeasible to remove all trace of the stuff; I just want to mitigate damage as much as possible. For instance, they're also spraying Termidor (fipronil), which has carbon chains. I put out activated charcoal and set a few fans blowing, just to try to pull out of the air what it can. $\endgroup$
    – jdowdell
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Without some sort of high-performance fan/filter system, it's going to be seriously difficult to mitigate things to any significant extent. Here's a kicker for you: the gas you refer to is significantly denser than air, and will tend to sink. Unless you spend a lot of time near the ground (or have small pets), putting lots of fans without a dedicated filter system will probably kick the gas up and increase your exposure. $\endgroup$
    – chipbuster
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


Sulphuryl Fluoride is chemically fairly stable, considering it's a pesticide - toxic effects are caused by chemical reactions which means they can't be inert.

However, according to the Vikane documentation, it's not UV stable. UV lighting is fairly widely available, but TBH a sunny day will do far more.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So is the chemical stable or unstable? You contradict yourself. $\endgroup$
    – Dissenter
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 16:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Dissenter: Rad my answer again. Chemically stable, not UV stable. There's a reason I qualified both uses of "stable". $\endgroup$
    – MSalters
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 21:43

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