A MUM believes an overflow pipe is leaking “highly toxic” hydrogen sulphide gas into her home – but the lettings says claims there is no “serious cause for concern”.

Julie Parker claims since being exposed to the substance, everything “tastes of gas” and she can only sleep for two or three hours at a time in her bedroom through fear of inhaling ‘the gas’ for prolonged periods.

The 58-year-old, along with her daughter, moved into a two-bed rental home in Raglan Street, Worcester, at the end of last year through agents Leaders.

A spokesman for the agency said “thoroughly vetted and highly experienced contractors” have examined the property, while Environmental Health and Property Standards have also completed independent reviews based on information given to them.

“They support our contractors’ conclusion that there is no significant cause for concern,” they said.

Ms Parker claims two weeks ago she was “blasted in the face” by rotten egg smelling gas after touching brown specks on a pipe running hot water to the sink tap in her en suite.

This immediately caused her eyes and mouth to sting and her tongue to become sore, before her lips went numb and tingly and her chest tightened, she said.

She also developed a cough, dry mouth and there was an “awful taste in my mouth”.

Around 11 hours later at 3am, she said she woke to find “all my symptoms had worsened” – including “my mouth being so dry my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth and felt as though I’d burned it on hot coffee”.

Ms Parker went into the bathroom to splash her face with water and rinse her mouth and claims the smell was stronger.

She phoned the lettings agents who sent out a plumber who could not remove the sink components and applied WD40 “making the air even more noxious” despite Ms Parker warning she was asthmatic.

Still unable to remove the components, the plumber then apparently removed the en suite sink from the wall.

Ms Parker said he suggested her symptoms could be due to the “overuse of bleach” which she said she rarely uses, before he increased the temperature of the upstairs and downstairs boilers/water heaters.

On moving in, Ms Parker said there was a faint rotten egg smell, but she was told by a plumber that it was methane likely due to a crack or damaged seal in the toilet pipe.

With no further response from the lettings agents Ms Parker said she had no further response from the lettings agent and feeling hers and her 30-year-old daughter’s “situation was obviously being ignored” began her own investigation.

Her research has led her to believe her symptoms were “likely caused by the release of ‘sewer gas’” which includes hydrogen sulphide and ammonia – “that are both highly toxic”.

She said: “I discovered that it is hydrogen sulphide that produces the smell, which is caused by decomposition of matter.

“What is disturbing is that a hot water heater can aid the conversion of sulphate in water to hydrogen sulphide gas which is due to the heater providing a warm environment for the sulphate bacteria to live in.”

“As well as maintaining the reaction between the sulphate in the water and the water heater anode/element, if it is made from magnesium.”

Ms Parker said the gas is also corrosive to plumbing and she believes as she had to have the hot water storage tank replaced as it was “badly corroded” that that may be another indicator that hydrogen sulphide is present.

She also found that when heating elements or hot water tanks degrade, insulation can break down and short out electricity to the tank’s metal casing – increasing the likelihood of “intermittent” electric shocks when touching the shower head.

Ms Parker said herself and her daughter had both received static electricity shocks when brushing against the water hose in the shower and she had also got a “higher level” shock in her thumb from turning the shower off.

Meanwhile, a week after the “blast” to the face she was still waking up with the same symptoms, with some, such as the tight chest, increasing.

“No matter what I eat or drink, even plain water, it tastes of gas,” she said, adding that she is “exhausted” from lack of sleep due to fear of spending too much time upstairs inhaling the gas.

“I am setting my alarm so that I do not sleep for more than two or three hours at a time.

“I have even slept for part of several nights in a chair downstairs and by Saturday [September 28] evening, in need of sleep, I decided to turn the extractor fan on for a couple of hours to see if the fumes would dissipate enough for me to sleep upstairs.”

However, on going back into the en suite, Ms Parker found a “dreadful, sickly smell” which she understands meant a higher concentration of hydrogen sulphide gas.

“If I had simply turned the fan on and left it running while I slept all night, as suggested by the plumber, the consequences could have been catastrophic,” she said.

A Leaders spokesman said: “We want all of our tenants to feel confident and comfortable in their homes, so we are working with Ms Parker and her landlord to establish a solution to this problem that Ms Parker is completely satisfied and comfortable with.

“We are, however, confident that all safety procedures have been followed and that Ms Parker’s home is both safe and compliant to gas safety standards.”