Anhydrous sulfur dioxide gas is often distributed through merchant wholesalers who receive shipments by rail for repackaging into smaller containers. This bulk distribution system poses unnecessary dangers. To avoid the safety and security hazards of sulfur dioxide gas, user companies increasingly generate sulfur chemicals on-site or purchase less hazardous forms. Industries primarily use sulfur dioxide to produce other chemicals (40 percent), bleach pulp and paper (20 percent), process food (16 percent), and treat wastewater (10 percent). These major uses can be met without bulk transportation and storage of sulfur dioxide gas. Large industrial users frequently install sulfur-burning equipment and generate their own sulfur chemicals as needed. Indeed, well over half of global sulfuric acid production comes from burning elemental sulfur at its place of use. Smaller facilities purchase alternatives such as sodium hydrosulfite, bisulfite, or metabisulfite, depending on the application. These alternatives can be supplied by companies that never store or transport sulfur dioxide gas.
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