I've heard about people dying from being "intoxicated" (I'm not sure if thats the term) from smelling their own farts.

There is a story of a man that actually died:

A terrible diet and room with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas. There was no mark on his body but an autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system. His diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple of other things). It was just the right combination of foods. It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been fatal, but the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. According to the article, "He was a big man with a huge capacity for creating 'this deadly gas.'" Three of the rescuers got sick and one was hospitalized.

Note: While this has been attributed as the 1993 Darwin Award Winner, the Darwin Award site describes it as apocryphal.

Can your own farts kill you?

  • 1
    The claim doesn't appear to be notable at all. – Nicole Mar 20 '12 at 15:53
  • if the room would be truly airtight, wouldn't he die because of CO2 (toxic at 0.036%) from breathing out, rather than methane farts? – vartec Mar 23 '12 at 14:16
  • A farmer's family died from the methane in a manure pit because the ventilation system broke. For a human, in a room, you would have to know how big the room was and how much gas they produced. I would say it would have to be a very small room, almost coffin size, and very air-tight. – Chloe Mar 25 '12 at 6:31
  • @Chloe: I guess then you'd suffocate first, wouldn't you? – Hendrik Vogt Mar 25 '12 at 14:22
  • @Hendrik Vogt Suffocating is dying. If you mean suffocate from CO2, not necessarily, if he produced methane faster than CO2. – Chloe Mar 26 '12 at 6:57

MythBusters episode 48 says no, or at least not within any sensible timeframe.

*They calculated how long it would take to reach deadly concentrations from other components of flatus:

Methane (deadly at 2%): 441 days Hydrogen sulfide: 22 years*

  • 6
    Please note: Mythbusters is entertainment and not peer-reviewed research. As such, it's probably not a very good source of information. – Sklivvz Mar 21 '12 at 0:36
  • 4
    @Sklivvz yes, but it is a single result based on one experiment in the public eye, so it can be a placeholder answer until something more definitive comes along. – Jeff Atwood Mar 21 '12 at 21:07
  • @JeffAtwood agreed. – Sklivvz Mar 21 '12 at 21:16

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