A study compared the effects of inhalation of 5 ppm hydrogen sulfide (50% of its occupational exposure limit) on the physiological and hematological responses of healthy men and women during exercise. Subjects were 13 men (mean +/- SD for age, height, and weight = 24.7 +/- 4.6 yr, 173 +/- 6.6 cm, 73.1 +/- 8.1 kg, respectively) and 12 women (mean +/- SD for age, height, and weight = 22.0 +/- 2.1 yr, 165 +/- 8.2 cm, 63.4 +/- 8.6 kg, respectively). Subjects completed two 30-minute exercise tests on a cycle ergometer at 50% of their predetermined maximal aerobic power while breathing medical air or 5 ppm H2S from a specially designed flow system. The results indicated that there were no significant differences between the two exposures for the metabolic (oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide production, respiratory exchange ratio), cardiovascular (heart rate, blood pressure, rate pressure product), arterial blood (oxygen and carbon dioxide tensions, pH), and perceptual (rating of perceived exertion) responses in either sex. None of the subjects reported any adverse health effects subsequent to the H2S exposure. These results suggest that healthy men and women can safely perform moderate intensity work in environments contaminated with 5 ppm H2S.