How Can I Monitor My Workers’ Exposures to Solvent Fumes?

This shows an air quality monitoring badge used for measuring the nPB vapors in the air around the environment of the vapor degreaser.

This shows an air quality monitoring badge used for measuring the nPB vapors in the air around the environment of the vapor degreaser.

Fumes from Bromothane™ fluids (or any nPB-based cleaner, from any vendor) can be hazardous if there is significant over-exposure to the fumes. Monitoring the fumes is an important part of a company’s worker safety program. The hazards associated with n-propyl bromide vary by the extent of the exposure. Short-term over-exposure can lead to skin and eye irritation, dizziness or headaches. Long-term tests show effects on fertility in laboratory animals.

First, let’s remind everybody that proper storage, usage and handling procedures, including drum pumps and personal protective equipment, should be used to avoid short-term overexposures especially when there is the potential for splashing or skin contact. Suitable eye protection should be worn to protect against eye contact.

Given that premise, for the Bromothane™ products only, MicroCare requires an annual air quality sampling program as part of the MicroCare product stewardship program. All Bromothane users are required to conduct a simple workplace exposure test using air-monitoring badges to assure worker safety. The use of the badges and the collection of this data memorializes worker exposure levels and to some degree immunizes a company’s against liability in the event of a spurious health claim.

Badges also are available for the HFC and HFE solvents as well, but their toxicity ratings are much higher (safer) than the Bromothane™ cleaners so these badges are rarely used.

Exposures badges are an easy way for the employee to go about their daily routine while wearing the badge to determine the exposure to a chemical. After wearing the badge for 8 hours, the badge is sent to an independent lab to determine exposure levels.

For more information, contact your MicroCare representative.