A new report published by the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) details the efforts of researchers to determine the suitability of commercially available real-time portable gas detectors in monitoring methylene chloride in the presence of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paint strippers, such as methanol and isopropanol. The researchers hoped to help prevent exposures to harmful or fatal concentrations of methylene chloride during the use of paint strippers.
According to the report, high sensitivity photoionization detectors (PIDs) with high-energy UV lamps are about 30 times more sensitive than those with low-energy UV lamps, and both are cross-sensitive to the other VOCs investigated. These detectors may allow “reasonably accurate measurement” of methylene chloride, researchers found, noting that the concentration of methylene chloride in the vapor phase is typically much greater than the other VOCs.
Earlier this year, OSHA and NIOSH released a hazard alert warning of the dangers of methylene chloride-based stripping agents for bathtub refinishers. The agencies reported that at least 14 worker deaths related to methylene chloride exposure have been recorded since 2000.
Read the full research report on HSE’s website.