Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:15:44 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**>
From: cchelton**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Portable Gas Detectors
In-Reply-To: <1320035195.55665.YahooMailClassic**At_Symbol_Here**>

I am an Industrial Hygienist with a background I analytical chemistry. I would suggest that you look at instruments that use photoionization detectors rather than combustible gas sensors. These instruments measure in the range of.  OSHA exposure limits. The question you will have to answer most often is whether or not an odor is related to a.  Health risk. In my experience you will be able to use your chemistry back ground to make an educated guess narrowing the possible candidate odorants and the instrument to measure the ppm. Th redings can then be compared to exposure limits. Google RAE instruments for more info. They also have an extensive library of correction factors to relate the generic measurement to specific chemicals.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-----Original Message-----
From:         Todd 
Sender:       DCHAS-L Discussion List 
Date:         Sun, 30 Oct 2011 21:26:35
Reply-To:     DCHAS-L 
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Portable Gas Detectors

Hi Mario,

There are several excellent brands of portable multigas detectors readily available. Most analize Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Flammables (LEL), and one other gas(usually Sulfur Dioxide). Aspirating basic or acidic gases will usually ruin the unit.

Besides handheld monitors there are also stationary units to be installed in problem areas, hallways, etc.

Another option would be personal meters that analyze only one thing - i.e. oxygen content, flammables (LEL), etc. These are less expensive, but can be just as good an option depending on your needs.

If you're looking for something to analyze the air and determine for you what gases are present - essentially a gas chromatograph - that is a much more complicated and costly piece of equipment and not very portable.

Airgas, as one of the largest suppliers of safety equipment in the US, as well as being the largest US owned manufacturer and distributor of gases has many options for the first three types of meter in our online and hard-copy catalogs. (

The "portable" GCs are specialty items from analytical instrument manufacturers, and not something we handle.


Todd Perkins
Regional Safety Director
Airgas - Mid America

--- On Sun, 10/30/11, Garcia-Rios Mario  wrote:

From: Garcia-Rios Mario 
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Portable Gas Detectors
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2011, 6:47 PM
Hello Everyone,

I recently became the first CHO at my institution and
joined the ACS DCHAS.  The LISTSERV has already
provided me with valuable information.  Our institution
is small and Chemistry is a "service" area to the rest of
the College (including a small Biology Program).  Last
week we had a report from a staff member of a "strong and
ugly odor" coming from a chemistry lab.  The staff
member called Public Safety and they called me. It turns out
that the lab tech had just prepared reagents containing
cyclohexane.  After the incident was determined to be
"minor", the Public Safety Chief told me that his office
used to have a Portable Gas Detector, but that said detector
was lost. Can any of you recommend such a device? Brand?

Thanks in advance for any assistance,


Mario G. Garcia-Rios, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biology and Chemistry
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Mount Ida College
777 Dedham Street
Newton, MA 02459
(617) 928-4061

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