Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 08:52:20 -0600
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**>
From: "Ryan, Patrick" <patrick.ryan6**At_Symbol_Here**MONTANA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Portable Gas Detectors
In-Reply-To: <**At_Symbol_Here**b26.c32.bise6.blackberry>


PIDs are great instruments, but remember their 2 primary limitations: (1) they will not identify specifically what a substance is, and (2) they will not detect a substance whose ionization energy is greater than that of the installed bulb.  The 3 bulbs in common use are the: 9.8 (eV), 10.6 (eV) , and 11.7 (eV).

Patrick Ryan - CHMM
Chemical Safety Officer
Safety & Risk Management
Montana State University
Tel: (406) 994-7803
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of cchelton**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 8:16 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Portable Gas Detectors

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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