Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1985;11 suppl 1:33-43    pdf

Air contamination exposure measurements of organic solvents--past and present.

by Guillemin MP

The increase in industrial development and advanced manufacturing processes has lead to a comparative increase in the use of solvents for cleaning and maintenance and in their use as constituents of certain manufactured products and for various other purposes. The strategy and methodology for the sampling and analysis of solvents have developed drastically during the last two decades. The introduction of solid sorbents has allowed the use of tubes and badges, which have promoted personal sampling. The performance of pumps (for active sampling) has increased, and the weight of pumps has decreased. Passive sampling is still under study to establish its advantages and limitations but has already shown to be very useful in many situations. Stationary sampling finds its application in control effectiveness assessments or in circumstances where personal sampling is not feasible. Gas chromatography is certainly one of the most frequently used methods for analyzing solvents. There are however many other analytical methods available, but they have to be selected according to the species considered and to many other factors, such as the purpose of the measurements, the available instrumentation, the field characteristics, etc. The rapid growth of microcomputers and the improvement in miniaturization have favored the development of direct-reading instruments of all kinds. These instruments may be very helpful to the industrial hygienist since they give a quick response, but their apparent simplicity may lead to their misuse.