Don’t Fret, Field Practioners: You Are Not Alone

In the hustle and bustle of today’s work environment, many times it feels absolutely impossible to get everything done at the level we want it done. To describe the work of field consultants as “multitasking” seems like an understatement. You meet with your clients, develop a plan, conduct field testing, follow up with recommendations, and answer questions—usually for several clients at once. But these may not be the things you are worrying about most. It’s those things you don’t have total control over that represent the most significant chance of failure, letting your clients down, and ultimately losing their trust and their business. You ask yourself: How am I going to get the gas monitor to the job site? If it doesn’t start or breaks down, how will I replace it? If I’m not on the job site, will monitoring be performed up to my company’s standards? While on a job site, how will I get access to real-time data that I really need to do the job right? And am I using the newest and best technology to get the job done most efficiently and effectively? While these are legitimate concerns, you don’t have to feel or act alone. Before selecting an IH laboratory to partner with, do your due diligence to see if they can be just that: a partner in getting the job done right. In this day and age, laboratories can no longer be considered a commodity. There are significant differentiating factors. Some labs will loan and rent you the equipment you need, take full responsibility for transportation, act on the dime if equipment malfunctions,...
My Trip to Shanghai

My Trip to Shanghai

Since early August, 2014, Galson Labs has been a part of SGS, a global company providing inspection, verification, testing, and certification services. Although Galson has always had global clients, being part of a company with more than 1,650 offices and labs in 141 countries has been eye opening.  Thankfully, in the six months since we were bought, I have found SGS to be huge, but very collegial. The increase in available resources provided by SGS has meant that when a client asks ‘Do you have a footprint in (insert country name here)?”, the answer is very likely to be ‘Why yes, yes we do”.  However, determining how deep and broad that footprint might be, and who is the best person to interact, has meant that I have leaned on people who are unfamiliar with us and have other jobs besides answering my questions.  Thankfully, in the six months since we were bought, I have found SGS to be huge, but very collegial (a marked difference from other global companies for whom I have worked). Working with our US clients to identify and provide an offshore IH resource has become a larger part of my role, and one I have been enjoying very much. One of the other neat things about being acquired by SGS is that Galson is seen as a “Center of Excellence” by SGS for Industrial Hygiene. SGS has major IH labs in the United States, Spain, Brazil, and China, along with smaller IH facilities within labs in other countries.  One of the reasons we were bought is to transplant the programs and procedures that have endeared...
PPI Sampler Allows for Analysis of Thoracic Fraction of Sulfuric Acid Mists

PPI Sampler Allows for Analysis of Thoracic Fraction of Sulfuric Acid Mists

Since 2004 the ACGIH TLV for sulfuric acid of 0.2 mg/m3 has carried with it a ‘T’ endnote, indicating that this TLV applied to the portion of the mist being sampled capable of penetrating the pulmonary tract into (and beyond) the Thoracic region.  This lower TLV (as opposed to the OSHA PEL of 1.0 mg/m3) is based on the theory that the farther a substance can penetrate into the respiratory tract, the more harmful it becomes.  Trying to sample the thoracic fraction of a sulfuric acid mist has caused hardships since a practical method did not really exist. The thoracic fraction is defined as particulate having a 50% cut point diameter of 10 microns, as opposed to the 4 micron 50% cut point of the respirable fraction, and the 100 micron cut point of the inhalable fraction. This means that when using a device to measure the thoracic fraction, 50% of the particles having a diameter of 10 microns or larger are captured. In practical terms this means that particles large enough to be captured by the body’s defenses prior to entering the thoracic region are screened during the breathing process. The current OSHA procedure for measuring the total concentration of sulfuric acid calls for sampling on a standard 37 mm MCE filter at 2 LPM, followed by analysis using ion chromatography.  Using this method, if the results of this sampling fall below the thoracic TLV, then you can assume you have no problem.  Similarly, a high result above 1 mg/m3 indicates a problem that needs to be fixed, thoracic or not. As with all industrial hygiene analyses, it...
PPI Sampler Allows for Analysis of Thoracic Fraction of Sulfuric Acid Mists

PPI Sampler Allows for Analysis of Thoracic Fraction of Sulfuric Acid Mists

Since 2004 the ACGIH TLV for sulfuric acid of 0.2 mg/m3 has carried with it a ‘T’ endnote, indicating that this TLV applied to the portion of the mist being sampled capable of penetrating the pulmonary tract into (and beyond) the Thoracic region.  This lower TLV (as opposed to the OSHA PEL of 1.0 mg/m3) is based on the theory that the farther a substance can penetrate into the respiratory tract, the more harmful it becomes.  Trying to sample the thoracic fraction of a sulfuric acid mist has caused hardships since a practical method did not really exist. The thoracic fraction is defined as particulate having a 50% cut point diameter of 10 microns, as opposed to the 4 micron 50% cut point of the respirable fraction, and the 100 micron cut point of the inhalable fraction. This means that when using a device to measure the thoracic fraction, 50% of the particles having a diameter of 10 microns or larger are captured. In practical terms this means that particles large enough to be captured by the body’s defenses prior to entering the thoracic region are screened during the breathing process.The current OSHA procedure for measuring the total concentration of sulfuric acid calls for sampling on a standard 37 mm MCE filter at 2 LPM, followed by analysis using ion chromatography.  Using this method, if the results of this sampling fall below the thoracic TLV, then you can assume you have no problem.  Similarly, a high result above 1 mg/m3 indicates a problem that needs to be fixed, thoracic or not. As with all industrial hygiene analyses, it is...

SGS Galson Laboratories Now Offers a Formaldehyde Home Testing Kit

I wrote you recently with my reaction to a 60 Minutes story that high levels of formaldehyde are being released from wood laminate flooring made in China and sold through Lumber Liquidators.  Since then, the New York Times also has chimed in. Without re-hashing the gory details, there’s no doubt that these stories have caused alarm among those who have purchased this flooring. After all, formaldehyde is classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, To help homeowners get the information they need, SGS Galson Laboratories now offers a simple kit to test formaldehyde levels in homes. It costs as low as $99 and a home owner can readily determine if the levels are safe or if they need to call in an IAQ expert to assist. We try to make it as user-friendly as possible with simple instructions and offer a turn-around time for results in three days or less. You probably spend most of your professional time at work sites but if you get questions from homeowners, we’re here to help.  The SGS Galson Laboratories Formaldehyde Home Testing Kit can be ordered by calling 888-432-5227 and we have a web page with more detailed information.  Let us know if we can...

Should I test for formaldehyde after watching 60 Minutes?

I did not watch the 60 Minutes segment Sunday regarding excess formaldehyde off-gassing from laminate flooring made in China and sold in the US by Lumber Liquidators. The first I heard of it was in our weekly conference call Tuesday where it was related that our Customer Service group was fielding an amazing number of phone calls from concerned homeowners wondering if they had contracted cancer from their floors.  It was decided that a blog was appropriate and either Ed or I should write something.  I won and went back, watched the segment, and read the various resulting news stories.  These are my thoughts on the situation: 1)      If you have this type of flooring you are no doubt suffering from anxiety and I really can’t blame you given the tone of the segment.  It is easy to determine if you are being exposed to high levels of formaldehyde by calling SGS-Galson and obtaining a formaldehyde passive monitor. Since you will be looking for non-occupational levels of formaldehyde, I recommend using the Assay Technology 571 passive monitor.  The badge with analysis will cost you $87/each.  I recommend putting a badge in each area where the flooring has been installed, leaving it in place for 24 hours, and returning it to SGS-Galson for analysis.  You will get your results in five business days from the time we get your samples back at the lab.  These results will tell you if you have a problem. 2)      You do not need to evacuate your home if you have this flooring.  Unless you have a specific sensitivity to formaldehyde that could cause respiratory...
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