ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO ORGANIC SOLVENTS IN CHEMICAL LABORATORIES
Introduction: The vapor of some reagents and organic solvents are the major agents of indoor pollution in chemical laboratories. Therefore students and technicians who work in these polluted places are exposed to high concentrations of these kinds of VOCs. Chloroform, dichloromethane, carbon tetrachloride are applied in laboratories as chemical solvents. Since mentioned compounds have various side effects, personal exposure of these VOCs should be monitored.
Materials and methods: In this study, personal exposure to chlorinated organic solvents in breathing zone of chemical laboratory technicians and students were monitored by diffusive personal samplers. After exposure, the chemical substances collected on sorbing cartridges were desorbed and analyzed by GC/MS.
Results: The mean values of chloroform in breathing zone of all groups were significantly greater than two other organic solvents. Moreover carbon tetrachloride had the least concentration. The mean values for exposure of chlorinated organic solvents in breathing zone of occupationally exposed groups were significantly greater than the occupationally non-exposed groups but below the 2000 ACGIH TLV. Significant differences were indicated in three studied groups monitoring for chloroform and dichloromethane (Pvalue< 0.05).Conclusions: From the results of this pilot study, it seems that indoor air in chemical laboratories of universities is in the acceptable condition. It should be noted that chronic exposure to these compounds in occupational environments is justified enough to monitor the VOCs continually