Cinnaminson, New Jersey, November 10th
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) describes hydrogen cyanide (HCN) as a colorless or pale-blue liquid or gas with a bitter, almond-like odor. It is a liquid below 78°F (25.6°C) and a gas above 78°F.
Hydrogen cyanide is produced on an industrial scale for use in many industries. It is used commercially for fumigation, electroplating, mining, chemical synthesis, and the production of synthetic fibers, plastics, dyes and pesticides. It has even been used as a chemical warfare agent in the past and has the military designation of AC. Not surprisingly, NIOSH reports that exposure to hydrogen cyanide can be fatal. Exposure can interfere with the body’s use of oxygen and may cause harm to the brain, heart, blood vessels and lungs. As such, workers may be harmed from exposure with the level of exposure depending upon factors such as the dose, duration and work being done.
Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to hydrogen cyanide according to NIOSH include:
- Workers who commercially fumigate ships and buildings
- Agricultural workers who fumigate outdoor pests in areas such as fruit orchards
- Factory workers in industries that manufacture acrylic fibers, synthetic rubber and plastics
- Steel and iron workers who work in plants that harden iron and steel
“Routes of potential exposure include ingestion, inhalation, skin contact and eye contact,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “To protect workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for hydrogen cyanide and NIOSH has a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). To help in these efforts, EMSL’s industrial hygiene laboratories offer testing services, sampling supplies and monitoring instruments to identify hydrogen cyanide and many other industrial chemicals.”
EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about hydrogen cyanide and potential occupational exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ijFzrQKZEws
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, air quality, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800)220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.