Huntington Beach, California, December 19, 2022
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) describes phosgene as a chemical intermediate used in the production of aniline dyes, polymeric isocyanates, insecticides, pharmaceuticals and metallurgy. It is also listed as a degradation product of chloropicrin, a broad-spectrum soil fumigant.
As a colorless gas at room temperature (70º F), phosgene is heavier than air, but is sometimes stored as a liquid under pressure or refrigeration. It has the odor of freshly cut hay.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that workers may be harmed from exposure to phosgene. Exposure may cause irritation to the eyes, dry burning throat, vomiting, cough, foamy sputum, breathing difficulty and chest pain. In liquid form it can cause frostbite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that exposure to phosgene may also cause delayed effects that may not be apparent for up to 48 hours.
Some examples of workers listed by NIOSH that may be at risk of being exposed to phosgene include:
- Workers in plants where dyes are manufactured
- Manufacturing workers who use it in the production of polymers
- Workers who use it to make pesticides
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing workers in production plants
- Workers who use it to separate ores
- Welders who use it to clean with chlorinated solvents
“Phosgene was even used in World War 1 as a chemical choking agent and has the military designation of CG,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “To protect workers in industries where they could be exposed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for phosgene and NIOSH has a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). In California, LA Testing offers industrial hygiene and environmental testing for phosgene and many other chemical hazards. These services help to safeguard workers and keep companies in regulatory compliance.”
LA Testing recently sponsored an educational video about phosgene and potential occupational exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/KYFEskM01_4
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, air quality, environmental, health and safety testing services and supplies, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for environmental, industrial hygiene and indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.