Glycol-based fluids are used in the production of theatrical smokes in theaters, concerts, and other stage productions. The fluids are heated and dispersed in aerosol form to create the effect of a smoke, mist, or fog. There have been reports of adverse health effects such as respiratory irritation, chest tightness, shortness of breath, asthma, and skin rashes. Previous attempts to collect and quantify the aerosolized glycols used in fogging agents have been plagued by inconsistent results, both in the efficiency of collection and in the chromatographic analysis of the glycol components. The development of improved sampling and analytical methodology for aerosolized glycols was required to assess workplace exposures more effectively. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration versatile sampler tube was selected for the collection of ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, 1,3-butylene glycol, diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, and tetraethylene glycol aerosols. Analytical methodology for the separation, identification, and quantitation of the six glycols using gas chromatography/flame ionization detection is described. Limits of detection of the glycol analytes ranged from 7 to 16 µg/sample. Desorption efficiencies for all glycol compounds were determined over the range of study and averaged greater than 90%. Storage stability results were acceptable after 28 days for all analytes except ethylene glycol, which was stable at ambient temperature for 14 days. Based on the results of this study, the new glycol method was published in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods.
Gas-liquid-chromatography; Gas-sampling; Chromatographic-analysis; Glycols; Aerosol-dispensers; Aerosol-particles; Aerosol-sampling; Respiratory-infections; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-disorders; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Analytical-chemistry; Analytical-processes; Analytical-methods; Statistical-analysis