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What is the difference between Residential and Commercial Gas Detectors and why should Residential Detectors NOT be used in Commercial or Industrial Applications?

What is the difference between Residential and Commercial Gas Detectors and why should Residential Detectors NOT be used in Commercial or Industrial Applications?

Commercial gas detectors can be as much as 100 times the cost of residential gas detectors, making the residential models financially tempting, especially for large area applications. However, there are some important differences in performance, diagnostics, regulatory standards, and configurability between the two that make using residential models in commercial or industrial environments insufficient, dangerous and unlawful.

 

Enclosures

Residential detectors are built to withstand standard household temperatures and activities, which means they are typically made of regular low impact plastic, are not waterproof or IP rated and are mounted on the wall and forgotten about. If used in a commercial setting, the enclosure alone probably wouldn’t survive a year.

Commercial detectors need to be able to endure all types of conditions such as heat, cold, water, dust, regular maintenance and possible damage from vehicles, machinery or vandalism. Commercial gas detector enclosures are typically rugged, waterproof, IP rated, locking and will last for years in mild to harsh environments.

 

Sensors

Residential gas detector sensors are tested before they leave the manufacturing plant and do not require calibration after they are installed. Commercial gas detectors are calibrated before they leave the manufacturing plant and require a regular maintenance schedule that includes bump tests and full calibrations to ensure the device is working properly and accurately sensing gas levels.

Residential sensor technology is basic as no specialized features are required. Likewise, the protocols are basic and often follow an OFF/ON pattern whereby the sensor takes readings at intervals.

Commercial sensor technology is required to be more advanced because of the demands of the environments the sensors are placed in and the information needed to be obtained from them. Commercial sensors are continuously monitoring the air and they may be placed in humid, cold or fluctuating temperatures or spray down environments. There are many sensing technology types (electrochemical, semiconductor, infrared, catalytic, etc.) that have different sensing ranges, lifespans, resolutions, compensations, and are better suited sensing certain gas types in different applications.

 

Functionality / Configurability

Residential gas detectors are basically maintenance free and once installed don’t require any changes to their pre-programmed settings. The alarm is set on a timed basis and in the event there is a gas leak, it will alarm only after a time-weighted duration of over 60 minutes. Meaning in general, if the gas reading is above the average exposure allowed over an eight hour period for longer than an hour, then the alarm will sound. (Of course, if the gas reading skyrockets over a certain level, the alarm will sound sooner.)

Commercial gas detectors will alarm immediately at one or more pre-determined gas levels, usually referred to as a low alarm and high alarm. Some detectors have a mid-alarm level set point as well. These detectors can also be configured to do many other things such as start or stop ventilation systems, trigger remote strobes/horns, network with each other, communicate with a BAS or a controller, dial emergency response, data log, etc.

 

Ratings / Certifications and Regulatory Authorities

Residential and commercial gas detection devices are regulated by national organizations such as UL, ANSI, CSA, EMC, local and federal building code, etc. for safety and performance and each must meet different certification standards. Additionally, the standards for commercial devices are further standardized depending on use, such as non-hazardous and hazardous applications. Failure to use the correctly rated equipment in the correct application could seriously jeopardize the health and safety of people and lead to very expensive legal issues.

Then there are the regulatory authorities such as OSHA and NIOSH who have established codes and standards for permissible exposure limits to hazardous gases in the workplace, which differ from the standards set out for residential houses.
In conclusion, residential and commercial gas detection equipment is significantly different in their functionality, physical abilities, required certifications and compliance with local and national codes and standards. One should not be substituted for the other in applications they are not approved or intended for. It is important to understand what features and benefits the different types of gas detectors offer, where and why they should be used, and the rules and regulations that govern that use to ensure that the health and safety of human lives is protected properly and with due diligence.

 

For suggestions on gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors and calibration, please visit

www.critical-environment.com

 

Written by Rebecca Erickson

References
Sensor Insights. The Difference Between Industrial, Commercial and Residential Sensors
Mike Justice, Grid Connect. June 12 2015
http://www.sensorsmag.com/sensors-products/difference-between-industrial-commercial-and-residential-18338

Posted in Educational, Environment, NewsComments Off on What is the difference between Residential and Commercial Gas Detectors and why should Residential Detectors NOT be used in Commercial or Industrial Applications?

Gas Detection Best Practices at Work

Gas Detection Best Practices at Work

Most work place accidents could be prevented with proper working gas detection equipment. Gas detection is a critical component for safety programs for any environment; it should be given the highest priority and attention to detail to avoid any accidents and unnecessary work place injuries or deaths.

Here are some suggestions on how to keep your work environment safe:

1.   Read the gas level before entry. Conditions can change rapidly. A controller reading the gas level should be placed outside the room. Workers can view the reading prior to deciding if it’s safe to enter.

2.   Make sure the gas detector is detecting the right types of harmful gases for the environment.

3.   Regular maintenance is mandatory for the equipment to be working at its best. Equipment that has been stored for a long time can be improperly serviced or outdated this can cause the equipment to fail or give false readings.

4.   Have the work place tested for odors. This can be caused by the following: dead animals, gas leaks, hidden mould growth, cracked sewer lines, rotting or decaying vegetation.

5.   Have the work place tested after a fire. Fires have the potential to generate lots of contaminants which linger for a long time. These contaminants are airborne as well as surface. For your safety, do not come back in until it has been inspected and tested.

6.   Keep your environment clean and dust free. Keep it cleaned regularly and have proper storage for chemicals.

Indoor air quality is extremely important to everyone’s health and should be taken seriously! Everyone should do whatever it takes to make their work environment safe.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch

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References

ABM Environmental Inc. 2010. Web. 11 May 2012. <http://www.abmenvironmental.ca/>.

EnviroMed Detection Services.Web. 11 May 2012. <http://www.enviromed.ca/>.

Savetech Environmental Ltd. 2010. Web. 11 May 2012. <http://www.safetechenv.com/>.

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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Versus Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Versus Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are often mistaken for one another. Both gases are odourless and colorless and target the cardiovascular system. Both gases can enter the body through inhalation, skin and / or eye. Similar symptoms that both gases have in common are headaches, dizziness, seizures, and hallucination.

Most people have a hard time determining the difference and do not realize that vehicle exhaust emits both CO and CO2. In an indoor environment, this build-up of gas can be hazardous to the health and safety of the individual exposed to it.

CO has been referred to as the “Silent Killer” (The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide). Once CO is inhaled, oxygen levels are displaced in the blood causing vital organs to starve. Therefore, causing people to suffocate and lose consciousness.

CO2, on the other hand, is referred to as “hypercarbia or hypercapnia” (Carbon Dioxide Poisoning). Since our blood expels CO2, inhaling more CO2 would cause the inability for the body to expel the gas.

Additional differences in CO and CO2 are addressed in the table below:

Carbon Monoxide Carbon Dioxide
Doesn’t occur naturally in the atmosphere Occurs naturally in the atmosphere
Result of oxygen starved combustion in improperly ventilated fuel-burned equipment Natural by product of human and animal respiration, fermentation, chemical reactions, and combustion fossil fuels/woods
Generated by any gasoline engine WITHOUT a catalytic converter Generated by any gasoline engine WITH a catalytic converter
Common type of fatal poisoning Poisoning is rare
Flammable gas Non-flammable gas
Symptoms: confusion, nausea, lassitude, syncope, cyanosis, chest pain, abdominal pain Symptoms: dyspnea, sweating, increased heart rate, frostbite, convulsion, panic, memory problems
Target organ: lungs, blood, central nervous system Target organ: respiratory system
Based on the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards, the permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 50 parts per million (ppm). Based on the OSHA standards, the PEL is 5,000 ppm
Based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standards, the recommended exposure limit (REL) is 35 ppm. Based on the NIOSH standards, the REL is 5,000 ppm

NOTE: Sources for the table above are referenced from Buzzle.com, CO2Meter.com and NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.

Since it is extremely difficult to detect CO and CO2 gases based on the symptoms alone, installing a gas detector is suggested. There are a large range of detectors available on the market; therefore, choosing the right one that suites your need is ideal. Choose a gas detector from a manufacturer that is reputable and has their products tested by certain standards such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), etc.

For suggestions on a fixed gas detection system, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch

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References

Bose, Debopriya. “Carbon Dioxide Poisoning.” Buzzle.com. 26 December 2011. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/carbon-dioxide-poisoning.html>.

Bose, Debopriya. “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.” Buzzle.com. 2011. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-causes-symptoms-and-treatment.html>.

“CO and CO2 – What’s the difference?” CO2Meter.com. 27 August 2009. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/1209952-co-and-co2-what-s-the-difference>.

“Dangers of CO2: What You Need to Know.” CO2Meter.com. 25 October 2011. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/4418142-dangers-of-co2-what-you-need-to-know>.

“The Danger of Carbon Monoxide.” Silent Shadow: Silent Killer. 2004. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.silentshadow.org/>.

“Exposure to CO2 Leads to Fear of Suffocation.” CO2Meter.com. 12 January 2010. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/1417162-exposure-to-co2-leads-to-fear-of-suffocation>.

“NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 04 April 2011. Web. 01 June 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/default.html>.

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Importance of Air & Water Testing in Indoor Pools

Importance of Air & Water Testing in Indoor Pools

Have you ever wondered why your eyes hurt or why you have a cough after swimming at an indoor pool? We all assume that it’s from too much chlorine in the pool but that is false!

If the pool staff doesn’t regularly test and monitor both the air and water indoors, the environment becomes very toxic and unsafe to everyone in the building. Water is an essential ingredient for all life as we know it, and unfortunately that means that many different organisms thrive in untreated pool water.

Untreated pool water rapidly deteriorates and cause many irritants to all users and employees; such as stinging eyes, nasal irritation, coughing, wheezing, e-coli, guardia, and asthma. These toxins (by products) are created when chlorine binds with sweat, urine and other wastes from swimmers. As the concentration increases in the water, these toxins then move into the surrounding air. Without enough fresh air flow over the water, the pool & air will become saturated with these toxins.

If you or your child plans on using an indoor pool, it’s a very good idea to shower with soap before you enter the water and after. With children you should check often if they need to use the bathroom and never change your child’s diaper on the pool side.

The most common disinfectant used in pools is Chlorine and is available as a pure gas, mixed in a granular powder or liquid form. Chlorine is an odorless gas but the chloramines’ compounds resulting from its interaction with ammonia or organic contaminants have the strong odor typically associated with chlorinated pools.

This is why it’s so important to test the air & water at indoor pools. Some indoor pools will use special UV ultra violet light or ozone for treatments in addition to chlorine disinfection to improve air & water quality. Most pools will monitor all levels for any chemical used to treat & maintain toxins to ensure the health and safety for all users and employees. Most indoor pools will have a ventilation system in place; the key is to make sure there is lots of fresh air flow into the pool areas. In order to monitor the ventilation, pools will install fixed gas detectors to monitor ammonia, chlorine and / or ozone depending what is used as a treatment.

For suggestions on fixed gas detectors, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch

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References:

Barlowe, Barrett. “What Are the Dangers of Indoor Swimming Pools?” Livestrong.com. 14 June 2011. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/258007-what-are-the-dangers-of-indoor-swimming-pools/#ixzz1ekIDtD2Z>.

Barlowe, Barrett. “Swimming Pool Chemical Treatment.” Livestrong.com. 14 June 2011. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/231589-swimming-pool-chemical-treatment/#ixzz1ekJgTyY6>.

“Irritants (Chloramines) & Indoor Pool Air Quality.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 12 April 2010. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/pools/irritants-indoor-pool-air-quality.html>.

“Leak Detection on Indoor Swimming Pool in Essex.” Professional Swimming Pools. 20 January 2012. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.professionalswimmingpools.com/2012/01/leak-detection-on-indoor-swimming-pool-in-essex>.

“The Hazards of Swimming Pool Chemicals.” Professional Swimming Pools. 2010. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.professionalswimmingpools.com/psp-services/members-area/pool-chemicals/the-hazards-of-swimming-pool-chemicals>.

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Bedbug Problem? Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Solution.

Bedbug Problem? Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Solution.

Bedbug infestation is an extremely common problem worldwide.

Bedbugs are small, nocturnal parasites that feed off of warm blooded animals and humans. They can survive in a wide range of temperature, low humidity and live for a year without eating. Adults can measure up to 5 mm in length and up to 3 mm wide. They are attracted to carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in human respiration and body warmth. Bedbugs can cause health issues such as skin rashes, allergies, and psychological effects.

Bedbugs can be detected with CO2 gas or a bucket of dry ice to lure the bedbugs to come out of hiding. Usually they are hard to find but infestation can be determined after being bitten or by finding fecal matter, molts and blood smears on the linens. Usually, bedbug bites do not appear right away but takes a week before red welts show up. The most common style of bedbug bites come in a line of three, also known as “breakfast, lunch and dinner” (Bed Bug Bites Symptoms).

Earlier we stated that bedbugs are attracted to CO2; however, high concentrations of CO2 will kill them. If bedbugs are discovered, get an exterminator that uses cryonite to spray down the surface and cracks. Cryonite is a compressed CO2 snow that is non-toxic but kills many pests by freezing them. When CO2 snow hits the surface at normal temperature, it evaporates and turns into CO2 gas. CO2 is poisonous to humans at high concentrations; therefore, if a fixed CO2 detector is not installed, using a handheld CO2 monitor while using cryonite is a good idea.

Based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, common symptoms of CO2 exposure include dizziness, headache, poor sleep, lassitude, anxiety, ocular changes, coronary heart disease, gastritis, kidney and liver damage, eye and skin burns, and dermatitis. These symptoms will occur only if the NIOSH standard’s recommended exposure limit (REL) and / or Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standard’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) exceed 5,000 ppm.

For suggestions on fixed or portable gas detectors, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch

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References:

“CO2 Finds, Kills Bedbugs.” www.co2meter.com. 08 September 2010. Web. 05 March 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/1958042-co2-finds-kills-bedbugs>.

“Bed bug.” Wikipedia. 24 February 2012. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug>.

“Bed Bug Bite Symptoms.” What Do Bed Bugs Look Like. 11 November 2011. Web. 05 March 2012. <http://www.whatdobedbugslooklike.net>.

“Bed bug infestation.” Wikipedia. 20 February 2012. Web. 05 March 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug_infestation>.

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The Hazards of Being in a Beauty Salon

The Hazards of Being in a Beauty Salon

There are many health risks associated with the beauty industry due to the chemicals found in the products. We are all affected by these chemicals every time we go to the beauty salon. Many of the products found in these salons are classified as hazardous and extreme caution should be taken into consideration when using these products. They’re made for professional use only; therefore, users must be trained and certified to be handling these products. A proper ventilation system needs to be in place at all salons for the safety of everyone entering the salon and / or exposed to the hazardous chemicals in the products.

Some common side effects of some of the products include (but not limited to) dermatitis, asthma, and eye and throat irritation. Hazardous chemicals can enter the body by swallowing, inhaling, and through the skin. The severity of reactions depends on the length and frequency of exposure to these products, the toxicity of the substance, and the route of entry into the body.

Examples of salon products containing hazardous substances:

Hair dyes, bleaches, permanent wave solutions, shampoos, hair styling agents, brow and lash tints, chemical peels, peroxides, wax solvents, disinfectants, cleaning products, keratin treatments, nail enamels and hardeners, nail polish removers and solvents, nail tips and wraps, acrylic and gel nail systems.

Examples of Hazardous Chemicals:

Formaldehyde: Also known as methanal, methyl aldehyde or methylene oxide, causes neurotoxicity and allergic reactions. Irritations to the eyes, nose, throat, skin, and respiratory tracks are common symptoms.

Based on the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards, the permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 0.75 parts per million (ppm).
Based on National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standards, the recommended exposure limit (REL) is 0.016 ppm

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) & Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA): Irritates the eyes, mucous membrane, and respiratory tract and is highly toxic.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for MMA is 100 ppm and not yet determined for EMA.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for MMA is 100 ppm and not yet determined for EMA.

Dibutyle Phthalate: Commonly found in synthetic fragrances and some plastics. It will cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs and irritation to the eyes, stomach and upper respiratory system.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for dibutyle phthalates is 5 mg / m3.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for dibutyle phthalates is 5 mg / m3.

Solvents (Acetone, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Xylene, and Toluene): Causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, and irritability.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for acetone is 1,000 ppm, 200 ppm for methyle ethyl ketone and toluene, and 100 ppm for xylene.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for acetone is 250 ppm, 200 ppm for methyle ethyl ketone, and 100 ppm for toluene and xylene.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethylamine (TEA): Used as foaming agents, synthetic emulsifiers. They are HIGHLY acidic and cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are ammonia compounds, which are potent carcinogens, can also strip away vital amino acids.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for DEA is not determined and TEA is 25 ppm.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for DEA is 3 ppm and TEA is 10 ppm.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Found in the majority of shampoos, to create lather and bubbles. These sulfates are generally derived from petroleum which causes eye and scalp irritation and tangled hair.

The PEL & REL has not yet been determined by the OSHA and NIOSH standards.

Paraben (methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl): Found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, spray tanning solutioins, makeup and toothpaste to prolong their shelf life. Paraben are estrogenic which are disruptive of normal hormone function; exposure has been linked to breast cancer and cause skin and allergic reactions.

The PEL & REL has not yet been determined by the OSHA and NIOSH standards.

Naphtha: Also known as coal tar are used in synthetic colors and dyes to make products pretty. However, they heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin which causes irritation and are carcinogenic. Irritations to the eyes, skin, and nose, dizziness, drowsiness, and dermatitis are common symptoms.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for naphtha is 100 ppm.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for naphtha is 100 ppm.

Propylene Glycol: Also known as propylene glycol dinitrate is a synthetic petrochemical used as an emulsifying base in lotions and creams (to make the skin look smooth). Propylene Glycol actually ages the skin at a faster rate, also leads to poor, saggy skin through absorption. It is a MAJOR ingredient in brake and hydraulic fluids which causes an allergic reaction and damages to the kidneys and liver.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for propylene gylcol is not determined.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for propylene gylcol is 0.05 ppm.

Mineral Oil: Also known as oil mist is petroleum based oil which enlarges and clogs the skins pores, can also cause acne, poor/saggy skin. Mineral oil decreases the skin cell’s ability to exchange nutrients and waste products. Irritations to the eyes, skin and respiratory system are common symptoms.

Based on OSHA standards, the PEL for mineral oil is 5 mg / m3.
Based on NIOSH standards, the REL for mineral oil is 5 mg / m3.

It is extremely important to have a proper ventilation system in place. Some salons may have outdated systems or none at all. Natural ventilation generally does not provide sufficient air flow to be suitable for controlling airborne contaminants. Having proper ventilation system will provide a continuous supply of fresh outside air, maintain the temperature and relative humidity level, reduce explosion hazards, and reduce or  remove airborne contaminants. There are two types of ventilation systems, dilution ventilation and local exhaust, are explained below.

Dilution ventilation system effectively is effective for small dispersed contaminant sources. It dilutes contaminated air by blowing in clean air and exhausting some dirty air. It doesn’t completely remove contaminants and is not used for highly toxic chemicals.

Local exhaust ventilation system removes airborne contaminants at the source before they can be breathed in.  It captures contaminate emissions at or very near the source and exhausts them outside.

Although having proper ventilation system is very important for the health and safety of people entering or exposed to the salon, it can be extremely expensive to have the system on 24 / 7. A simple solution to this would be to install fixed gas detectors in rooms where the products are being stored and / or used. Therefore, when the level of gas emitted from the product is at a pre-set level, the ventilation system will automatically turn on to dilute or exhaust the air.

For suggestions on fixed or portable gas detectors, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch

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REFERENCES:
“Guide for the hairdressing, nail and beauty industry.” Queensland Government. 14 June 2011. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/subjects/hairdressing/guide/index.htm>.

“Hairdressing, Nail and Beauty Safety.” Unionsafe. 15 Nov 2005. Web. 21 Sep 2011. <http://unionsafe.labor.net.au/hazards/106014706721942.html>.

“Harmful Chemicals in Hair Products.” Green Hair Products.com. 1997-2008. Web. 21 Sep 2011. <http://www.green-hair-products.com/harmful_chemicals_in_hair_products.htm>.

“Industrial Ventilation.” Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. 10 Jan 2008. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/prevention/ventilation/introduction.html>.

“NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 Aug 2010. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/default.html>.

“Occupational Health Hazards in Nail Salons.” Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. 30 Dec 2005. Web. 27 Sep 2001. <http://www.ohcow.on.ca/resources/handbooks/nail_salon/nail_salons.pdf>.

“Oregon OSHA Fact Sheet: Safety and Health Hazards in Nail Salons.” Oregon OSHA. 1 Feb 2008. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.orosha.org/pdf/pubs/fact_sheets/fs28.pdf>.

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Gas Detectors

CETCI gas detectors are used to detect many different gases. Some of the most common are Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Nitric Oxide, Ammonia, Chlorine, Ozone, Combustible Gases like Methane and Propane, Oxygen, Refrigerants and more.

IAQ Monitors

The YES Series of IAQ Monitors are essential for those responsible for conducting Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Investigations. These instruments are specifically designed to measure and record the quality of indoor air in offices, buildings, homes, schools, parking garages, ice rinks, etc.