Accurate, Cost-Effective Chemical Analysis and Monitoring

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the advantages of using the ACS Badge?

The ACS Monitoring Badge is the most efficient way to measure workplace exposure to chemicals, and indoor air quality. More than 25 years of experience confirms that this is the lowest cost method to obtain accurate results.

Why should I monitor my house/mobile home/RV?

Materials used in the construction of manufactured homes are known to add toxic chemicals into the air. Household coatings and sprays are a second source of chemicals in the air. Tearing of the eyes, scratchy throat, and respiratory problems are associated with formaldehyde vapor. Other common solvents may also produce long-term health effects.

How does the ACS Badge work?

There are no moving parts. The device weighs less than 1 ounce (28 grams). Air diffuses through a micro-porous membrane, and collects on special prepared adsorbents inside the monitoring badge. The ACS laboratory analyzes the chemicals collected, and reports the average concentration while the device was exposed.

How fast can I get my results back?

Test results are generally available by fax or e-mail within 48-hours. An original report is sent by mail.

I need my results fast. Is there an additional charge for rush analysis?

Results can almost always be done in one day. There is no extra charge for this rapid service.

What type of chemicals can be measured with badge?

Almost any chemical that has a significant amount of vapor can be tested with the monitoring badges. The ACS Badge has been validated for accuracy for more than 100 chemicals. Consult the list in the product catalog.

Can I monitor multiple chemicals on one badge?

Yes. For many common organic vapors the same badge can be used to measure more than 70 chemicals simultaneously. For some chemicals special badges are needed. The latter include formaldehyde, mercury, ethylene oxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides. Consult the laboratory for details.

For workplace measurement, how long should I wear the badge?

Occupational exposure regulations are based on short-term exposure of 15 minutes, and also on full workday exposure of 8-hours. The ACS badge meets OSHA accuracy requirements for a time period from 15 minutes to more than 8-hours.

How long should I place the badge in a room/house/RV?

For indoor air quality testing, the most practical range of exposure is from 8-hours to 48-hours. The longer the time, the lower is the concentration that can be reported. The optimum exposure time is 24-hours.

How many do I need?

To comply with OSHA requirements for workplace testing, each person who is exposed to the chemical as a regular part of their job should be tested. The monitoring must includes a 15-minute test (STEL) and the 8-hour test (PEL).

For indoor air quality, one monitoring badge is sufficient for several hundred square feet. With central heating and cooling, the air recirculation often makes the concentration uniform over a larger area.

Can you help me understand the results?

The analysis report will always have a discussion of the significance of the results. The ACS technical staff is always available for additional consultation at no cost.

How often should I monitor?

For workplace exposure there must be initial employee monitoring and periodic monitoring. The interval for the periodic monitoring depends on particular situations. For example, OSHA and JCAHO have different policies. Monitoring each calendar quarter is a reasonable approach. Additional tests are needed when procedures or equipment are changed, or when the results are high.

After the initial test in the home, additional tests should be done when there is remodeling, or the addition of new wood products or coatings.

Can you analyze chemicals that are not mentioned on the product list?

Many chemicals have similar structures and properties. They can usually be analyzed. Please consult the ACS technical staff.

Are you required to monitor all the chemicals?

For personal exposure in the workplace, monitoring should be done for all chemicals that have OSHA exposure limits. For some chemicals, such as formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, benzene, and vinyl chloride, the personal exposure monitoring requirements are more stringent. Every person who is exposed as a regular part of their job should be tested.

What should I do if the results are high?

Corrective action is needed. This usually includes a change in work procedure and improved ventilation. Additional testing is required until it is clear that the exposure can be kept low. When two tests are low, after a high exposure, normal conditions have returned. If the exposure cannot be kept low, protective equipment and biological monitoring are often needed.

Do you keep all records?

Accredited laboratories must keep records for at least 5 years. The ACS laboratory has maintained all records for a much longer period. All records are held in strict confidence, and are easily available when bona fide requests are made.

What type of accreditation do you have?

Advanced Chemical Sensors Co. is accredited by The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA-LAP, LLC) for industrial hygiene testing, and by The New York State Department of Health (ELAP). The laboratory conforms to ISO Standard 17025. There are strict written quality assurance procedures that are reviewed on site by the accrediting agencies.

How Accurate are the test results?

For test results to be accepted for laboratory accreditation they must have an overall accuracy better than 25%. The ACS badge generally has accuracy in the range from 15% to 20%, depending on the particular chemical, and the exposure time.

Are the results accepted by OSHA or Joint Commission?

Results from an AIHA-LAP, LLC accredited laboratory will be accepted in any inspection of facilities. The results have also been accepted as valid in disputes, and in judicial proceedings.

Can the results be used for a legal purpose?

The results can be used in legal disputes, because of the laboratory accreditation and strict quality assurance associated with each test. The test results are valid scientific evidence.

I lost my reports. Can you fax or e-mail a copy?

Past results are available immediately by fax or e-mail. Copies can also be reprinted and sent by regular mail.

Can I get results at your web site?

Arrangements can be made to post results on a secure web site as the analysis is completed, and to maintain past results.

Can you help me set up a monitoring program at my workplace?

The ACS technical staff can make recommendations for a cost effective program for personal exposure monitoring in the workplace.

Do you ship internationally?

The ACS monitoring badge is used in many locations in almost every continent. Shipment by air cargo usually takes only a few days to be received. There are no problems in returning the exposed monitoring badges for analysis. Results are sent by fax or e-mail, with an original report that follows by regular mail.

Do I need to send a "Blank" badge?

A "Blank" badge is an unexposed monitoring badge used for quality assurance testing. A laboratory Blank, stored at the ACS laboratory, is always used as part of the quality assurance procedures. Therefore, a field Blank is not necessary. It should be used when there is a special need to have an unexposed sample with exactly the same history as the exposed field samples.

My result is very high. Could there be an error in your lab?

The quality assurance (QA) testing includes a calibration curve, "spikes" of monitoring badges with known amounts of each chemical, testing of unexposed "Blank" badges, and other tests. The quality assurance tests must conform to strict statistical limits before client samples can be tested. The QA data is available. Errors are very unlikely, but they can occur. The client should notify the laboratory if an error is suspected. The ACS staff will work with the client to resolve any possible errors.

Is the reported ppm based on a TWA?

The concentration (ppm or mg/cubic meter) on the laboratory report is the time-weighted average concentration for the actual exposure time that was used. It is not based on an 8 hour period, unless the actual exposure time is 8 hours. There are exceptions to this, when the client requests the results for an 8 hour TWA period, or when it will add to the clarity of the report, as described below.

What do "Basis 8.00 hours" or "Basis 0.25 hours" mean?

The 8 hour time-weighted average (TWA) and the 15 minute average will be given on the report when these are the actual exposure times. It will also be given when it adds to the clarity of the report. For example, assume that the permissible exposure limit is 1.0 ppm as an 8 hour TWA, and the result for an actual exposure of 4 hours is 1.4 ppm. Then the 8 hour TWA will also be given. The reason is that 1.4 ppm is above the exposure limit of 1.0 ppm. However, the limit is based on 8 hours. The 8 hour TWA shows that the exposure limit is not exceeded, assuming no additional exposure after the actual time of 4 hours. The report will give the actual result for 4 hours (1.4 ppm). It will also say : "Basis 8 hours 0.7 ppm."

How do you calculate the concentration in ppm?

The laboratory measures the milligrams (mg) of each chemical collected during the exposure of the monitoring badge. The collection rate for each chemical (milliliters/minute) is known from actual calibration tests. When the user provides the exposure time (hours or minutes), then it is a simple algebraic calculation to give the concentration in milligrams/cubic meter. The ppm is directly related to the milligrams/cubic meter for each chemical.

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