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Workplace Testing

In our studies, we have sampled the air in body shops for isocyanates (from paint hardeners), total dust and a variety of solvents. We have also tested the skin of workers and surfaces around the body shop for isocyanates. Read more about measuring isocyanates…

There are many tests that can be done to check for exposures in your shop. You can do some tests yourself with immediate results or have have professionals come to your shop to do the testing.

Surface Wipe Pads
Surface wipe pads change color after touching isocyanate.

Wipe pads to test for isocyanate

Using isocyanate-detecting wipe pads is a good way to see how contaminated your shop is. These pads change color when they touch isocyanate. You can use them to test the door handles or the office telephone.

You can also use them to show workers why they should wear gloves or protect their skin while working. Test a worker’s hand after wet sanding or test the fluid in the gun cleaner. If you want a painter to wear eye protection while spraying, wipe his eyelids right after a paint job.

Wiping Skin with Pads
Wiping skin with the pads can show contamination.

Where to get the pads

The pads can be ordered directly from:

Colorimetric Laboratories, Inc. (CLI)
1261A Rand Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016-3402
phone: 847-803-3737

There are different types of pads:

  • To test for car paint hardener which contains HDI (hexamethylene diisocyanate), order the SWYPETM aliphatic isocyanate pads – for either surface or skin.
  • To test for MDI, order SWYPETM aromatic isocyanate pads – for either surface or skin.

Instructions come with the pads.

Skin Wipes in Cups
Skin wipes that touched isocyanate turn colors when put into cup with developer.

Doing the wipe testing

To test surfaces, you wipe with the pads provided and the yellow--orange--red color will appear in a few minutes if there is any isocyanate.

For skin, you wipe the skin and then dip the pad into a plastic cup containing some developing fluid. The color will appear on the top edge of the wipe pad if there is isocyanate on the skin.

Follow the directions with the pads for more detail.

How to have other sampling done in your shop

If you want to have your shop tested for exposures to isocyanates, solvents, dusts or any other chemicals, just look in the phone book or on the internet for industrial hygiene consultants.