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There's An Identity Crisis In The Toxic Gas Detection Business
Michael D. Shaw -- Expert in Health Care and Environmental Affairs Michael D. Shaw -- Expert in Health Care and Environmental Affairs
Washington , DC
Wednesday, December 14, 2016


It's Time For The Industry To Do Some Soul-Searching

If old school gas detection is typified by the canary in the coal mine, perhaps another bird will emerge to shake some sense into the currently moribund toxic gas detection (TGD) industry. The earliest products involved chemical reactions with an observable color change for carbon monoxide detection—dating back to the 1920s. These detectors were soon followed by devices to measure hydrogen sulfide levels.

At the same time, technologies were being developed to detect the presence of combustible gases, as well as to determine the concentration of oxygen in the environment (low oxygen can be deadly in seconds). Fast forward to the 1980s, and the ready availability of electrochemical sensors for a host of toxic compounds. Then came the multi-gas portable instruments.

Notwithstanding the availability of many other sensors, virtually all of what is now considered to be "toxic gas detection"—at least for portable monitors—is confined to oxygen, combustibles, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide. Thus, much of TGD is basically confined to..."confined entry," the testing of unventilated environments before they are entered by workers.

Indeed, there are now at least a dozen companies offering virtual clones of a generic "confined entry" style TGD instrument. Yet, OSHA mandates permissible exposure limits for hundreds of compounds, so why does the industry confine itself to confined entry?

Mostly because the "confined entry" gases are easy to detect; such instruments are easy to calibrate; and such instruments are easy to sell. Fair enough, but that presents a big problem for those millions of individuals working with all the other toxic gases: Where are they to turn?

Since I'm writing this press release, I can say: Turn to Interscan Corporation. And, the fact is, they have been turning to us, and we certainly appreciate it!

In the meantime, though, the TGD industry and its distributors should take a good look into the mirror. There's way more to toxic gas detection than confined entry.

Interscan Corporation
4590 Ish Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93063-7682

Phone:   1 800 458-6153 (US and Canada)
              (818) 882-2331
FAX:      (818) 341-0642
Web:      www.gasdetection.com

Michael D. Shaw
Executive VP/Director of Marketing
Interscan Corporation
Reston, VA