RR645 - Measurement of alkyl 2-cyanoacrylates: Further work

This report describes research into improved cyanoacrylate sampling methods. The research was an assessment of Automated Thermal Desorption (ATD) as an alternative sampling/analytical technique for the measurement of airborne cyanoacrylate and the development of modified Tenax sampling tubes.

HSE introduced the 0.3 ppm Short-term exposure limit (STEL) in 2000 for both ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate (ECA) and methyl-2-cyanoacrylate (MCA). These limits were transposed into Workplace Exposure Limits (WELs) in 2005, with revised compliance criteria. HSL investigated the ability of existing sampling methods to test compliance with the limit and found significant errors. Sampling losses are apparently due to polymerisation on the glass wool plug of the Tenax tube used for sampling.

Eleven types of modified Tenax tube were prepared and evaluated at 0.03 ppm using a dynamic standard atmosphere. Analysis was by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with Ultra-Violet (UV) detection. Two tubes were found to compare well with the impinger based reference method. One tube replaces the front wool plug with a steel mesh and polypropylene o-ring to hold the sorbent in place. The other tube is treated with a phosphoric acid solution. Both tubes were subjected to a thorough laboratory validation, using BS EN482 as guidance. The steel mesh/o-ring tube performed slightly better than its counterpart when sampling MCA atmospheres and hence is the preferred choice. This tube is capable of providing reliable and sensitive measurement of cyanoacrylate atmospheres across a range of concentration, temperature and humidity.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-23