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The Galson Blog

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Joe Unangst



By Joe Unangst

Being part of SGS, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, has its priviledges.While we at SGS Galson Laboratories are able to answer the vast majority of your questions, occasionally we receive an inquiry of an extraordinarily complex nature that requires outside assistance. But these days, we don’t need to go “outside”, we can keep it in the SGS family.

Located in Antwerp, Belgium, the SGS Institute of Applied Chromatography (IAC) is a high-tech analytical laboratory with very special testing capabilities. SGS IAC prides itself on being problem solvers and can develop methods for unusual compounds or substances.

With SGS IAC’s advanced and innovative inventory of instrumentation, food, animal feed, electronic devices, chemicals, environmental pollutants and more, are all areas within its range of expertise.  

The SGS Institute of Applied Chromatography’s methods include low-level metals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products analyses, as well as environmental forensics on oil spills, comprehensive gas chromatography, detection of fraudulent additions in food samples and much more. Using the SGS-developed tool Multitrace, SGSIAC additionally detects contaminants contained in soil and groundwater samples, comprising metals, volatile, semi-volatile and non-volatile compounds, pesticides and various organic compounds. Previous work includes the successful assessment of environmental contamination for the largest oil/gas pre-treatment plant in Europe.    

SGS IAC’s extensive experience solving diversified analytical challenges makes them an invaluable partner for us. They also serve as an example of the mutually beneficial relationships within the extensive global SGS network, creating added value for our clients.

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Bill Walsh CIH


PPI Sampler Allows for Analysis of Thoracic Fraction of Sulfuric Acid Mists

Since 2004 the ACGIH TLV for sulfuric acid of 0.2 mg/m3 has carried with it a ‘T’ endnote, indicating that this TLV applied to the portion of the mist being sampled capable of penetrating the pulmonary tract into (and beyond) the Thoracic region.  This lower TLV (as opposed to the OSHA PEL of 1.0 mg/m3) is based on the theory that the farther a substance can penetrate into the respiratory tract, the more harmful it becomes.  Trying to sample the thoracic fraction of a sulfuric acid mist has caused hardships since a practical method did not really exist.

The thoracic fraction is defined as particulate having a 50% cut point diameter of 10 microns, as opposed to the 4 micron 50% cut point of the respirable fraction, and the 100 micron cut point of the inhalable fraction.

This means that when using a device to measure the thoracic fraction, 50% of the particles having a diameter of 10 microns or larger are captured. In practical terms this means that particles large enough to be captured by the body’s defenses prior to entering the thoracic region are screened during the breathing process.

The current OSHA procedure for measuring the total concentration of sulfuric acid calls for sampling on a standard 37 mm MCE filter at 2 LPM, followed by analysis using ion chromatography.  Using this method, if the results of this sampling fall below the thoracic TLV, then you can assume you have no problem.  Similarly, a high result above 1 mg/m3 indicates a problem that needs to be fixed, thoracic or not. As with all industrial hygiene analyses, it is the gray area in between these two examples that causes a problem.

In the past, SGS-Galson has recommended the use of SKC’s PEM sampler as the best alternative for sampling the thoracic fraction.  This sampler is designed to capture particulates 10 microns or less in size (PM 10).  As you can see this is not the same as having a 50% cut point of 10 microns.  And, as was pointed out by a loyal Galson client, the collection efficiency curve for PM 10 and the thoracic fraction are very different. However, SKC does offer another product called the PPI Sampler (Parallel Particle Impactor) that is a true thoracic sampler. 

If you look at the top of this blog you can see this graphically.  As can be seen, the red curve indicating the PPI sampler closely matches the dashed thoracic sampling curve.  Because of this fact SGS-Galson has changed its recommendation for sampling the thoracic fraction of H2SO4 mists. 

Thanks to the client who brought this to our attention.  The close working relationship we enjoy with our clients enables us to remain at the cutting edge of industrial hygiene sampling and analysis.

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Joe Unangst


Global Capabilities with SGS

The 2015 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition (AIHce) is right around the corner, and for the first time we will be participating as SGS Galson Laboratories.

Being joined by SGS associates, we will have a much broader international representation, so at this year’s AIHce, we will be interacting with many more global health and safety representatives from large multinational companies. In this way, the conference is a great opportunity to share knowledge, as well as to raise awareness about our firm’s improved services and offerings to new prospects, and I’m excited about demonstrating our latest developments, including the Personal Exposure Vest (PEV), at our technology suite.

Looking forward to traveling to Salt Lake City with SGS, I also thought this would be a good time to look back and take stock of the progress that has taken place since the August 2014 acquisition.   

Swiss-Syracuse synergy

Our Geneva-based parent company has invested in sales, marketing and research to further our growth, and has continued to support our innovations since the acquisition last year. Its purchasing power has enabled us to reduce our costs, and there have been logistical advantages to the partnership, including utilizing SGS’s offices in several areas as drop centers for samples and equipment. As a result, we have increased order processing and delivery speeds to the benefit of our clients.

In the capacity as SGS Center of Excellence for Industrial Hygiene Lab Services, we collaborate with other IH laboratories within the extensive SGS network to share our experience and innovations. As an example, we have subcontracted samples to specialists in Brazil, and I’m excited about these advancements, since they allow us to provide a wider range of client service offerings.

I see a great advantage in being able to contact other expert analytical laboratories about specific types of testing, to exchange ideas and brainstorm, and to work together, solving client problems. By virtue of such cooperation, we will continue to develop and refine our expertise, and be able to provide the highest level of service, which is our top priority.

We constantly strive to make your experience with us is the best possible, and hope the transition has been smooth for you. Please let us know if there is anything we could be doing better, and please visit us at the upcoming AIHceand ASSEconferences. We look forward to seeing you!

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Pam Weaver


Doing Whatever It Takes For Our Clients

I’ve been reflecting on my ­30 years helping Galson clients with their challenges, and 24 years as Client Service Manager. I’m pleased that Galson, now SGS Galson Laboratories’, significant growth has always come with enhancement of our ability to provide the best client service in the industrial hygiene industry. This is exemplified by the time we spend on the phone, LiveChat and email, the positive feedback we get from our clients, and of course the repeat and new business we receive.

SGS Galson is always trying to raise the bar by providing new and better services, and improved client service. Our latest improvement is the addition of an extra hour of Client Service Representative support, available at the end of each weekday. We are now available to answer you calls and chats until 9pm EST and 6pm PST on weekdays!

To assure that we’re able to cover the additional client service time, we recently hired our tenth Client Service Representative, Lauren Willert, who will be assisting you from our newly-established Client Service Center in Anchorage, AK.  Anchorage is our seventh client servicecenter, which also includes, Irvine, CA, Houston, TX, Stevens Point, WI, Charleston, SC, Mississauga, ON, and our home office in East Syracuse, NY.

No matter where you are, we strive to provide the highest service levels possible. I’ve always thought of our Client Service department and clients as trusted partners, and it’s your trust we plan to continue to earn.

We’re always available to help and now even more than ever. Again, we’re available Monday through Friday, 8am-9pm EST, at 1-888-432-5227 (LABS) or through the onlineIH Live Chat. And, of course, we’re on call 24/7/365.

Thanks, as always, for trusting in SGS Galson Laboratories. 

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