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Phosgene Testing Recommended to Prevent Worker Exposure


EMSL Analytical offers testing solutions to ensure safe work environments across many industries.

Westmont, NJ, August 27th, 2009

Phosgene is a colorless gas that is used as an industrial reagent and building block in organic synthesis in numerous manufacturing processes. Small amounts of phosgene also occur naturally from the breakdown and combustion of chlorinated compounds and chlorine containing organic compounds.

It is a toxic gas that was used in World War 1 as a chemical weapon. It is still listed on the schedule 3 of the Chemical Weapons Convention. In the 19th century phosgene was used in the dye manufacturing industry and is commonly used today in the production of isocyanates which are precursors to polyurethanes and for the production of polycarbonates. It is also used to make pesticides.

Unless high enough concentrations of the gas are present it may go unnoticed and adverse health effects may be slow to appear. When it is detected, its odor is often compared to the scent of a fresh cut lawn. At room temperature it is a poisonous gas that causes a reaction to the proteins in the pulmonary alveoli which can cause suffocation. Exposure symptoms include, but are not limited to vomiting, burning throat, cough, chest pain and eye irritation.

In environments where employees may be exposed to phosgene it is important that proper eye, skin and respiratory personal protective equipment are used as these are the most common exposure routes. Active monitoring programs are essential in industries using this toxic gas to minimize and prevent worker exposure.

“EMSL has a long history of providing testing services to ensure safe working environments,” reported Joe Frasca, Executive Vice President for EMSL Analytical. “EMSL’s eight industrial hygiene laboratories are accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s IHLAP program,” Frasca continued.

EMSL Analytical, a leading environmental testing laboratory, has close to 40 laboratories across the United States and Canada. To learn more about industrial hygiene testing or other testing services please contact EMSL Analytical at (800) 220-3675, visit or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and industrial hygiene services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 industrial colorless gas
 manufacturing process
 toxic chemical weapon
 isoncyantes pesticides
 poisonous phosgene

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