Scientific Analysis Laboratories (SAL), part of the Concept Life Sciences Group, has been awarded UKAS accreditation for the analysis of isocyanates in urine making them one of only two suppliers accredited to do so in the UK.

SAL, which offers global analytical services for a range of sectors is one of the largest independent laboratories in Europe; with five sites throughout the UK.

Using dedicated, state-of-the-art biological monitoring laboratories SAL is able to measure exposure to the most common diiscoyanates: HDI, TDI, MDI and IPDI. In addition, SAL can also provide the analysis of isocyanates in urine thus providing a more complete picture of how effective the control measures in the workplace are compared to air monitoring.

Isocyanates are found in a number of construction products including polyurethane paints, coatings, foams, glues and flooring. Certain tasks, such as spraying, or direct skin contact, can produce very high exposure to isocyanates. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations says ‘you must protect against the risks from isocyanates’ and the HSE recommends urine testing to assess exposure to isocyanate and the effectiveness of controls such as respiratory protective equipment and safe working procedures. Such testing supplements air sampling, which tests the effectiveness of mechanical controls.

Breathing unreacted isocyanate can cause coughing, chest tightness, fever, fatigue and sensitisation. Direct skin contact with isocyanate may cause rashes, blistering and reddening of the skin and dermatitis. In rare cases, repeated skin contact can lead to skin sensitisation. Eye exposure to isocyanates can cause eye irritation and temporary blurred vision and direct contact with the eye may damage the cornea.

Duncan Campbell, Director of Air at Scientific Analysis Laboratories says: “Isocyanates are used extensively across all industries in a wide variety of substances. Becoming accredited in urine analysis means that we are now able to provide additional and more detailed information on personal exposure to chemicals. This is as important to industry as it is to the individuals who risk exposure.”

Dave Watson, Managing Director of Scientific Analysis Laboratories, added: “Scientific Analysis Laboratories provides a complete range of routine and specialist analytical capabilities. Being one of only two accredited laboratories to offer isocyanate in urine analysis allows us to further extend our capabilities and be in a better position to respond to our clients’ needs.”