Formaldehyde is widely used by the poultry industry as a disinfectant on poultry farms, in brooder houses, hatcheries and hatchery vehicles. It is highly effective in the reduction of contamination levels caused by bacteria, viruses and molds throughout the production process. Using formaldehyde as the primary disinfection agent will control key organisms, such as Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Proteus, E. coli, H.capsulatum, Staphylococcus, Streptococci and Aspergillus.
Formaldehyde is an organic compound that can adopt several different forms. It can be used in solution form as formalin, as a free gas, or in a solid form as paraformaldehyde prills. Formaldehyde is highly toxic to humans, regardless of the method of intake. At room temperature it is a colorless gas characterized by a pungent odor. Even with very short-term exposure, formaldehyde will cause irritation to the eyes including pain, redness, blurred vision followed by sneezing, soreness, coughing, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea. Exposure to elevated levels can lead to accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
The ENMET Formaldemeter htV-m
A large exposure to formaldehyde is converted to formic acid in the body, leading to a rise in blood acidity, rapid-shallow breathing, hypothermia, and coma or death. Long-term exposure causes chronically impaired lung function, skin hardening, swelling and flaking, dermatitis, allergic eczema, and cancer. Formaldehyde is a skin and respiratory sensitizer. As a sensitizing agent, it can stimulate the body’s immune response so that a subsequent exposure to even a very small amount is likely to trigger an allergic reaction. For most people, irritation from formaldehyde is temporary and reversible. “Overexposure to airborne formaldehyde is dangerous to health, but the risks can be substantially reduced if levels are regularly measured and monitored,” states PPM Technology’s Managing Director, John B. Jones. PPM Technology, based in Caernarfon, Wales, UK, is a leading manufacturer of portable and fixed gas detection instruments for formaldehyde and other toxic gases in indoor environments.
Monitoring Ambient Air in Poultry Farms
It is important to carefully monitor the formaldehyde concentrations in the air at facilities using it as a disinfectant. It is advised to regularly check formaldehyde concentrations in the air to ensure employees are not exposed to dangerous levels. Using a formaldehyde monitor with real-time results is crucial so that potential over exposures can be identified immediately, without any delay waiting for test results. When using a real-time formaldehyde monitor, if dangerous levels of formaldehyde are detected, employees can be evacuated until the risk is subdued.
According to Norman Davis, President, ENMET, LLC, “Formaldehyde is an excellent choice to use in the decontamination process on poultry farms. Since formaldehyde is a dangerous industrial chemical, workers must protect themselves with personal protective safety equipment to limit their exposure while working in these areas. Most importantly, facilities using formaldehyde should have a monitor that is designed to detect formaldehyde and not rely on general purpose monitors. Having a monitor that is formaldehyde specific will ensure the unsafe levels can be cleared and keep exposure within safe levels.”
One of the key elements in protecting workers from dangerous levels of formaldehyde in any industry is having the proper monitoring and detection system. The best type of instrument is one that is capable of accurately detecting and monitoring formaldehyde, temperature and humidity in real-time.
The Formaldemeter htV-m manufactured by PPM Technology and distributed in the USA by ENMET, LLC is an excellent formaldehyde monitor for this type of application. This portable instrument accurately detects and monitors three important parameters - formaldehyde, temperature and humidity in real-time. It can be used as a manual hand-held instrument or as a continuous monitoring device capable of up to one month of data-logging. The Formaldemeter htV-m can precisely measure formaldehyde concentrations in parts per million (ppm) and mg/m3 under extremes of temperature and humidity. The built in memory and real time clock enables the htV-m to log all three parameters and corresponding times, allowing improved monitoring and analysis opportunities.
With the subject of Indoor Air Quality becoming more prominent and recognized throughout many different industries, it has become essential for the health and safety of the workers to have the proper monitoring equipment. It is extremely important to have a real-time detection system that will monitor and detect for the specific type of hazardous chemical being used in a facility and quickly warn workers if a hazard exists.
To read similar articles on Instrumentation Technology, visit www.airbestpractices.com/technology/instrumentation.