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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2009 Oct;6(10):604-11. doi: 10.1080/15459620903117710.

Objective color scale for the SWYPE surface sampling technique using computerized image analysis tools.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7234, USA.


Colorimetric SWYPE pads are useful tools for identifying unpolymerized aliphatic isocyanates on a variety of surfaces. This technique has been used in autobody shops to determine the presence of hexamethylene diisocyanate and other aliphatic isocyanates that are important constituents of many automotive coatings. SWYPEs have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, rapid, and portable. The color change elicited by aliphatic isocyanates (from yellow to red) provides a visual indication of the extent of surface contamination. To quantify isocyanate contamination based on the colorimetric response, an objective color scale was developed for isocyanate loading. Sampled pads were digitized on a calibrated, portable flatbed scanner, and red-green-blue (RGB) histograms of SWYPE images were created. A calibration curve was created from a series of reference images derived from SWYPEs loaded with an isocyanate-containing product. The SWYPE RGB analysis allowed for quantification over a range of isocyanate loadings: from approximately 0.01 to 24.0 microg/cm(2), with reproducibility of >90%, accuracy >90%, and a surface extraction efficiency of >90%. RGB analysis exhibited a lower detection limit than visual scoring (approximately 3 microg versus approximately 10 microg). The colorimetric response was cross validated with a high-performance liquid chromatography quantitative assay. When combined with RGB analysis, SWYPE colorimetric wipes represent a rapid and inexpensive method to assess objectively surface contamination with aliphatic isocyanates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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