Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Detection of Presence or Release of Hazardous Chemicals

The presence of hazardous chemicals in the work environment can typically be detected by visual appearance or odor of the hazardous chemical being released. If such releases are identified (and not planned), contact your supervisor immediately and evacuate the work area in accordance with your department’s Emergency Action Plan as appropriate.

Hazardous chemicals can also be detected through air monitoring when there is no visible indication of a spill or odors cannot be used as indicators of releases. The Virginia Tech Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Department may conduct air monitoring as needed basis to determine whether an OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit or Equivalent Threshold (usually found in an SDS, if available) has been exceeded. EHS will then determine the necessary personal protective equipment and engineering controls to be used.