Development of Electrochemical Detectors for a Gas Chromatograph for the Determination of Toxic Permanent Gases: Potential for Improved Worker Exposure Monitoring

Faculty Researcher: William Steinecker, PhD, Research Scholar, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Miami University of Ohio

Chlorine dioxide (CD) is a chemical disinfectant long used to treat public drinking water supplies. CD disinfection of domestic water in healthcare institutions is a relatively recent practice. Microbial colonization of domestic plumbing is a significant source of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), estimated to account for more than 25% of all HAI. On-site, systemic application of CD has proven uniquely effective for controlling waterborne pathogens and preventing associated HAI in healthcare facilities.  Institutions that add CD to their domestic water are covered by USEPA drinking water regulations, including daily monitoring of CD and its principle byproduct, chlorite ion (CI) via EPA method 300.1 (CI determination via ion chromatography). The USEPA CI regulations are in place largely to minimize toxicological effects caused by exposure to CI. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for CI is 1 mg/L and the maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) is 0.8 mg/L. Presently approved methods for CI determination are not practicable for most healthcare facilities because most facilities do not have the resources for analyzing dozens of samples/day via ion chromatography nor do they have the trained personnel to operate this instrumentation. As a result, monitoring requirements present a significant obstacle to disinfection of hospital water, allowing preventable HAI from domestic water to go unchecked. OSHA recommendations for CD exposure currently exist while recommendations for CI do not; however, concern for occupational CI exposure is rapidly growing.  This proposal seeks funding for a pilot research project centered on adapting recent advances in sensor technology to measure CI residuals in CD-treated drinking water – an effort that will directly address growing needs in the NORA Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector.

 

Research trainee’s current position:
William Steinecker is currently the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of VGC Chromatography and the CTO at Targeted Compound Monitoring.