By Liz White, UT staffBoston, Massachusetts-LightLine Technologies Inc. of Needham, Massachusetts plans to develop a personal monitoring device, similar to a sampling badge, to measure an individual's airborne exposure total isocyanate and diisocyanate.These chemicals, associated with occupational asthma, are used widely in making polyurethanes and related products the world over. Exposure of workers in paint spraying in automotive body shops is a particular concern of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which is funding Lightline's work. In paint shops using spray systems, high exposure occurs because the material gets into the atmosphere in the painting booths. Lightline has been awarded $70 000 by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts programme of the EPA"EPA is pleased to assist LightLine Technologies, Inc.in the development of their new technology," said Robert Varney, EPA's regional administrator, in an EPA news release. This contract "will undoubtedly assist LightLine Technologies in funding the development of their new personal monitoring device that will be used to improve the health of workers who may be exposed to dangerous levels of chemicals at their jobs," Varney continued. Current measurement methods for isocyanates do not offer adequate, simultaneous sensing of these chemicals in air, said the EPA press statement. LightLine aims to develop technology for individual exposure monitoring, "ensuring the safe use of these chemicals during the production and use of a wide range of polyurethane products," the EPA added. Lightline hopes its technology "will one day be an industry standard for protecting workers from exposure to unsafe chemicals," said Dr Steven Lis, president of LightLine Technologies. The company said that, "with very modest sampling processing (controlled heating), sensing of all types of isocyanate and diisocyanates will be possible." The same derivatisation reagent can be used in fibre pad adsorbent sampling for further conventional analysis, allowing "identification and quantification of specific materials and exposure levels," the firm added."