Amine Testing for Environmental Safety

Amine Testing for Environmental Safety

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Laboratory glassware with pipette dropping fluid into test tube
Amines are a broad class of compounds that are found in many everyday applications. These applications include corrosion inhibitors, lubricating oils, herbicides, and prescription drugs. The most common amine is ammonia, which is found in many household cleaning agents. There are, however, many forms of amines both naturally occurring and synthetic that are hazardous to the health of the population.

In the lower Columbia Basin region area of Washington State, three amines are more relevant to the environment: ethylamine, methylamine, and dimethylamine. Rural areas are most likely to be affected by these amines due to high concentrations of animals and plants, and it is very important to be aware of these substances and the hazards that they present. Using OSHA Method 34, OSHA Method 36, and OSHA Method 40, Columbia Basin Analytical Laboratories (CBAL) can easily detect these three amines to help ensure worker safety while keeping residents, animals, and the local environment safe.


Methylamine (CH3NH2), a derivative of ammonia (NH3), is produced when one hydrogen atom of NH3 is replaced by a methyl group, and presents as a colorless gas. As a preservative used in the commercial production of insecticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, surfactants, rocket fuel, textiles, and dye, there is a risk of over exposure to CH3NH. According to OSHA, the exposure limit is 10 ppm over an eight-hour span of time. Effects of increased exposure to the compound can include such symptoms as severe lung and eye irritation. Using High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) by OSHA Method 40, Columbia Basin Analytical Laboratory offers efficient methylamine analysis.


Ethylamine (CH3CHNH) is a colorless, organic compound, with a strong ammonia-like odor, and is widely used in chemical industry and organic synthesis. Risk of over exposure occurs in the production of herbicides, pharmaceuticals, rubber latex, dimenthylolethyltiazone, oils, and detergents. OSHA specifies the exposure limit of a concentration at 10 ppm. Levels in excess of this amount may cause exposure symptoms that include eye irritation, skin burns, respiratory irritation, dermatitis, and corneal injury. CBAL utilizes OSHA Method 36 for analysis of Ethylamine using HPLC for this analysis.


Dimethylamine [(CH3)NH] is both a naturally occurring and chemically synthesized compound. Because it is widely occurring, exposure to (CH3)NH is common, despite the severe effects the compound can cause. Symptoms of exposure to more than the limit of a concentration of 10 ppm include skin, eye, and mucus membrane irritation. Dimethylamine is often found in the production of acrylic and polymeric fibers, softeners, lubricants, textile waterproofing agents, cationic surfactants, pharmaceuticals, and detergents and soaps. Columbia Basin Analytical Laboratory offers analysis for (CH3)NH using High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) by OSHA method 34.

For more information on how CBAL can provide efficient, cost-effective amine analysis, please contact us at 509.545.4989 or click on the button below.

Contact Columbia Basin Analytical Laboratories