An outbreak of naphthalene di-isocyanate-induced asthma in a plastics factory.
Fuortes-LJ; Kiken-S; Makowsky-M
Arch Environ Health 1995 Sep; 50(5):337-340
A workplace evaluation, medical screening of workers to detect additional cases of possible naphthalene-di-isocyanate (25551284) (NDI) related occupational asthma, and an industrial hygiene survey were conducted at a factory that manufactured plastic wheels. Prepurchase cast metal wheels were machined to specification, and placed in molds where hot isocyanate containing polyurethane was dispensed by hand into them. The plastic coated wheels were subsequently oven cured and then were finished. There were three cases of NDI related occupational asthma at a factory. The first case was a 43 year old woman who worked in administration, in an office adjacent to the production area. The second case was a 52 year old female nonsmoker who worked from 1972 through 1988 as a mold handler and lathe operator. The third case was a 43 year old female nonsmoker who had worked for 12 years as a mold assembly worker. Medical questionnaires were administered to 26 production workers and 20 administrative personnel in 1989. Preshift and postshift pulmonary function tests were performed on 9 of the 11 workers who met the questionnaire case definition. Seventeen employees reported respiratory problems consistent with possible occupational asthma. Six of these related having bronchospastic symptoms only in the past, 11 reported current symptoms. The authors recommend that improvements be made in the exhaust ventilation system at the facility and less toxic materials be substituted. The use of personal protective equipment was also discussed.
NIOSH-Author; Respiratory-system-disorders; Lung-irritants; Bronchial-asthma; Medical-screening; Workplace-studies; Isocyanates; Industrial-hygiene; Occupational-exposure
Archives of Environmental Health