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Risk of isocyanate exposure in the construction industry.

Authors
Riedlich-C
Source
Silver Spring, MD: CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, 2010 Jun; :1-8
NIOSHTIC No.
20039900
Abstract
Background: Isocyanates are reactive chemicals used extensively in the production of polyurethane foams, coatings, and adhesives, and are a leading cause of occupational asthma. A number of construction sites in Connecticut are using polyurethane (PU) products. This study focuses on identifying and collecting data on PU products that are commonly used and most likely to present skin exposure risk to applicators or others in the work area. A major concern when working with PU products is the extent to which free isocyanate groups may persist on the surface of the material following application. Such information is necessary for understanding the potential for isocyanate skin exposure that could lead to asthma or other respiratory outcomes in product applicators or bystanders. Methods: A database of information was compiled on PU products commonly used in construction. Five PU foam products were tested, some more than once, to determine amount of free surface NCO over time, using both qualitative and quantitative SWYPE(TM) pads. Decay curves were generated. Core samples of the dry foam were also analyzed for free NCO. To determine the utility of the qualitative SWYPE(TM) pads, they were correlated to quantitative samples. Results: Polyurethane foams have variable curing times and can have free NCO after they appear dry. There is a need for skin protection when handling foam. The core of the polyurethane foam may not be fully cured for as long as 24 hours after application and can release free NCO if punctured or otherwise disturbed. Qualitative aromatic SWYPE(TM) pads are not as reliable as aliphatic pads, but a negative test appears to indicate a lower level of NCO. Further study is needed with other products and particularly more industrial ones. Key Findings: 1) Polyurethane foams have variable curing times and can have free NCO after they appear dry. There is a need for skin protection when handling foam. 2) The core of the polyurethane foam may not be fully cured for as long as 24 hours after application and can release free NCO if punctured or otherwise disturbed. 3) Qualitative aromatic SWYPE(TM) pads are not as reliable as aliphatic pads, but a negative test appears to indicate a lower level of NCO. 4) Further study is needed with other products and particularly more industrial ones.
Keywords
Construction; Construction-equipment; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Isocyanates; Polyurethane-foams; Coatings; Adhesives; Bronchial-asthma; Respiratory-system-disorders; Skin-exposure; Sampling; Skin-protection; Materials-handling; Materials-testing; Curing-compounds; Chemical-reactions
Contact
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), 8484 Georgia Avenue, Suite 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Publication Date
20100601
Document Type
Other
Funding Type
Construction; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
2010
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U54-OH-008307
Priority Area
Construction
Source Name
Risk of Isocyanate Exposure in the Construction Industry
State
MD; CT
Performing Organization
CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, Maryland
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