Industrial hygiene surveys were conducted at eight facilities manufacturing and applying urea-formaldehyde (9011056) and polyurethane (68400679) thermal insulation foam. Concentrations of formaldehyde (50000) ranged from less than 0.08 to 5.4 parts per million (ppm) in manufacturing facilities. A concentration of 300ppm of ammonia (7664417) was measured in a breathing zone at one manufacturing facility. Measurements for furfuryl-alcohol (98000), acetaldehyde (75070), phenol (108952), nitrosamines, and respirable dust were below detectable concentrations. Noise levels ranged from 83 to 99 and 96 to 105 decibels on the A-weighted scale (dBA) in manufacturing and application facilities, respectively. Wet bulb globe temperatures (WBGT) were as high as 29 degrees C in manufacturing facilities. Concentrations of diphenylmethane- diisocyanate (101688) (MDI), toluene-diisocyanate (26471625) (TDI), and fluorotrichloromethane (75694) (FTM) polyurethane foam ranged from less than 0.002 to 0.0050ppm, 22 to 310 parts per billion, and concentrations of MDI, FTM alpha-methyl-styrene (98839) and carbon- monoxide (630080) ranged from less than 0.0010 to 0.068, 1.6 to 180, the OSHA standards for formaldehyde are an 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) limit of 3ppm, for ammonia an 8 hour TWA of 50ppm; for MDI and TDI a ceiling limit of 0.02ppm; for FTM 1,000ppm; for alpha- methyl-styrene 100ppm; and for carbon-monoxide 50ppm. The OSHA noise standard is 90 dBA for an 8 hour period. A standard of WBGT of 26.7 degrees C for moderate work is recommended by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. The authors conclude that formaldehyde, ammonia, MDI and TDI concentrations, noise and WBGT levels exceeded the standards and they recommend immediate corrective actions.
NIOSH, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services