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The respiratory effects of isocyanates.
Environmental and occupational medicine, second edition. Rom WN, ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1992 Jan; :967-986
The respiratory health effects associated with isocyanate exposure were discussed. Potential workplace exposures to diisocyanates between 1972 and 1974 were estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000 persons. Production and characteristics of isocyanates and urethanes were discussed. Potential adverse respiratory tract effects associated with isocyanate exposure include acute or long lasting effects due to a single episode of overexposure, chronic respiratory effects caused by long term low level exposure, occupational asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Adverse health effects of isocyanates and clinical features of isocyanate induced asthma were presented with particular emphasis on toluene- diisocyanate (584849) (TDI) and methylene-diphenyl-diisocyanate (MDI). Two apparent predisposing factors to isocyanate induced asthma are frequent exposure to large spills of isocyanate and upper respiratory tract infections. Airway hyperresponsiveness to isocyanates may begin with the small airways. Once a worker has become sensitized, airway inflammation appears to play an important role in maintaining the bronchospastic response following repeat exposure to the sensitizing agent. A series of longitudinal surveys describing the respiratory health of employees at two polyurethane foam manufacturers using TDI were reviewed. Sufficient evidence exists that the current standard of the ceiling isocyanate exposures of 0.020 parts per million (ppm) is inadequate to protect all workers' respiratory health.
NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders; Lung-function; Automotive-industry; Synthetic-rubber-manufacturing; Chemical-manufacturing-industry; Lung-irritants; Bronchial-asthma; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Cyanide-compounds; Cyanates
Environmental and occupational medicine, second edition
Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division