Flexane® 80 is a trowelable urethane product used in combination with cleaners and primers to effect rubber conveyor belt repairs. These products are of concern due to the potential for worker exposure to isocyanates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Small chamber experiments were used to identify chemicals liberated to the ambient air from each of the Flexane®-related products. A new sample collection method using treated cotton sleeves as a surrogate skin surface to assess potential dermal exposure to isocyanates during mixing and application of the Flexane® product was validated. Six simulations of a worst case scenario were performed by an experienced belt repair technician in a walk-in laboratory exposure chamber. Analysis of air samples from the large chamber simulations did not detect airborne isocyanates. The average airborne VOC concentrations were below established occupational exposure levels. Dermal sleeve samples detected intermittent and low levels of isocyanates from self-application while wearing gloves having surface residues of uncured Flexane®. The data strongly suggest that the normal and intended use of Flexane® putty, and its associated products under worst case or typical working conditions is not likely to result in worker VOC or isocyanate exposure levels sufficient to produce adverse health effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The allergenic constituents of non-industrial indoor environments are predominantly found in the biologic fraction. Several reports have related biological particles such as mites and their excreta, dander from pets and other furred animals, fungi and bacteria to allergic manifestations including respiratory hypersensitivity among the occupants of buildings. Also, bacterial cell-wall components and the spores of toxin-producing moulds may contribute to the induction of hypersensitivity, but the relevance for human health is not yet determined. The knowledge regarding hypersensitivity and asthmatic reactions after exposure to chemical agents is primarily based on data from occupational settings with much higher exposure levels than usually found in non-industrial indoor environments. However, there is evidence that indoor exposure to tobacco smoke, some volatile organic compounds (VOC) and various combustion products (either by using unvented stoves or from outdoor sources) can be related to asthmatic symptoms. In some susceptible individuals, the development of respiratory hypersensitivity or elicitation of asthmatic symptoms may also be related to the indiscriminate use of different household products followed by exposure to compounds such as diisocyanates, organic acid anhydrides, formaldehyde, styrene and hydroquinone. At present, the contribution of the indoor environment both to the development of respiratory hypersensitivity and for triggering asthmatic symptoms is far from elucidated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Design, construct, and characterize an apparatus to evaluate dermal protective clothing for resistance to polymerizing materials. Specifically, we evaluated the permeation of the most common glove material used in automotive collision repair (0.10-0.13 mm or 4-5 mil latex) with representative isocyanate-containing clear coats. Our ultimate goal is to make informed recommendations on dermal protective materials to prevent isocyanate exposures and reduce the likelihood of occupational illness in automotive collision repair and other industries.
A novel permeation panel was developed to assess dermal protective clothing. With this apparatus, up to eight test materials may be evaluated under typical-spray application conditions. Solid collection media comprised of 1-(2-pyridyl)-piperazine (2-PP)-coated fiberglass filters or colorimetric SWYPE™ pads were placed behind test materials to capture permeants. The 2-PP-coated filters were subsequently analyzed using a modified OSHA42/PV2034 method. Color change in the SWYPEs provided an immediate field estimate of breakthrough time. In addition, Teflon filters were mounted proximal to the permeation cells to measure the mass of clear coat applied to the panel and to evaluate loading homogeneity. This study evaluated the permeation of isocyanates through 0.10-0.13 mm latex glove material at a fixed time (30 min post-spraying) and over a time course (6-91 min post-spraying).
Monomers 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) and isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI) permeated through (0.10-0.13 mm) latex glove material under typical glove use conditions (30 min). The latex glove material exhibited immediate breakthrough, with a permeation rate of 2.9 ng min(-1) cm(-2). The oligomeric forms of HDI and IPDI did not permeate the latex glove material. The spray application at 71 ± 5 °F was fairly homogeneous (33.7 ± 8 mg weight of dry clear coat per 5 cm(2)).
The permeation panel is a viable method to assess dermal protective clothing performance against polymerizing materials. Thin (0.10-0.13 mm) latex gloves were determined to be ineffective barriers to the isocyanates commonly found in clear coats. Because this type of glove is used frequently in auto body shops, the potential for isocyanate exposure is of concern. Permeation tests with other dermal protective clothing materials and other clear coat formulations are needed to make recommendations about alternative materials.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Isocyanates, as a chemical group, are considered to be the biggest cause of occupational asthma in the UK. Monitoring of airborne exposures to total isocyanate is costly, requiring considerable expertise, both in terms of sample collection and chemical analysis and cannot be used to assess the effectiveness of protection from wearing respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Biological monitoring by analysis of metabolites in urine can be a relatively simple and inexpensive way to assess exposure to isocyanates. It may also be a useful way to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures in place. In this study biological and inhalation monitoring were undertaken to assess exposure in a variety of workplaces in the non-motor vehicle repair sector. Companies selected to participate in the survey included only those judged to be using good working practices when using isocyanate formulations. This included companies that used isocyanates to produce moulded polyurethane products, insulation material and those involved in industrial painting. Air samples were collected by personal monitoring and were analysed for total isocyanate content. Urine samples were collected soon after exposure and analysed for the metabolites of different isocyanate species, allowing calculation of the total metabolite concentration. Details of the control measures used and observed contamination of exposed skin were also recorded. A total of 21 companies agreed to participate in the study, with exposure measurements being collected from 22 sites. The airborne isocyanate concentrations were generally very low (range 0.0005-0.066 mg m(-3)). A total of 50 of the 70 samples were <0.001 mg m(-3), the limit of quantification (LOQ), therefore samples below the LOQ were assigned a value of 1/2 LOQ (0.0005 mg m(-3)). Of the 70 samples, 67 were below the current workplace exposure limit of 0.02 mg m(-3). The highest inhalation exposures occurred during spray painting activities in a truck manufacturing company (0.066 mg m(-3)) and also during spray application of polyurethane foam insulation (0.023 mg m(-3)). The most commonly detected isocyanate in the urine was hexamethylene diisocyanate, which was detected in 21 instances. The geometric mean total isocyanate metabolite concentration for the dataset was 0.29 micromol mol(-1) creatinine (range 0.05-12.64 micromol mol(-1) creatinine). A total of 23 samples collected were above the agreed biological monitoring guidance value of 1.0 micromol mol(-1) creatinine. Activities that resulted in the highest biological monitoring results of the dataset included mixing and casting of polyurethane products (12.64 micromol mol(-1) creatinine), semi-automatic moulding (4.80 micromol mol(-1) creatinine) and resin application (3.91 micromol mol(-1) creatinine). The biological monitoring results show that despite low airborne isocyanate concentrations, it was possible to demonstrate biological uptake. This tends to suggest high sensitivity of the biological monitoring method and/or that in some instances the RPE being used by operators was not effective or that absorption may have occurred via dermal or other routes of exposure. This study demonstrates that biological monitoring is a useful tool when assessing worker exposure to isocyanates, providing a more complete picture on the efficacy of control measures in place than is possible by air monitoring alone. The results also demonstrated that where control measures were judged to be adequate, most biological samples were close to or < 1 micromol mol(-1) creatinine, the agreed biological monitoring benchmark.
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