Cinnaminson, NJ, July 10th, 2015
Isocyanates are powerful irritants to the mucous membranes of the eyes and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Workers in a number of industries can be exposed to this family of chemicals because isocyanates are the raw materials that make up polyurethane products.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports, “They are widely used in the manufacture of flexible and rigid foams, fibers, coatings such as paints and varnishes, and elastomers, and are increasingly used in the automobile industry, auto body repair, and building insulation materials. Spray-on polyurethane products containing isocyanates have been developed for a wide range of retail, commercial, and industrial uses to protect cement, wood, fiberglass, steel and aluminum, including protective coatings for truck beds, trailers, boats, foundations, and decks.”
Exposure can lead to a number of potential health concerns. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that isocyanates are one of the most common chemical causes of work-related asthma. Isocyanates can also sensitize workers, making them subject to severe asthma attacks if they are exposed again. In addition to irritating the mucous membranes of the eyes and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, direct skin contact can cause marked inflammation.
“Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Preventing exposure to isocyanates is a crucial step for eliminating this potential health hazard in the work environment. At EMSL, we offer industrial hygiene and environmental testing services and sampling supplies to identify isocyanates. EMSL also provides a wide range of personal protective equipment that can help prevent occupational exposures.”
EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about exposure risks and occupational asthma associated with isocyanates that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/2R4XahCHK5I.
To learn more about isocyanate testing or other occupational, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.