Isocyanates

SAL is one of only two laboratories providing Isocyanate analysis in Urine.


Problems with Isocyanates

Isocyanates are highly reactive, low molecular weight, aromatic and aliphatic compounds typically found in the hardener of two part paints and primers. Isocyanates are present in two forms, monomer and pre polymer, both of which are a risk to health when they are released into the air during paint or primer spraying.
The most common diisocyanates are Toluene diisocyanate (TDI), Methylene bisphenol isocyanate (MDI), Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) and Isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI).


Exposure to Isocyanates

The main routes of workplace exposure to Isocyanates are by inhalation of the vapour or aerosol during spraying or skin contact during the handling of liquid Isocyanates. Breathing unreacted Isocyanate can cause coughing, chest tightness, fever, fatigue and sensitisation. Direct skin contact with isocyanate may cause rashes, blistering and reddening of the skin and dermatitis. In rare cases, repeated skin contact can lead to skin sensitisation. Eye exposure to Isocyanates can cause eye irritation and temporary blurred vision and direct contact with the eye may damage the cornea.
Their widespread use has made Isocyanates one of the main causes of occupational asthma worldwide. There is a potential for exposure to Isocyanates at work from the following industries:

  • Motor Vehicle Repair
  • Manufacture – Polyurethane Foams, Paints, Varnishes, Elastomers
  • Building Insulation Materials
  • SAL Analysis

SAL offers UKAS accredited analysis of HDI,MDI,TDI to MDHS 25/3 for filters treated with 1-(2 methoxyphenyl) piperazine and/or impinger solutions.
In addition SAL can provide the analysis of Isocyanate metabolites in urine which can assist in providing a more complete picture of how effective the control measures in the workplace are compared to air monitoring. The cost of the analysis includes creatinine correction, the supply of urine bottles and pre-paid self addressed envelopes.

For further information, please contact Duncan Campbell on +44 (0)161 874 2400 or contact us online.