Objectives: To identify possible cases of occupational asthma and assess accidental skin and inhalation exposures to aliphatic diisocyanates.
Methods: Seventy-three employees from two plants, manufacturing or producing aliphatic diisocyanates, were surveyed using a detailed respiratory history questionnaire with additional questions on accidental skin and inhalation exposures. Further reviews of medical records and interviews were used to determine whether any of 15 employees with questionable responses had developed occupational asthma.
Results: No cases of occupational asthma were identified. Nevertheless, many employees reported occasional accidental unprotected skin exposures and/or detecting the odor of 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate or isophorone diisocyanate.
Conclusions: Consistent with a previous study, no cases of occupational asthma were identified from exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate, isophorone diisocyanate, methylene bis(4-cyclohexyl isocyanate), or their polyisocyanates even though many employees reported detection of odors (93%) or skin exposures (53%).