Tuesday, June 25, 2013

National Emphasis Program Targets Isocyanate Exposure

OSHA has launched a national emphasis program (NEP) to protect workers from the serious health effects from occupational exposure to isocyanates. Under the NEP, the agency will focus outreach efforts and inspections for a 3-year period on general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds. “Workers exposed to isocyanates can suffer debilitating health problems for months or even years after exposure,” says OSHA Administrator David Michaels. 

Isocyanates are chemicals that can cause occupational asthma, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat, and cancer. Deaths have occurred due to both asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis from isocyanates exposure. Respiratory illnesses also can be caused by isocyanates exposure to the skin. Isocyanates are used in materials including paints, varnishes, auto body repair, and building insulation. Jobs that involve exposure to isocyanates include the spray-on polyurethane manufacturing of products such as mattresses and car seats, and protective coatings for truck beds, boats and decks.

Learn more on OSHA’s isocyanates web page.