"Workers exposed to isocyanates can suffer debilitating health problems for months or even years after exposure," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Through this program, OSHA will strengthen protections for workers exposed to isocyanates."
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 spray-on polyurethane manufacturing, products such as mattresses and car seats and protective coatings for truck beds, boats, and decks.
OSHA's Web page on Isocyanates provides additional information on recognizing potential hazards, as well as OSHA standards that address isocyanates in the general, construction and maritime industries.