California Residents and Workers Learn about Exposure Risks to Isocyanates
LA Testing provides analytical services to identify the presence of isocyanates from occupational, indoor and environmental samples.
Chemicals known as isocyanates are powerful irritants to the mucous membranes of the eyes, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tracts. Workers in a number of industries throughout California can be exposed to isocyanates as they are raw materials in the production of polyurethane products.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that isocyanates are widely used in the manufacturing of flexible and rigid foams, fibers, elastomers, and coatings such as paints and varnishes. They 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.
In 2014, the California Department of Public Health and the Department of Industrial Relations released a fact sheet entitled Isocyanates: Working Safely. The document states, “Exposure to isocyanates at work can cause asthma. Occupational asthma has overtaken asbestosis as the leading cause of new work-related lung disease. Employers can make product selections and encourage work practices that minimize isocyanate exposure.” The document also warns that continued exposure can make a worker’s asthma worse and that people can become sensitized, so even low-level exposure can cause a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. In addition to asthma and irritating mucous membranes, direct skin contact can cause marked inflammation.
“Identifying exposure risks to isocyanates is a crucial step in eliminating this potential health hazard in the work environment,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “To help prevent exposure, LA Testing offers industrial hygiene and environmental isocyanate testing services, and all of the sampling supplies necessary. We also provide a wide range of personal protective equipment that can help prevent and mitigate exposure risks.”
LA Testing has sponsored an educational video about exposure risks and occupational asthma associated with isocyanates that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/2R4XahCHK5I.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, NVLAP, CDC ELITE, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including Huntington Beach, San Diego, San Leandro and South Pasadena.
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