Safe use of isocyanates

Isocyanates can be harmful to the skin and the respiratory system. They are in
fact the main cause of occupational asthma. Like the original version, this new
edition of the Guide for Safe Use of Isocyanates - An Industrial Hygiene
Approach is intended for employers and workers as well as anyone working in the
field of occupational health and safety. It is designed to educate, inform and
raise awareness, and has no regulatory value. Readers will come to understand
the chemical hazards associated with isocyanates and will be able to make
informed decisions about ways to reduce exposure and possibly the incidence of
occupational asthma. This guide is not a substitute for the information
contained in Material Safety Data Sheets.

Because this guide is widely used, an update was justified. By conducting a
review of the scientific literature and consulting manufacturer databases, the
researchers have updated scientific and technical knowledge in this area,
particularly toxicological data, regulations, processes and ways of controlling
exposure. This version therefore contains current data and discussions of the
risks inherent in inhalation exposure (respiratory hazard) and dermal exposure
(cutaneous hazard). Other hazards are present in the workplace: for example,
safety hazards, fire and explosion hazards, and ergonomic hazards. Though these
and other chemical hazards linked to contaminants in the products used (such as
solvents) are not discussed in this document, it is nonetheless important that
they be considered in any comprehensive risk analysis.

This second edition is presented according to the industrial hygiene approach,
a framework for managing health risks by anticipating, recognizing, evaluating,
controlling and communicating the risk factors linked to exposure to chemicals
(such as isocyanates) or to biological or physical agents. The approach adopted
in this guide is that of hygiene rather than risk analysis.

This update contains several new features, such as a case studies chapter to
help the reader understand exposure and how it can be dealt with. We have also
added a short summary in bold lettering at the beginning of each chapter. Links
lead to chapters or sections dealing more specifically with a given aspect,
while hyperlinks (in blue in the text) take the reader to related Web sites. At
the end of the document is a list of all these hyperlinks, which were
functional at the time of printing (Appendix 3). We have also provided a
glossary (including abbreviations) in Appendix 2.

More information - Source: Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST)