Urethane Binders: Isocyanates
Isocyanates are toxic compounds used in the formation of urethane compounds. The isocyanate group reacts with hydroxyl to form a urethane structure. Isocyanates are highly reactive and exposure can result in workplace asthma and ‘hypersensitivity pneumonitis’ through inhalation or skin contact. Other symptoms include tightness in the chest, difficulty with breathing, and sensitivity to skin and mucous membranes. Workers may be exposed to isocyanates during the manufacture of urethane products; also in foam-blowing applications including insulation, foam-in-place packaging, surface coatings, furniture manufacture, mattresses, padding, shoes, laminated fabrics, etc.
Isocyanates are commonly used in the formation of urethane polymers, urethane paint, spandex fibers, thermoplastic elastomers. They are the compounds that make up all polyurethane products; there is no substitute.
Current sampling methods for isocyanates pose an industry challenge. Sampling devices are suitable only for STEL sampling, and may not be indicative of true isocyanate exposure. Often, the worker must be removed from their work area first to be outfitted with the sampler, and then again to retrieve the sampler, resulting in lost time and productivity. Additionally, existing methods require immediate field desorption after sampling in order to avoid the risk of unreliable results. Adding to the challenge is the inconvenience of shipping samplers and reagents to and from the sampling location (for sampling and analysis), resulting in some loss of samples due to sampler storage instability.
Our new ASSET™ EZ4-NCO dry sampler for isocyanates overcomes these challenges by offering the ultimate sensitivity, stability, and confidence, with reliable results.