Isocyanates and work-related asthma: Findings from California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey, 1993–2008
Background Isocyanates remain a leading cause of work-related asthma (WRA).
Methods Two independent data systems were analyzed for the period 1993–2008: (1) State-based WRA case surveillance data on persons with isocyanate-induced WRA from four states, and (2) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) isocyanate air sampling results.
Results We identified 368 cases of isocyanate-induced WRA from 32 industries and 678 OSHA isocyanate air samples with detectable levels from 31 industries. Seventeen industries were unique to one or the other dataset.
Conclusion Isocyanate-induced WRA continues to occur in a wide variety of industries. Two data systems uncovered industries with isocyanate exposures and/or illness. Improved control measures and standards, including medical surveillance, are needed. More emphasis is needed on task-specific guidance, spill clean-up procedures, skin and respiratory protection, and targeted medical monitoring to mitigate the hazards of isocyanate use.