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Polyurethane Amine Catalysts: Safe Handling Guidelines 

Polyurethanes are generally made by reacting a diisocyanate, such as toluene diisocyanate (TDI) or methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), and a blended polyol. When a polyurethane foam is desired, the process uses additional chemicals, such as amine and/or metallic salt catalysts, auxiliary blowing agents, and silicone surfactants, to achieve the desired properties. 

Amine catalysts are used to control and/or balance both the gelling reaction and the gas-forming or foaming reaction responsible for foam formation. Although several organometallic compounds or salts may be used as catalysts in the production of polyurethanes, many polyurethane manufacturers use either tertiary aliphatic amines or alkanolamines. Amine catalysts are typically 0.1 to 5.0 percent of a polyurethane formulation.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.

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