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Workplace Health and Safety

Laura Dickemann

Worker Safety

Safety first sign against sky

Engineering controls and sound workplace practices are often the first line of defense against diisocyanate exposures, and guidelines have been established to help individuals avoid overexposure and adverse health effects. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a Respiratory Protection Program Standard (29 CFR §1910.134) to address respiratory hazards. It is important that employees wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended for their specific job functions. With proper precaution and the use of engineering controls and PPE, a worker can protect himself or herself from overexposure to diisocyanates.

It is important for workers to understand and adhere to safe handling practices for any chemical that poses a health hazard. This may include, but is not limited to, wearing eye protection, gloves, coveralls or lab aprons and respiratory protection.

Visit www.spraypolyurethane.org to learn more health and safety information about installing spray polyurethane foam.

Health Effects

CPI helps provide information about human health effects and the environment for the polyurethane industry, and also reviews new and existing data to address developing issues and trends. CPI follows a “product stewardship” approach, which is the process by which a business manages its product development, manufacture, distribution, marketing and ultimately disposal of its products.

The Safety Data Sheets (SDS) of polyurethane products provide a list of potential health effects and their symptoms. Diisocyanates have been known to cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin. They also can cause allergic reactions (sensitization) of the skin and lungs.

CPI considers health concerns relating to the broad spectrum of polyurethane product development, including:

  • Raw materials
  • Polyurethane production processes and chemicals
  • Final polyurethane products


CPI addresses some polyurethane industry worker health issues in a variety of ways. We offer a host of product stewardship literature for users of polyurethane products. The majority of this information is available free on our site and is also distributed by the producers of MDI and TDI. Our literature attempts to address concerns about polyurethane raw materials related to environmental, health, safety, distribution, use, emissions and waste issues. Please also be sure to review product stewardship materials from supplier companies as well as downstream customers (blenders, foamers and finished article producers) and their hazard communication and stewardship programs.