IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Relevance of Biomonitoring of Exposure in Workers Spraying MDI Foam Insulation


Recognized as chemical respiratory and dermal irritants and sensitizers, isocyanates can trigger occupational asthma.

Many products contain isocyanates. They are used in the manufacture of polyurethane materials such as foam insulation, glue, adhesives, automotive paint and flexible upholstery foam.

Assessing exposure and quantifying the potential health risk to workers who spray 4, 4’-diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) foam insulation has always been a challenge, as they have been based solely on underestimated ambient air concentrations, corrected according to the personal protective equipment worn by workers.

Biomonitoring is a useful approach for assessing exposure because it makes it possible to verify the dose absorbed by the workers by all routes of absorption. To this end, the scientists at the IRSST laboratory division developed a method to determine the dose of 4, 4’-methylenedianiline (MDA) in hydrolyzed urine, used as a biomarker of MDI exposure. This method will enable a more accurate assessment of the exposure levels of workers spraying MDI-based foam insulation.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relevance of using biological monitoring to detect isocyanates in workers spraying MDI-based foam insulation.

 Volunteers needed for this study.