WASHINGTON, D.C.–May 2, 2013–This past April, the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability (CIRPD) hosted a conference titled "Isocyanates and Health: Past, Present & Future." The event provided a forum to share the latest research about isocyanates.
Approximately 160 people attended, including representatives from the American Chemistry Council's Diisocyanates (DII) Panel, Aliphatic Diisocyanate (ADI) Panel, Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) and their members. Representatives from the International Isocyanate Institute (III), a global non-profit research organization whose mission is to develop scientific data supporting the safe and environmentally responsible production and use of isocyanates, were also in attendance.
The conference offered an opportunity for the industry to present its ongoing research and product stewardship activities related to the safe use and handling of isocyanates. An estimated 60 papers or posters were presented, 18 of which were about projects sponsored by the isocyanates industry. These presentations highlighted the industry's ongoing coordination with various government agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), among others.
Industry has partnered with government to help disseminate health and safety information and training for professionals using spray polyurethane foam (SPF), and educational programs for spray-on truck bed liner applicators to educate them on reducing and preventing potential exposures to isocyanates. Another important collaborative project with government involves joint research and development programs to monitor any potential risks of toluene diisocyanates (TDI) exposure and associated occupational asthma at manufacturing sites. Industry also has a project underway with government and academia to develop a novel analytical method for measuring total reactive isocyanate groups.
Additional research was presented at the conference on a risk assessment of consumer exposures to TDI derived from flexible polyurethane foam, which found sleeping on a foam mattress does not pose TDI-related health risks to consumers, and related analytical testing found no detectable TDI released from foam samples. Another presentation from industry showed the results of a "weight-of-evidence review" evaluation of the carcinogenicity potential of TDI, which concluded that TDI is not a human carcinogen. These are just a sampling of the topics that were covered in-depth by industry-sponsored researchers.
It was noted by the conference organizers that a number of research data gaps will be proposed as an outcome of the conference. Given the industry's long history of research on isocyanates, we believe that some of these perceived data gaps have already been or are being studied. We welcome further dialogue with the research community to highlight the most impactful areas for future research. Industry will continue doing its part to develop scientifically sound research and continues to look for ways to broadly disseminate that information.
Through its ongoing coordination with government agencies and renewed efforts to disseminate meaningful data, industry will continue to demonstrate its leadership on isocyanate research and information. With our specialized scientific experts and decades of existing research, we are committed to good faith partnerships with all parties interested in advancing the knowledge of potential isocyanate-related health effects.
For more information about the DII and ADI Panels, CPI, III and their product stewardship leadership, please use the contact details and links provided below.
About The American Chemistry Council: ACC represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $760 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the largest exporting sector in the U.S., accounting for 12 percent of U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
About The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry of the American Chemistry Council: CPI promotes the sustainable development of polyurethanes. Our members are U.S. producers or distributors of chemicals and equipment used to make polyurethane or manufacturers of polyurethane products.