- ISOCYANATES - AUTO BODY SHOPS
are the main ingredient in hardeners that are added to clear coats,
primers, enamel coatings, and in some cases basecoats. They are
reactive chemicals that provide coatings with their quick drying
properties and durability. The specific types of isocyanates used
in refinish hardeners can be determined from the MSDS for the hardener.
are highly reactive, worker exposure to the lungs, skin, eyes, and
nervous system through inhalation, or direct contact, can be quite
or short-term breathing problems, occupational asthma, hypersensitivity
" Skin-irritation, rashes, blistering, and reddening
" Eyes-eye irritation, tears, temporary loss of sharpness of
" Nervous system-feeling of drunkenness, numbness, and loss
As a result,
in most jurisdictions in Canada, the use of isocyanates is regulated.
For example, in Ontario, isocyanates are regulated by Designated
Substance - Isocyanates R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 842 (as amended by: O.
Reg. 518/92; 108/04). Collision repair facilities are subject to
the requirements of this regulation.
be minimized by adequate local and general ventilation in spray
booths and paint mixing rooms, combined with best working practices,
and the use of proper personal equipment. For example, proper NIOSH
approved respirators as specified by supplier MSDS or local codes
or regulations must be used when handling or spraying. Full coveralls
must be worn for skin protection, splash proof face shields or goggles
to protect eyes, and long-sleeve, impervious gloves (synthetic or
natural rubber, PVC, or nitrile are specified) to protect hands.
More information can be obtained from the supplier MSDS, or the
label on the hardener container.
PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN:
shall obtain the material safety data sheets from suppliers for
all the isocyanate materials used in the shop.
2. All spraying
with materials containing isocyanates shall be done inside a booth
designed for paint spraying and equipped with adequate mechanical
ventilation. Body filling with materials containing isocyanate should
also be done inside the booth whenever practical. If body filling
is done outside the booth it should be done in a well-ventilated
area. The booth fan should be left running after spraying has ended
until all over-spray has been removed. Only this is it safe to remove
3. While spraying,
the worker must always wear a NIOSH Type C air line respirator with
a full face-piece or hood operated in positive pressure mode or
a self-contained breathing apparatus with a full face-piece operated
in positive pressure mode. Half-mask air supplied respirators, even
if operated in positive pressure mode, organic vapor cartridge respirators
and all types of air supplied respirators operated in demand mode
do not provide adequate protection and must not be used.
4. The air supply
system must be suitable for supplying breathing air and must provide
sufficient capacity to maintain a positive pressure and required
flow in each respirator and hood.
5. Air supplied
to respirators must be taken from a clean air area. If there is
any doubt regarding the quality of the air, it should be tested.
If compressed air is used it must meet the CSA standard for compressed
air (CSA Standard Z180.1-M1978)
materials should be handled in a well-ventilated area and the worker
shall wear eye protection such as safety glasses, splash goggles,
face shield or full-face respirator or hood. Workers must also use
gloves and should use coveralls or clothing that helps prevent isocyanate
contact with the skin.
7. If hardener
gets in the eyes, flush with clean, lukewarm, low-pressure water
for 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the eyelids. Obtain medical
8. If hardener
gets on the skin, wash the affected area with soap and water and,
if possible, rub with half-and-half mixture of isopropyl alcohol
(rubbing alcohol) and water. Do not use this mixture to flush the
eyes! Remove contaminated clothing immediately.
9. In case of
inhalation, move close to a clean air area and obtain medical help
10. In case
on ingestion, give lots of water or milk. Get medical attention
immediately. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.
11. The ventilation
equipment such as booth fan and filters shall be maintained and
operated in such a manner that the face velocity and ventilation
rates in the booth meet booth specifications.
12. Spills may
be neutralized by covering with an absorbent material such as sawdust
or vermiculite and soaked for several hours with a mixture of 9
parts water and 1 part isopropyl alcohol. Then disposal can be carried
out. Water alone can be used but it takes longer to neutralize the
13. Do not wear
contaminated clothing even if it is dry. Decontaminate clothing
by soaking it in a mixture of 9 parts water and 1 part isopropyl
alcohol and some liquid detergent. Contaminated equipment, including
respirators, should be thoroughly decontaminated with the same mixture.
Water alone can be used but it takes longer to neutralize the isocyanates.
14. All workers
working with isocyanate materials should be under the supervision
of a doctor who should be familiar with isocyanates. The health
of workers must be monitored as indicated in the medical surveillance
program specified in the isocyanates regulation.
information on the potential effects of isocyanates and safe handling
practices can be obtained from the following:
Asthma and Death from Diisocyanate Exposure (U.S.)