They are reactive
chemicals that provide coatings with their quick drying properties
and durability. The specific types of isocyanates in refinish
hardeners used in your shop can be determined from the supplier
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 harmful:
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.
paint mixing rooms must be minimized by:
* Proper local
and general ventilation
* Best working practices, and
* The use of proper personal equipment.
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.
on the potential effects of isocyanates and safe handling practices
can be obtained from the following Canadian sources:
ISOCYANATES - AUTO BODY SHOPS
found in body fillers, base coats and clear coats are polymeric
isocyanates. The term isocyanate refers to these and to monomeric
isocyanates such as HDI and IPDI,
of mists or vapours containing isocyanates can cause serious health
effects. Workers may become sensitized to isocyanates either by
breathing in the vapours or through skin contact. Sensitization,
after an initial exposure to isocyanates, results in acute allergic
reactions to further exposure. Once a person is sensitized, exposure
of even very low levels can result in severe breathing difficulties.
Apart from sensitization, exposure to isocyanates can also result
in irritation of the respiratory tract, skin and eyes and in some
cases loss of lung function.
be exposed to isocyanates materials when applying isocyanate-based
body fillers, base coats and clear coats. Spraying is especially
hazardous because the mist produced can easily be inhaled if proper
respiratory protection is not worn.
regulation, Ontario Regulation 455/83, applies to all auto body
shops where isocyanate materials are used, the shop is therefore
required to have a joint health and safety committee and an isocyanate
control program if the assessment discloses that workers' health
may be affected by exposure. This hazard alert summarizes the
measures and procedures that must be included in the control program.
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 the respirator.
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
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
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.
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 isocyanate.
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
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.