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Isocyanates: Working Safely

Isocyanates are a group of chemicals used to make polyurethane paints, foams, adhesives, and packaging. Specific chemical formulations vary according to the end product, but all isocyanates can cause allergic reactions. This revised fact sheet reviews best work practices to minimize isocyanate exposures and to reduce the risk of asthma and skin conditions among workers using or applying polyurethane products. It offers a step-by-step approach to developing an isocyanate safety plan for your workplace.

Isocyanates: Working Safely (PDF)  – Revised fact sheet


N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP)  

NMP is a solvent known to the State of California to produce reproductive harm. In April 2014 Cal/OSHA adopted a new Permissible Exposure Limit of one part-per-million in air to reduce the risk of developmental effects in the offspring of exposed workers. Cal/OSHA also gave NMP an "S" (skin) designation, requiring employers to provide appropriate protective gloves, because NMP can be absorbed through intact skin. California is currently the only jurisdiction within the United States to regulate NMP exposures in workplace air. This revised HESIS health hazard advisory includes these regulatory changes and emphasizes the use of safer alternatives. It also contains an updated list of some commercial products with NMP as an ingredient.

N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) (PDF)  – Revised health hazard advisory


Preventing Work-related Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)

Workers who disturb soil containing the Coccidioides immitis fungus and work in dusty outdoor areas are at risk for Valley Fever. Over 1000 Californians are hospitalized with this illness every year. About eight of every 100 people hospitalized with it die from the infection annually. Yet workplace health and safety plans often do not even mention Valley Fever, despite the fact that the illness can be disabling or fatal. Workers can be protected against this disease by the use of dust control measures and appropriate personal protective equipment. Now OHB has a web page featuring our prevention materials.

Preventing Work-related Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) – Web page


Preventing Worker Deaths from Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) is a widely used solvent that can cause serious illness or death when used in enclosed spaces. It is a cancer-causing chemical used in paint strippers, in the production of polymer foams and as a degreaser. OHB investigated the deaths of two California workers due to methylene chloride overexposure. Now OHB is launching a web page on preventing worker deaths from paint strippers containing methylene chloride.

Preventing Worker Deaths from Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride – Safer alternatives web page


 

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Last modified on: 7/14/2014 8:28 AM