Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2003;29(2):152-158    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.717

Effects of thermal degradation products from polyurethane foams based on toluene diisocyanate and diphenylmethane diisocyanate on isolated, perfused lung of guinea pig

by Låstbom L, Colmsjö A, Johansson R, Karlsson D, Melin J, Nordqvist Y, Skarping G

Objectives The composition of thermal degradation products from two types of polyurethane foams, one based on toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and the other on diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI), was analyzed and their toxic lung effects were compared.

Methods Isolated perfused lungs of guinea pig were subjected to thermal decomposition products of polyurethane foams from an aerosol generator with compartments for diluting, mixing, and sampling.

Results Thermal degradation of MDI-based polyurethane foams released MDI, phenyl isocyanate, and methyl isocyanate. The emitted particulate fraction was 75% for MDI, whereas that for TDI from TDI-based polyurethane foam was 3%. Thermal degradation products from MDI-based foam caused a pronounced dose-dependent decrease in the measured lung function parameters (conductance and compliance). In contrast, the thermal degradation products from TDI-based foam did not cause any decrease in lung function.

Conclusions Thermal degradation products generated from MDI-based polyurethane foam were more toxic to the lung than those generated from TDI-based polyurethane foam. This difference was probable due to MDI in the particle phase.