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September 1963

Toluene Diisocyanate Asthma: Review and Case Report With Response to Steroids

Author Affiliations


Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine; Director, Pulmonary Laboratory, George Washington University Hospital.; From the Department of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(3):401-404. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860030155018

Toluene diisocyanate is a compound which is useful industrially in the formation of polymers. These polymers have been employed in lacquers and synthetic rubber. In addition, as polyurethanes they form commercially useful plastics and plastic foams of varying degrees of rigidity, elasticity, and insulating ability. Despite its excellence as a cross-linking agent, toluene diisocyanate (TDI) possesses the unfortunate property of producing a severe bronchial obstructive disorder in certain individuals. The more widespread use of polyurethanes, and the fact that "simple, inexpensive and portable machines" 1 for producing them are available, suggests that an increasing number of persons might be exposed to TDI. This exposure occurs among persons mixing or spraying the foams. In addition, other workers, such as plumbers and carpenters, whose trade is performed in poorly ventilated areas on the job where foam has been sprayed or is "curing" may be exposed. This is because the polymerization reaction is

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