Human & experimental toxicology

Risk evaluation of occupational exposure to methylene dianiline and toluene diamine in polyurethane foam.

PMID 16408619


Methylene diphenylisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) are widely used in industry to produce polyurethane foam products. Small amounts of methylenedianiline (MDA) and toluene diamine (TDA) are released during MDI and TDI polymerization and may be present in newly finished polyurethane foam parts. MDA and TDA concentrations in foam decline exponentially within several hours of demolding. MDA and the 2,4-isomer of TDA are known animal carcinogens and, in addition, have significant non-carcinogenic health effects. Our goal was to determine whether worker exposure to MDA or TDA in freshly produced polyurethane foams was associated with unacceptable health risks. Sampling and analysis of the fresh foam indicated that MDA and TDA concentrations varied considerably among products, but concentrations in all materials evaluated declined rapidly over time. We found that, under a worst-case exposure scenario, cancer risks from TDA exposure were approximately 5 x 10(-6), whereas cancer risks from MDA exposure resulted in a tumorigenic margin of exposure (MOE) of 85 000. Non-cancer chronic hazard indices were well below 1.0. Therefore, the potential cancer and non-cancer health risks from MDA or TDA exposure to newly manufactured foam parts appear to fall well within acceptable health risk criteria.