Isocyanates are in the hardener of many autobody paints. They react readily with other chemicals to form polyurethane, which makes the finish on cars hard, durable and resistant to weather and UV light. There are many different types of isocyanates, for example HDI, at right,
Isocyanates are found in the air of body shops.
We have measured isocyanates in the air during routine tasks in body shops. The graph, above right, shows which tasks had higher exposures to isocyanates,
Isocyanates on body shop surfaces
We also measured the amount of isocyanate contamination on surfaces in body shops. We used wipe sampling for these tests. The graph below shows the percentage of tests that were positive for isocyanate on various surfaces (all surfaces were tested at least 13 different times).
Isocyanates on autobody workers’ skin
We also wipe tested the skin of workers after doing various auto repair tasks in the shop. The graph below shows which tasks had the most positive isocyanate samples.