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1.  Quantification and Statistical Modeling—Part II: Dermal Concentrations of Monomeric and Polymeric 1,6-Hexamethylene Diisocyanate 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2009;53(7):691-702.
We conducted a quantitative dermal and inhalation exposure assessment of monomeric and polymeric 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanates (HDI) in 47 automotive spray painters from North Carolina and Washington State. We report here the use of linear mixed modeling (LMM) to identify the primary determinants of dermal exposure. Dermal concentrations of HDI, uretidone, biuret, and isocyanurate were significantly higher in 15 painters who did not wear coveralls or gloves (N = 51 paint tasks) than in 32 painters who did wear coveralls and gloves (N = 192 paint tasks) during spray painting. Regardless of whether protective clothing was worn, isocyanurate was the predominant species measured in the skin [geometric mean (GM) = 33.8 ng mm−3], with a 95% detection rate. Other polyisocyanates (GM ≤ 0.17 ng mm−3) were detected in skin during <23% of the paint tasks. According to marginal R2 statistics, mixed models generated in this study described no <36% of the variability in dermal concentrations of the different polyisocyanates measured in painters who did not wear protective clothing. These models also described 55% of the variability in dermal concentrations of isocyanurate measured in all painters (N = 288 paint tasks). The product of analyte-specific breathing-zone concentration (BZC) and paint time was the most significant variable in all the models. Through LMM, a better understanding of the exposure pathways governing individual polyisocyanate exposures may be achieved. In particular, we were able to establish a link between BZC and dermal concentration, which may be useful for exposure reconstruction and quantitatively characterizing the protective effect of coveralls and gloves. This information can be used to reduce dermal exposures and better protect automotive spray painters from potential adverse health effects.
PMCID: PMC2758669  PMID: 19635734
dermal exposure; exposure determinants; hexamethylene diisocyanate; isocyanate; statistical modeling
2.  Airborne Isocyanate Exposures in the Collision Repair Industry and a Comparison to Occupational Exposure Limits 
Isocyanate exposure was evaluated in 33 spray painters from 25 Washington State autobody shops. Personal breathing zone samples (n = 228) were analyzed for isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI) monomer, 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) monomer, IPDI polyisocyanate, and three polyisocyanate forms of HDI. The objective was to describe exposures to isocyanates while spray painting, compare them with short-term exposure limits (STELs), and describe the isocyanate composition in the samples. The composition of polyisocyanates (IPDI and HDI) in the samples varied greatly, with maximum amounts ranging from up to 58% for HDI biuret to 96% for HDI isocyanurate. There was a significant inverse relationship between the percentage composition of HDI isocyanurate to IPDI and to HDI uretdione. Two 15-min STELs were compared: (1) Oregon's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR-OSHA) STEL of 1000 μg/m3 for HDI polyisocyanate, and (2) the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive (UK-HSE) STEL of 70 μg NCO/m3 for all isocyanates. Eighty percent of samples containing HDI polyisocyanate exceeded the OR-OSHA STEL while 98% of samples exceeded the UKHSE STEL. The majority of painters (67%) wore half-face air-purifying respirators while spray painting. Using the OROSHA and the UK-HSE STELs as benchmarks, 21% and 67% of painters, respectively, had at least one exposure that exceeded the respirator's OSHA-assigned protection factor. A critical review of the STELs revealed the following limitations: (1) the OR-OSHA STEL does not include all polyisocyanates, and (2) the UK-HSE STEL is derived from monomeric isocyanates, whereas the species present in typical spray coatings are polyisocyanates. In conclusion, the variable mixtures of isocyanates used by autobody painters suggest that an occupational exposure limit is required that includes all polyisocyanates. Despite the limitations of the STELs, we determined that a respirator with an assigned protection factor of 25 or greater is required to protect against isocyanate exposures during spray painting. Consequently, half-face air-purifying respirators, which are most commonly used and have an assigned protection factor of 10, do not afford adequate respiratory protection.
PMCID: PMC4075771  PMID: 22500941
autobody; hexamethylene diisocyanate; occupational exposure limits; polyisocyanates; respiratory protection; STEL
3.  Factors affecting variability in the urinary biomarker 1,6-hexamethylene diamine in workers exposed to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate 
Although urinary 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA) is a useful biomarker of exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), a large degree of unexplained intra- and inter-individual variability exists between estimated HDI exposure and urine HDA levels. We investigated the effect of individual and workplace factors on urine HDA levels using quantitative dermal and inhalation exposure data derived from a survey of automotive spray painters exposed to HDI. Painters' dermal and breathing-zone HDI-exposures were monitored over an entire workday for up to three separate workdays, spaced approximately one month apart. One urine sample was collected before the start of work with HDI-containing paints, and multiple samples were collected throughout the workday. Using mixed effects multiple linear regression modeling, coverall use resulted in significantly lower HDA levels (p = 0.12), and weekday contributed to significant variability in HDA levels (p = 0.056). We also investigated differences in urine HDA levels stratified by dichotomous and classification covariates using analysis of variance. Use of coveralls (p = 0.05), respirator type worn (p = 0.06), smoker status (p = 0.12), paint-booth type (p = 0.02), and more than one painter at the shop (p = 0.10) were all found to significantly affect urine HDA levels adjusted for creatinine concentration. Coverall use remained significant (p = 0.10), even after adjusting for respirator type. These results indicate that the variation in urine HDA level is mainly due to workplace factors and that appropriate dermal and inhalation protection is required to prevent HDI exposure.
PMCID: PMC4124595  PMID: 20978689
4.  Urine 1,6-Hexamethylene Diamine (HDA) Levels Among Workers Exposed to 1,6-Hexamethylene Diisocyanate (HDI) 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2010;54(6):678-691.
Urinary 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA) may serve as a biomarker for systemic exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) in occupationally exposed populations. However, the quantitative relationships between dermal and inhalation exposure to HDI and urine HDA levels have not been established. We measured acid-hydrolyzed urine HDA levels along with dermal and breathing-zone levels of HDI in 48 automotive spray painters. These measurements were conducted over the course of an entire workday for up to three separate workdays that were spaced approximately 1 month apart. One urine sample was collected before the start of work with HDI-containing paints and subsequent samples were collected during the workday. HDA levels varied throughout the day and ranged from nondetectable to 65.9 μg l−1 with a geometric mean and geometric standard deviation of 0.10 μg l−1 ± 6.68. Dermal exposure and inhalation exposure levels, adjusted for the type of respirator worn, were both significant predictors of urine HDA levels in the linear mixed models. Creatinine was a significant covariate when used as an independent variable along with dermal and respirator-adjusted inhalation exposure. Consequently, exposure assessment models must account for the water content of a urine sample. These findings indicate that HDA exhibits a biphasic elimination pattern, with a half-life of 2.9 h for the fast elimination phase. Our results also indicate that urine HDA level is significantly associated with systemic HDI exposure through both the skin and the lungs. We conclude that urinary HDA may be used as a biomarker of exposure to HDI, but biological monitoring should be tailored to reliably capture the intermittent exposure pattern typical in this industry.
PMCID: PMC2918490  PMID: 20530123
biomarkers; creatinine; dermal exposure; 1,6-hexamethylene diamine; 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate; inhalation exposure; urine analysis
5.  Quantitative Plasma Biomarker Analysis in HDI Exposure Assessment 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2009;54(1):41-54.
Quantification of amines in biological samples is important for evaluating occupational exposure to diisocyanates. In this study, we describe the quantification of 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA) levels in hydrolyzed plasma of 46 spray painters applying 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI)-containing paint in vehicle repair shops collected during repeated visits to their workplace and their relationship with dermal and inhalation exposure to HDI monomer. HDA was detected in 76% of plasma samples, as heptafluorobutyryl derivatives, and the range of HDA concentrations was ≤0.02–0.92 μg l−1. After log-transformation of the data, the correlation between plasma HDA levels and HDI inhalation exposure measured on the same workday was low (N = 108, r = 0.22, P = 0.026) compared with the correlation between plasma HDA levels and inhalation exposure occurring ∼20 to 60 days before blood collection (N = 29, r = 0.57, P = 0.0014). The correlation between plasma HDA levels and HDI dermal exposure measured on the same workday, although statistically significant, was low (N = 108, r = 0.22, P = 0.040) while the correlation between HDA and dermal exposure occurring ∼20 to 60 days before blood collection was slightly improved (N = 29, r = 0.36, P = 0.053). We evaluated various workplace factors and controls (i.e. location, personal protective equipment use and paint booth type) as modifiers of plasma HDA levels. Workers using a downdraft-ventilated booth had significantly lower plasma HDA levels relative to semi-downdraft and crossdraft booth types (P = 0.0108); this trend was comparable to HDI inhalation and dermal exposure levels stratified by booth type. These findings indicate that HDA concentration in hydrolyzed plasma may be used as a biomarker of cumulative inhalation and dermal exposure to HDI and for investigating the effectiveness of exposure controls in the workplace.
PMCID: PMC2802519  PMID: 19805392
biomarker; dermal exposure; 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA); 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI); inhalation exposure; plasma
6.  Dermal, inhalation, and internal exposure to 1,6‐HDI and its oligomers in car body repair shop workers and industrial spray painters 
To study inhalation and dermal exposure to hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) and its oligomers as well as personal protection equipment (PPE) use during task performance in conjunction with urinary hexamethylene diamine (HDA) in car body repair shop workers and industrial spray painters.
Personal task based inhalation samples (n = 95) were collected from six car body repair shops and five industrial painting companies using impingers with di‐n‐butylamine (DBA) in toluene. In parallel, dermal exposure was assessed using nitril rubber gloves. Gloves were submerged into DBA in toluene after sampling. Analysis for HDI and its oligomers was performed by LC‐MS/MS. Urine samples were collected from 55 workers (n = 291) and analysed for HDA by GC‐MS.
Inhalation exposure was strongly associated with tasks during which aerosolisation occurs. Dermal exposure occurred during tasks that involve direct handling of paint. In car body repair shops associations were found between detectable dermal exposure and glove use (odds ratio (OR) 0.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09 to 0.57) and inhalation exposure level (OR 1.34, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.84 for a 10‐fold increase). HDA in urine could be demonstrated in 36% and 10% of car body repair shop workers and industrial painting company workers respectively. In car body repair shops, the frequency of detectable HDA was significantly elevated at the end of the working day (OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.07 to 4.22 for 3–6 pm v 0–8 am). In both branches HDA was detected in urine of ∼25% of the spray painters. In addition HDA was detected in urine of a large proportion of non‐spray painters in car body repair shops.
Although (spray) painting with lacquers containing isocyanate hardeners results in the highest external exposures to HDI and oligomers, workers that do not perform paint related tasks may also receive a considerable internal dose.
PMCID: PMC2078164  PMID: 16728504
isocyanate; oligomers; dermal; biomonitoring; spray painting
7.  Respiratory Symptoms, Sensitization, and Exposure–Response Relationships in Spray Painters Exposed to Isocyanates 
Rationale: Associations between oligomeric isocyanate exposure, sensitization, and respiratory disease have received little attention, despite the extensive use of isocyanate oligomers.
Objectives: To investigate exposure–response relationships of respiratory symptoms and sensitization in a large population occupationally exposed to isocyanate oligomers during spray painting.
Methods: The prevalence of respiratory symptoms and sensitization was assessed in 581 workers in the spray-painting industry. Personal exposure was estimated by combining personal task-based inhalatory exposure measurements and time activity information. Specific IgE and IgG to hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) were assessed in serum by ImmunoCAP assay and enzyme immunoassays using vapor and liquid phase HDI–human serum albumin (HDI–HSA) and HSA conjugates prepared with oligomeric HDI.
Measurements and Main Results: Respiratory symptoms were more prevalent in exposed workers than among comparison office workers. Log–linear exposure–response associations were found for asthmalike symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–like symptoms, and work-related chest tightness (prevalence ratios for an interquartile range increase in exposure of 1.2, 1.3 and 2.0, respectively; P ⩽ 0.05). The prevalence of specific IgE sensitization was low (up to 4.2% in spray painters). Nevertheless, IgE to N100 (oligomeric HDI)–HSA was associated with exposure and work-related chest tightness. The prevalence of specific IgG was higher (2–50.4%) and strongly associated with exposure.
Conclusions: The results provide evidence of exposure–response relationships for both work-related and non–work-related respiratory symptoms and specific sensitization in a population exposed to oligomers of HDI. Specific IgE was found in only a minority of symptomatic individuals. Specific IgG seems to be merely an indicator of exposure.
PMCID: PMC2176099  PMID: 17656675
oligomer; isocyanate; asthma; spray painter; sensitization
8.  Analysis of the interrelationship of the pulmonary irritation and elicitation thresholds in rats sensitized with 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) 
Inhalation Toxicology  2015;27(4):191-206.
This paper summarizes a range of experimental data central for developing a science-based approach for hazard identification of monomeric and polymeric aliphatic 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI). The dose–response curve of HDI-induced pulmonary responses in naïve or dermally sensitized rats after one or several inhalation priming exposures was examined in the Brown Norway (BN) rat asthma model. Emphasis was directed to demonstrate the need and the difficulty in selecting an appropriate pulmonary dose when much of the inhaled chemically reactive vapor may concentration dependently be retained in the upper airways of obligate nose-breathing rats. The course taken acknowledges the experimental challenges in identifying an elicitation threshold for HDI-monomer near or above the saturated vapor concentration or in the presence of a HDI-polymer aerosol. The inhalation threshold dose on elicitation was determined based on a fixed concentration (C) × variable exposure duration (t) protocol for improving inhalation dosimetry of the lower airways. Neutrophilic granulocytes (PMN) in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid in equally inhalation primed naïve and dermally sensitized rats were used to define the inhalation elicitation threshold C × t. Sensitized rats elaborated markedly increased PMN challenged sensitized rats relative to equally challenged naïve rats at 5625 mg HDI/m3 × min (75 mg/m3 for 75 min). PMN were essentially indistinguishable at 900 mg HDI/m3 × min. By applying adjustment factors accounting for both inter-species differences in inhalation dosimetry and intra-species susceptibility, the workplace human-equivalent threshold C × t was estimated to be in the range of the current ACGIH TLV® of HDI. Thus, this rat “asthma” model was suitable to demonstrate elicitation thresholds for HDI-vapor after one or several inhalation priming exposures and seems to be suitable to derive occupational exposure values (OELs) for diisocyanates in general.
PMCID: PMC4496806  PMID: 25924102
Asthma rat bioassay; diisocyanate asthma; dose–response; neutrophilic inflammation; risk assessment
9.  Biomonitoring Hexamethylene Diisocyanate (HDI) Exposure Based on Serum Levels of HDI-Specific IgG 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2012;56(8):901-910.
Isocyanate chemicals essential for polyurethane production are widely used industrially, and are increasingly found in consumer products. Asthma and other adverse health effects of isocyanates are well-documented and exposure surveillance is crucial to disease prevention. Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI)-specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) was evaluated as an exposure biomarker among workers at a US Air Force Air Logistics Center, which includes a large aircraft maintenance facility.
HDI-specific IgG (HDI-IgG) titers in serum samples (n = 74) were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay based upon the biuret form of HDI conjugated to human albumin. Information on personal protective equipment (PPE), work location/tasks, smoking, asthma history, basic demographics, and HDI skin exposure was obtained through questionnaire.
HDI-specific serum IgG levels were elevated in n = 17 (23%) of the workers studied. The prevalence and/or end-titer of the HDI-IgG was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with specific job titles, self-reported skin exposure, night-shift work, and respirator use, but not atopy, asthma, or other demographic information. The highest titers were localized to specific worksites (C-130 painting), while other worksites (generator painting) had no or few workers with detectable HDI-IgG.
HDI-specific immune responses (IgG) provide a practical biomarker to aid in exposure surveillance and ongoing industrial hygiene efforts. The strategy may supplement current air sampling approaches, which do not assess exposures via skin, or variability in PPE use or effectiveness. The approach may also be applicable to evaluating isocyanate exposures in other settings, and may extend to other chemical allergens.
PMCID: PMC3471419  PMID: 22449630
biomarker; exposure; HDI; hygiene; occupational
10.  Development of immunoassays for biomonitoring of hexamethylene diisocyanate exposure. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2001;109(11):1103-1108.
Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) is used widely to manufacture polyurethanes for paints and coatings. It is an irritant and a chemical asthmagen. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration time-weighted average permissible exposure limit is 5 ppb and the ceiling limit is 20 ppb. We sought to develop a sensitive and specific immuno-bioassay to supplement workplace air monitoring and detect recent HDI exposure. For this, we produced rabbit antiserum to HDI-adducted keyhole limpet hemocyanin (HDI-KLH). The specificity of the antiserum was demonstrated by its reaction with a variety of HDI-conjugated proteins and the absence of reactions with conjugates of other diisocyanates, namely toluene diisocyanate and diphenyl methylene diisocyanate. Four immunoassays were developed and compared for their ability to detect decreasing quantities of HDI-adducted human serum albumin (HSA) containing 2 mol HDI adduct per mol HSA (HDI(2)-HSA) as determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. The sensitivities of some of the assays are within the range (0.82-45 nM) of current analytic methods. A Western analysis procedure has a sensitivity of 600 nM HDI adduct on HSA. ELISA inhibition assay, in which microtiter plates are coated with the HDI(2)-HSA antigen, has a sensitivity of 300 nM HDI adduct. An immunoblot assay has a sensitivity of 9 nM HDI adduct. The most sensitive bioassay (1.8 nM HDI adduct) is a three-antibody sandwich ELISA in which wells of microtiter plates are coated with the IgG fraction of the anti-HDI-KLH antisera. Compared with analytic methods for HDI biomonitoring, the immunoassays are faster and less costly and accommodate numerous samples simultaneously. The assays have the potential to affect industrial biomonitoring programs significantly.
PMCID: PMC1240469  PMID: 11712993
11.  Hemoglobin adducts in workers exposed to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate 
We investigated the utility of 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA) hemoglobin adducts as biomarkers of exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) monomer. Blood samples from 15 spray painters applying HDI-containing paint were analyzed for hemoglobin HDA (HDA-Hb) and N-acetyl-1,6-hexamethylene diamine (monoacetyl-HDA-Hb) by GC-MS. HDA-Hb was detected in the majority of workers (≤1.2–37 ng/g Hb), whereas monoacetyl-HDA-Hb was detected in one worker (0.06 ng/g Hb). The stronger, positive association between HDA-Hb and cumulative HDI exposure (r2 = 0.3, p < 0.06) than same day exposure (p ≥ 0.13) indicates long-term elimination kinetics for HDA-Hb adducts. This association demonstrates the suitability of HDA-Hb adducts for further validation as a biomarker of HDI exposure.
PMCID: PMC4174272  PMID: 21506697
1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA); hemoglobin; adduct; biomarker; 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI)
12.  Isocyanate exposure and asthma in the UK vehicle repair industry 
Organic diisocyanates are a common cause of occupational asthma, particularly in motor vehicle repair (MVR) workers. The UK Health & Safety Laboratory provides screening for urinary hexamethylenediamine (UHDA), a biomarker of exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI). The UK Surveillance of Work-related and Occupational Respiratory Disease scheme (SWORD) has collected reports of occupational asthma since 1996.
To compare trends in HDI exposure with trends in the incidence of work-related asthma attributed to isocyanates or paint spraying in MVR workers reported to SWORD.
Two-level regression models were used to estimate trends in UHDA levels and work-related asthma in MVR workers reported to SWORD. The direction and magnitude of the trends were compared descriptively.
From 2006 to 2014, there was a significant decline in the number of urine samples with detectable levels of UHDA (odds ratio = 0.96; 95% confidence intervals 0.94–0.98) and minimal change in those over the guidance value (1.03; 1.00–1.06). Over the same period, there was a significant decline in all asthma cases attributed to isocyanates or paint spraying reported to SWORD (0.90; 0.86–0.94) and a non-significant decline among MVR workers (0.94; 0.86–1.02).
The simultaneous decrease in HDI exposure and incident cases of asthma reported to SWORD is temporally consistent with a reduction in exposure to airborne isocyanate leading to a reduction in asthma. Although this is not direct evidence of a causal relationship between the two trends, it is suggestive.
PMCID: PMC4670911  PMID: 26209793
Biological monitoring; HDI; hexamethylene diisocyanate; isocyanate exposure; motor vehicle repair; occupational asthma; trends; two-pack spray paints; work-related asthma.
13.  Hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) vapor reactivity with glutathione and subsequent transfer to human albumin 
Airway fluid glutathione (GSH) reactivity with inhaled vapors of diisocyanate, a common occupational allergen, is postulated to be a key step in exposure-induced asthma pathogenesis.
A mixed (vapor/liquid) phase exposure system was used to model the in vivo reactivity of inhaled HDI vapor with GSH in the airway fluid. HDI-GSH reaction products, and their capacity to transfer HDI to human albumin, were characterized through mass spectrometry and serologic assays, using HDI-specific polyclonal rabbit serum.
HDI vapor exposure of 10 mM GSH solutions resulted in primarily S-linked, bis(GSH)-HDI reaction products. In contrast, lower GSH concentrations (100 μM) resulted in mainly mono(GSH)-HDI conjugates, with varying degrees of HDI hydrolysis, dimerization and/or intra-molecular cyclization, depending upon the presence/absence of H2PO4-/HPO42- and Na+/Cl- ions. The ion composition and GSH concentration of the fluid phase, during HDI vapor exposure, strongly influenced the transfer of HDI from GSH to albumin, as did the pH and duration of the carbamoylating reaction. When carbamoylation was performed overnight at pH 7, twenty-five of albumin's lysines were identified as potential sites of conjugation with partially hydrolyzed HDI. When carbamoylation was performed at pH 9, more rapid (within 3 hours) and extensive modification was observed, including additional lysine sites, intra-molecular cross-linkage with HDI, and novel HDI-GSH conjugation.
The data define potential mechanisms by which the levels of GSH, H2PO4-4/HPO42-, and/or other ions (e.g. H+/OH-, Na+, Cl-) affect the reactivity of HDI vapor with self-molecules in solution (e.g. airway fluid), and thus, might influence the clinical response to HDI respiratory tract exposure.
PMCID: PMC3587365  PMID: 23178851
hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI); vapor; aliphatic; albumin; carbamoylation; glutathione (GSH); glutathione; diisocyanate; HDI; GSH
14.  Exposure to mixtures of solvents among paint workers and biochemical alterations of liver function. 
The objective of this study was to determine biochemical alterations of liver function among paint manufacturers and sprayers associated with exposure to organic solvents. Two paint manufacturing factories and 22 various kinds of spray painting factories (16 car painting, two aircraft painting, three video terminal painting; and one trailer painting) were included. Air concentrations of organic solvents were collected by personal samplers and analysed by gas chromatography. A total of 180 workers were given a comprehensive physical examination, a questionnaire, a liver function test, and a test for hepatitis B surface antigen. The questionnaire contained questions regarding detailed personal medical history, intake of alcohol, and use of medicine. Mixtures of solvents were used throughout the factories, and xylene and toluene were the major components found in almost all air samples with average contents of 46% and 29% on a weight basis of 67 air samples. No strong hepatotoxic solvents were detected. Workers were classified according to the different exposure patterns and different air concentrations of breathing zones as: high (eight hour time weighted average (8 h TWA) hygienic effects of solvents 0.25-9.83, median 1.66), short term high (8 h TWA hygienic effects of solvents 0-3.38, median 0.12), and low (8 h TWA hygienic effects of solvents all below 0.38). After applying a multivariate model to control the non-occupational factors (alcohol, medication, age, and hepatitis B viral infection), increase in gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) activity was found to be associated with severity of exposure to the mixture of solvents. Because the possible effects on GGT activity of non-occupational factors were controlled for, it is concluded that increased GGT activity among exposed workers may be due to a higher exposure to the mixture of solvents.
PMCID: PMC1012063  PMID: 1931729
15.  Modeling of hexamethylene diisocyanate and psychrometric parameters and other effective factors in the polyurethane factories 
Diisocyanates are widely used in surface coatings, polyurethane (PUR) foams, adhesives, resins, elastomers, binders, and sealants. Isocyanate exposure is irritative to the skin, mucous membranes, eyes, and respiratory tract. The most common adverse health outcome associated with isocyanate exposure is asthma due to sensitization.
The goal of this study is to find statistical predictive model to determine the relationship between airborne hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) and selective psychrometric variables.
Materials and Methods:
All air samplers (by midget impinger) were collected by mini personal sampler pump fixed to work stations near the source of pollution. The air samples and psychrometric parameters were separately collected and determined in a working shift for three periods of 2 h, each at a flow rate of 2 l/min in an impinger containing a solution of reagent of dimethyl sulfoxide in tryptamine [US National Instituteof Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 1994].
There was a significant correlation between HDI concentration and relative humidity and dry bulb temperature (P < 0.05). No significant correlation was seen between altitude and dimension of PUR factories (P > 0.05).
The finding of the study may be a useful initial tool in estimating possible HDI pollution situation in the PUR workplaces, based on simple psychrometric factors (indoor air temperature and relative humidity).
PMCID: PMC3062018  PMID: 21461158
Diisocyanate; dry bulb temperature; hexamethylene diisocyanate concentration; regression; relative humidity
16.  Effects of hexamethylene diisocyanate exposure on human airway epithelial cells: in vitro cellular and molecular studies. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2002;110(9):901-907.
In this study we developed an in vitro exposure model to investigate the effects of hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) on human airway epithelial cells at the cellular and molecular level. We used immunofluorescence analysis (IFA) to visualize the binding and uptake of HDI by airway epithelial cell lines (A549 and NCI-NCI-H292) and microarray technology to identify HDI sensitive genes. By IFA, we observed that subcytotoxic concentrations of HDI form microscopic micelles that appear to be taken up by cells over a 3-hr period postexposure. Microarray analysis (4.6K genes) of parallel cultures identified four genes (thioredoxin reductase, dihydrodiol dehydrogenase, TG interacting factor, and stanniocalcin) whose mRNA levels were up-regulated after HDI exposure. Northern analysis was used to confirm that HDI increased message levels of these four genes and to further explore the dose dependence and kinetics of the response. The finding that HDI exposure increases thioredoxin reductase expression supports previous studies suggesting that HDI alters thiol-redox homeostasis, an important sensor of cellular stress. Another of the HDI-increased genes, a dihydrodiol dehydrogenase, encodes a protein previously shown to be specifically susceptible to HDI conjugation, and known to detoxify other hydrocarbons. Together, the data describe a novel approach for investigating the effects of HDI binding and uptake by human airway epithelial cells and begin to identify genes that may be involved in the acute response to exposure.
PMCID: PMC1240990  PMID: 12204825
17.  Exposure Characteristics of Construction Painters to Organic Solvents 
Safety and Health at Work  2015;7(1):63-71.
Construction painters have not been studied well in terms of their hazards exposure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the exposure levels of total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) for painters in the construction industry.
Activity-specific personal air samplings were carried out in three waterproofing activities [polyurethane (PU), asphalt, and cement mortar] and three painting activities (epoxy, oil based, and water based) by using organic-vapor-monitor passive-sampling devices. Gas chromatograph with flame ionization detector could be used for identifying and quantifying individual organic chemicals. The levels of TVOCs, by summing up 15 targeted substances, were expressed in exposure-index (EI) values.
As arithmetic means in the order of concentration levels, the EIs of TVOCs in waterproofing works were 10.77, 2.42, 1.78, 1.68, 0.47, 0.07, and none detected (ND) for indoor PU-primer task, outdoor PU-primer task, outdoor PU-resin task, indoor PU-resin task, asphalt-primer task, asphalt-adhesive task, and cement-mortar task, respectively. The highest EI for painting works was 5.61 for indoor epoxy-primer task, followed by indoor epoxy-resin task (2.03), outdoor oil-based-spray-paint task (1.65), outdoor water-based-paint task (0.66), and indoor oil-based-paint task (0.15). Assuming that the operations were carried out continuously for 8 hours without breaks and by using the arithmetic means of EIs for each of the 12 tasks in this study, 58.3% (7 out of 12) exceeded the exposure limit of 100% (EI > 1.0), while 8.3% (1 out of 12) was in 50–100% of exposure limit (0.5 > EI > 1.0), and 4 tasks out of 12 were located in less than 50% of the limit range (EI < 0.5).
From this study, we recognized that construction painters are exposed to various solvents, including carcinogens and reproductive toxins, and the levels of TVOC concentration in many of the painting tasks exceeded the exposure limits. Construction workers need to be protected from chemical agents during their painting works by using personal protective devices and/or work practice measures. Additional studies should focus on the exposure assessment of other hazards for construction workers, in order to identify high-risk tasks and to improve hazardous work environments.
PMCID: PMC4792909  PMID: 27014493
construction painter; solvent exposure; total volatile organic compounds
18.  Occupational Exposure to Organic Solvents during Bridge Painting 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2010;54(4):417-426.
Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from bridge painting was measured in New York City and New Jersey during the summer and fall seasons from 2005 to 2007. The effect of painting activities (paint coating layer, confinement setup, and application method) and meteorological conditions (temperature, humidity, and wind speed) on solvent exposure to aromatic, ketone, ester, and alkane compounds were individually evaluated. Mixed-effect models were used to examine the combination effects of these factors on the air concentration of total VOCs as the individual compound groups were not present in all samples. Air concentration associated with spraying was not affected by meteorological conditions since spraying was done in a confined space, thus reducing their impact on solvent air concentration. The mixed models for brushing and rolling samples included two fixed factors, i.e. application method and temperature, and one random factor, i.e. sampling day. An independent dataset (daily air samples) was used to validate the mixed model constructed for brushing and rolling samples. The regression line of the predicted values and actual measurements had a slope of 1.32 ± 0.15 for daily brushing and rolling samples, with almost all points being within the 95% confidence bands. The constructed model provides practical approaches for estimating the solvent exposure from brushing and rolling activities among construction painters. An adjusted mean air concentration derived from the activity-specific spray samples was the best estimate for that painting application.
PMCID: PMC2902363  PMID: 20354053
construction; occupational exposure; oil-based paints; painting; solvents
19.  Effects within the week on forced vital capacity are correlated with long term changes in pulmonary function: reanalysis of studies on car painters exposed to isocyanate. 
OBJECTIVES--To examine if car painters who work with polyurethane paints that contain hexamethylenediisocyanate (HDI) and hexamethylenediisocyanate biuret trimer (HDI-BT) develop acute as well as chronic impairment of lung function. METHODS--In this study data were reanalysed from two earlier studies on a group of car painters to see if a decrease in lung function within the week is a marker of vulnerability in those workers. Data on changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) within the week were available for 20 car painters who were also examined six years later. RESULTS--10 men showed a decline in FVC within the week. There were no significant differences in age, duration of employment, exposures during the follow up period, or smoking between car painters who had decline in lung function within the week and car painters who had not. A significant correlation was found between the change in FVC within the week and the long term (six year) change in FVC, standardised for the effects of aging and smoking, and adjusted for the number of peak exposures. CONCLUSIONS--The results suggest that the decrease in FVC within the week might serve as a guide to identify car painters at risk of a further decrement in lung function above the effects of aging, smoking, and exposure.
PMCID: PMC1128186  PMID: 7735393
20.  Biological monitoring to assess exposure from use of isocyanates in motor vehicle repair 
OBJECTIVES: To develop a method for the measurement of a metabolite of hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), an isocyanate, and use it to assess the exposure of sprayers employed in motor vehicle repair shops. METHODS: Urine samples were taken from sprayers wearing personal protective equipment and spraying in booths or with local exhaust ventilation, from bystanders, and from unexposed subjects. Samples were analyzed for a metabolite of HDI, hexamethylene diamine (HDA), by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). RESULTS: HDA was detected in four sprayers and one bystander out of 22 workers. No HDA was detected in the urine of unexposed subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to isocyanates still occurs despite the use of personal protective equipment and the use of a booth or extracted space. Health surveillance is likely to be required to provide feedback on the adequacy of controls even if such precautions are used and to identify cases of early asthma. Biological monitoring can provide a useful additional tool to assess exposure and the adequacy of controls in this group of exposed workers.
PMCID: PMC1757787  PMID: 10615291
21.  Human Innate Immune Responses to Hexamethylene Diisocyanate (HDI) and HDI-Albumin Conjugates 
Isocyanates, a leading cause of occupational asthma, are known to induce adaptive immune responses; however, innate immune responses, which generally precede and regulate adaptive immunity, remain largely uncharacterized.
Identify and characterize cellular, molecular and systemic innate immune responses induced by hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI).
Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were stimulated in vitro with HDI-albumin conjugates or control antigen, and changes in phenotype, gene, and protein expression were characterized by flow cytometry, microarray, Western blot and ELISA. Cell uptake of isocyanate was visualized microscopically using HDI-albumin conjugates prepared with fluorescently-labeled albumin. In vivo, human HDI exposure was performed via specific inhalation challenge, and subsequent changes in PBMCs and serum proteins were measured by flow cytometry and ELISA. Genotypes were determined by PCR.
Human monocytes take-up HDI-albumin conjugates and undergo marked changes in morphology and gene/protein expression in vitro. The most significant (p 0.007 – 0.05) changes in mircoarray gene expression were noted in lysosomal genes, especially peptidases and proton pumps involved in antigen processing. Chemokines that regulate monocyte/macrophage trafficking (MIF, MCP-1), and pattern recognition receptors that bind chitin (chitinases) and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (CD68) were also increased following isocyanate-albumin exposure. In vivo, HDI exposed subjects exhibited an acute increase in the percentage of PBMCs with the same HDI-albumin responsive phenotype characterized in vitro (HLA-DR+/CD11c+ with altered light scatter properties). An exposure-dependent decrease (46±11%; p<0.015) in serum concentrations of chitinase-3-like-1 was also observed, in individuals that lack the major (type 1) human chitinase (due to genetic polymorphism), but not in individuals possessing at least one functional chitinase-1 allele.
Previously unrecognized innate immune responses to HDI and HDI-albumin conjugates could influence the clinical spectrum of exposure reactions.
PMCID: PMC3131007  PMID: 18498542
Isocyanate; Innate; Monocyte; Macrophage; Chitinase; CD68; Albumin; MIF; Cathepsin; Exposure; Asthma
22.  Occupational Exposure to HDI: Progress and Challenges in Biomarker Analysis 
1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) is extensively used in the automotive repair industry and is a commonly reported cause of occupational asthma in industrialized populations. However, the exact pathological mechanism remains uncertain. Characterization and quantification of biomarkers resulting from HDI exposure can fill important knowledge gaps between exposure, susceptibility, and the rise of immunological reactions and sensitization leading to asthma. Here, we discuss existing challenges in HDI biomarker analysis including the quantification of N-acetyl-1,6-hexamethylene diamine (monoacetyl-HDA) and N,N′-diacetyl-1,6-hexamethylene diamine (diacetyl-HDA) in urine samples based on previously established methods for HDA analysis. In addition, we describe the optimization of reaction conditions for the synthesis of monoacetyl-HDA and diacetyl-HDA, and utilize these standards for the quantification of these metabolites in the urine of three occupationally exposed workers. Diacetyl-HDA was present in untreated urine at 0.015 – 0.060 μg/l. Using base hydrolysis, the concentration range of monoacetyl-HDA in urine was 0.19 – 2.2 μg/l, 60-fold higher than in the untreated samples on average. HDA was detected only in one sample after base hydrolysis (0.026 μg/l). In contrast, acid hydrolysis yielded HDA concentrations ranging from 0.36 to 10.1 μg/l in these three samples. These findings demonstrate HDI metabolism via N-acetylation metabolic pathway and protein adduct formation resulting from occupational exposure to HDI.
PMCID: PMC2889189  PMID: 20176515
1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA); biomarker; 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI); diisocyanate-induced asthma
23.  Occupational exposure to water based paint and symptoms from the skin and eyes. 
Water based paints contain organic solvents and many additives, such as biocides, surfactants, pigments, binders, amines, and monomers. The chemical complexity may introduce new potential health hazards to house painters, in particular irritative and allergic disorders. This study was performed to compare how house painters experience work with water based paints or solvent based paints, and to evaluate whether exposure to water based paints increases mucous membrane and dermal symptoms among house painters. 255 male house painters aged 20 to 65 were invited to participate in the study. Controls were two industrial populations, in total 302 men, without exposure to water based paints. Self administered questionnaires were used to assess the painter's experiences of working with different types of paints and the occurrence of symptoms in the exposed and unexposed groups. Hygiene measurements were performed during normal working days when only water based paints and no solvent based paints were used. The painters were exposed to low concentrations of dust, metals, ammonia, formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds. The work environment was considered better when working with water based paints than with solvent based paints. There were more complaints of frequent urination when working with water based paint. Taste or olfactory disturbances were less common. General as well as work related eye and skin irritation was more common among the exposed workers. For other symptoms no significant differences were found. The study indicates that the introduction of water based paints has improved the work environment for house painters. Water based paints cause less discomfort and airway irritation than the earlier solvent based paints. Adverse general health effects seem low. Some of the painters may have dermal symptoms caused by the components in water based paints.
PMCID: PMC1127936  PMID: 8130846
24.  Asthma-like symptoms, atopy, and bronchial responsiveness in furniture workers 
OBJECTIVES: To study the role of individual and occupational risk factors for asthma in furniture workers. METHODS: 296 workers were examined (258 men, 38 women) with a questionnaire of respiratory symptoms and diseases, baseline spirometry, bronchial provocative test with methacholine, and skin prick tests. Non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity was defined as when a provocative dose with a fall of 20% in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (PD20FEV1) was < 0.8 mg and atopy in the presence of at least one positive response to skin prick tests. Workers were subdivided into spray painters (exposed to low concentrations of diisocyanates and solvents), woodworkers (exposed to wood dusts), and assemblers (control group). RESULTS: The prevalences of attacks of shortness of breath with wheezing and dyspnoea were higher in spray painters (13.5% and 11.5% respectively) than in woodworkers (7.7% and 6.3%) or in assemblers (1.6% and 1.6%); prevalences of chronic cough, asthma, and rhinitis were also slightly but not significantly higher in spray painters and in woodworkers than in assemblers. The difference in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms among the job titles was due to the atopic subjects, who showed a higher prevalence of chronic cough, wheeze, shortness of breath with wheeze, dyspnoea, and asthma in spray painters than in the other groups. The prevalence of non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity in subjects who performed bronchial provocative tests was 17.7%, with no significant difference among groups. Asthma symptoms were significantly associated with non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity. Asthma-like symptoms plus non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity was found in 4% of assemblers, 10% of woodworkers, and 13.3% of spray painters (chi 2 = 2.6, NS). Multiple logistic analysis taking into account individual (smoke, atopy, age) and occupational (job titles) risk factors confirmed that spray painters had higher prevalence of chronic cough than assemblers, and a trend in increasing the prevalence of shortness of breath with wheeze, dyspnoea, and asthma. CONCLUSIONS: Painters in the furniture industry, particularly atopic subjects, are at higher risk of asthma-like symptoms than other job titles. In these workers asthma-like symptoms are more sensitive than non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity in detecting a negative effect of the occupational exposure.
PMCID: PMC1757531  PMID: 9924457
25.  Exposure biomarkers and risk from gluing and heating of polyurethane: a cross sectional study of respiratory symptoms 
OBJECTIVES—To define the relation between exposure to polyurethane (PUR) glue, biomarkers of exposure and effect, and work related symptoms that occur at least once a week.
METHODS—In a cross sectional study, 152 workers and 14 clerks in a factory with exposure to sprayed and heated PUR glue containing 4,4'-diphenylmethane (MDI) or 1,6-hexamethylene (HDI) di-isocyanate were examined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for metabolites of MDI in plasma (P-MDX) and urine (U-MDX), 2,4- and 2,6-toluene di-isocyanate (TDI; P-TDX, U-TDX) and HDI in plasma and urine, specific serum IgG (S-IgG-MDI, S-IgG-HDI, and S-IgG-TDI, respectively) and IgE (S-IgE-MDI). Work related symptoms of the eyes and airways (nose or lower airways, or both), and lung function were also evaluated.
RESULTS—P-MDX was detected in 65% of the workers, U-TDX in 47%, HDX in none. Three per cent were positive for S-IgE-MDI, 33% for S-IgG-MDI, 32% for S-IgG-TDI, and 12% for S-IgG-HDI. A few clerks had metabolites, and some had antibodies. Most metabolites and immunoglobulins were slightly correlated—for example, P-MDX v S-IgG-MDI: rs=0.21. Workers who heated glue had increased P-MDX (odds ratio (OR)=12 for a value above the median) and S-IgG-MDI (OR=3.7), sprayers P-2,4-TDX (OR=6.2) and P-2,6-TDX (OR=16). Twenty six per cent of the workers had work related symptoms of the airways, 21% from the nose, 11% from the lower airways. Spraying of glue increased the risk of work related symptoms and slightly decreased lung function. U-MDX was associated with work related symptoms from the airways (OR=3.7) and P-2,6-TDX with work related symptoms from the lower airways (OR=6.6). S-IgG-MDI was related to work related symptoms from the airways (OR=2.6).
CONCLUSIONS—There were relations between exposures to sprayed and heated PUR glue based on MDI and HDI, concentrations of metabolites of MDI and TDI in plasma and urine, specific IgG serum antibodies against MDI, TDI, and HDI, and work related symptoms.

Keywords: isocyanate; metabolites; antibodies
PMCID: PMC1739970  PMID: 10810129

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