03/06/2013

www.gupta-verlag.de/polyurethanes

Asthma incidence among PU foam manufacturing workers significantly below general adult population's

The report combines data from 1988 - 2007 and 2008 - 2011 surveys among manufacturing plants representing more than 90 % of the United States' production of flexible polyurethane foam. The survey was sponsored by the Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) with data collected and analyzed by Washington, DC-based law firm, McIntyre & Lemon, PLLC. The survey was prompted by a lack of data on foam plant worker sensitivity and exposure to diisocyanates. The 2008 survey provided historical data on more than 1,300 workers in 23 manufacturing sites; the 2012 update polled 1,037 workers in 38 plants. The combined results are featured in a paper entitled: "A Survey of the Incidence of Occupational Asthma among Flexible Polyurethane Foam Slabstock Plants”. The paper emphasizes that incidences of self-reported occupational asthma among workers were extremely rare: Approximately 1 % of current production workers and a maximum of 2 % of workers over the past 24 years. The results suggested that a myriad of workplace controls, including aggressive ventilation systems, personal protection equipment (PPE), shut-off controls, stack engineering and scrubbers, workplace and personnel monitoring, and risk-management training, have proven to be adequate and effective in protecting those working around diisocyanates in the surveyed plants. "We are pleased to have up-to-date, definitive data from multiple plant locations and differing labour environments spanning nearly two-and-a-half decades,” said Bob Luedeka, PFA's Executive Director. "The results reflect the effectiveness of our industry's safety measures and historical dedication to providing a clean-air environment for our workers.” Presented at a Polyurethane Foam Association Technical Program, copies of the presentation are available in the literature section (under technical proceedings) of the PFA website at www.pfa.org.

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