GEP  Vol.2 No.4 , July 2014
Respiratory Sensitization & Sickness from Welding/Burning Isocyanate Containing Paints
Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to make the environmental and occupational health community aware of a serious health risk associated with the common practice of burning industrial paint off of metal surfaces during or prior to welding. On four occasions bystanders and welder/burner personnel have experienced illness as a result of being exposed to the combustion products of isocyanate paints that were being burned off metal surfaces. In each case, the burning and the exposed people were outside in an open environment where the health risk was thought to be minimal due to the open environment with nominal wind movement through the work area. In one case, the person (a burner) developed permanent sensitization to phthalic anhydride as a result of the exposure. Phthalic anhydride was determined to be decomposition product of burned isocyanate paint. In the other three cases (which involved very short exposures), between two and six people became ill but did not develop sensitization. Their symptoms included dizziness, nausea, headache, and breathing difficulty the severity of which varied from very uncomfortable to temporarily incapacitating. This paper discusses the circumstances associated with each event, the approach used to determine that phthalic anhydride was a decomposition product, and some practical things that can be done to avoid having employees become victims of exposure.


Cite this paper
Stobbe, T. and Westra, R. (2014) Respiratory Sensitization & Sickness from Welding/Burning Isocyanate Containing Paints. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2, 44-48. doi: 10.4236/gep.2014.24007.
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