Stability of Isocyanates Sampled in Fire Smokes

Bengtström, Linda, Salden, Mariëlle and Stec, Anna A orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6861-0468 (2018) Stability of Isocyanates Sampled in Fire Smokes. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 62 (9). pp. 1171-1175. ISSN 2398-7316

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Inhalation of airborne isocyanates is associated with acute asthma attacks and inflammation in the respiratory tract as well as cancer. These highly reactive compounds are used as monomers in various applications such as foams for insulation materials and upholstery furniture and are therefore commonly found in fire smoke from insulation materials, such as rigid polyisocyanurate (PIR) foams. Consequently, there is an increasing concern regarding the potential adverse health effects they may cause during this type of exposure.

The aim of this study was to investigate the stability of generated isocyanates from aerobic pyrolysis of PIR after sampling in the derivatization solution as well as after sample preparation to establish the optimal storage conditions and rate of degradation. Both airborne and particle-bound isocyanates were collected, using dibutylamine as derivatization agent in a midget impinger and impregnated filter after the impinger. The rapid degradation of the generated isocyanates after sampling emphasizes the need for a prompt sample preparation and analysis, in particular for the collected mono-isocyanates, as the concentration decreased by 50% within 4–8 h.

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