The worldwide consumption of isocyanates (1985) is in the order of 1.5 million metric tons per annum. Monoisocyanates which represent less than 3 percent of the total tonnage are used as intermediates for the synthesis of pesticides. Di- and polyisocyanates are the key raw materials for a class of polymers which are known under the collective name polyurethanes and which are manufactured by numerous companies for a great variety of uses.As isocyanates are potentially hazardous materials particularly if their vapor is inhaled or if they come into contact with the skin it is essential to have full information available on the health risk which may occur due to improper handling and on a possible impact on the environment.The literature relating to the toxicological, ecological, analytical and occupational health aspects of these chemicals is evaluated, the international regulatory situation is presented. Recommendations on safe handling of isocyanates, on workplace monitoring and on occupational hygiene measures are given. The efforts of the isocyanate manufacturers to generate additional information in this area by jointly sponsoring research projects are illustrated.
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- Springer Berlin Heidelberg