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Potential Health Effects



Polyurethane is formed by reacting a polyol with a diisocyanates or polymeric isocyanate (e.g. MDI or TDI) in the presence of suitable catalysts and additives. Learn more about how polyurethanes are made. The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) of polyurethane products provide a list of potential health effects and their symptoms, but diisocyanates have been known to cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin. They also can cause allergic reactions (sensitization) of the skin and lungs.

CPI helps provide information about human health effects and the environment for the polyurethane industry, and also reviews new and existing data to address developing issues and trends. CPI follows a “product stewardship” approach, which is the process by which a business manages its product development, manufacture, distribution, marketing and ultimately disposal of its products.

CPI considers health concerns relating to the broad spectrum of polyurethane product development, including:

  • Raw materials
  • Polyurethane production processes and chemicals
  • Final polyurethane products

CPI addresses some polyurethane industry worker health issues in a variety of ways. We offer a host of product stewardship literature for users of polyurethane products. The majority of this information is available free on our site and is also distributed by the producers of MDI and TDI. Our literature attempts to address concerns about polyurethane raw materials related to environmental, health, safety, distribution, use, emissions and waste issues. Please also be sure to review product stewardship materials from supplier companies as well as downstream customers (blenders, foamers and finished article producers) and their hazard communication and stewardship programs.

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