Toluene diisocyanate occupational exposure data in the polyurethane industry (2005-2020): A descriptive summary from an industrial hygiene perspective

Toxicol Ind Health. 2022 Sep;38(9):606-621. doi: 10.1177/07482337221112225. Epub 2022 Aug 5.


This article provides an overview of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) workplace air concentration data. Data were collected between 2005-2020 in workplaces across the United States, Canada, and the European Union by a number of different organizations, primarily using the sampling procedures published in OSHA Methods 42 and 5002. The data were then collated and organized by the International Isocyanate Institute. Air samples were collected from several market segments, with a large portion of the data (87%) from the flexible foam industry. The air samples (2534 in total) were categorized into "area" or "personal," and the personal samples were subcategorized into "task," "short term," and "long term." Most of the air sample concentrations (87%) were less than 5 ppb. However, the presence of airborne TDI greater than 5 ppb indicated the importance of respiratory protection in some situations; therefore, respirator use patterns were studied and summarized. Additionally, this article provides a summary of air sample concentrations at different flexible foam manufacturing job roles. The information on air sampling concentrations and respiratory protection during TDI applications collected in this paper could be useful for product stewardship and industrial hygiene purposes in the industries studied.

Keywords: TDI; air monitoring; exposure measurement; flexible foam; isocyanates; polyurethane foam; toluene diisocyanate.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational* / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure* / analysis
  • Occupational Health*
  • Polyurethanes / analysis
  • Toluene 2,4-Diisocyanate* / adverse effects
  • Toluene 2,4-Diisocyanate* / analysis


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Polyurethanes
  • Toluene 2,4-Diisocyanate