Medical Monitoring for Occupational Asthma Among Toluene Diisocyanate Production Workers in the United States

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to describe a study of medical monitoring methods and lessons learned in detecting health outcomes in U.S. plants producing toluene diisocyanate (TDI).

Methods:

A multidisciplinary team implemented a medical and environmental monitoring program in three TDI plants.

Results:

Of 269 eligible workers, 197 (73%) participated and 42 (21%) met symptom and/or lung function criteria that would trigger evaluation for possible asthma over 5 years of data collection. Subsequent evaluation was delayed for most, and a web-based data collection system improved timeliness.

Conclusion:

Medical monitoring of TDI workers identified workers triggering further assessment per study protocol. Systems and/or personnel to ensure rapid follow-up are needed to highlight when triggering events represent potential cases of asthma needing further evaluation. Implementation of a research protocol requires resources and oversight beyond an occupational health program.

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