Are Isocyanates Becoming the “Bad Guys” in Paint Formulation?

By John Anspach

A recent article in Paint Square indicates OSHA plans to target isocyanates in coatings, with a crackdown on exposure to this material.

Isocyanates are used in many coatings, but particularly in aromatic and aliphatic urethane systems, as a curative.  It also is part of many other coatings systems, including insulating foams, auto body repair, and elastomeric coatings. 

Some people acquire hypersensitivity to the material, and it’s known to be a skin, eye, nose and throat irritant.  With proper precautions and PPE (personal protective equipment), these kind of concerns are typically eliminated during product application.

The concerns are really not new at all, but OSHA seems serious about taking action now, with a new National Emphasis Program announced on June 20, 2013 that may have a far reaching impact on coatings of this type in the future.

What are the alternatives?  How can we deal with this?  One approach is to pursue alternative technologies that can provide the performance of a traditional two component isocyanate system.  Fortunately, for Induron customers, they have some other choices in a high performance exterior finish.

  1. Indurlux 7600, a single component siloxane system, provides a high gloss, durable finish that rivals most urethanes for long term UV and gloss retention.  It can be applied in the same way as a urethane, without the isocyanates, and without the mixing of two components.
  2. Aquanaut Acrylic Gloss provides a durable high gloss acrylic finish that will provide five years or more of durable service, with excellent adhesion to most substrates.  A single component product makes application easy, and also has excellent dry fall capability.

While Induron continues to pursue the highest quality and performance products possible, we also strive to provide alternative technology to keep our customers satisfied and safe.

Founded in 1947, Induron manufactures high performance coatings that serve a range of industrial applications, including the wastewater, transmission and distribution and groundwater storage industries.

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