A total of 35 firemen involved in fighting a fire in a factory in which polyurethane foam was made were exposed to fumes of toluene di-isocyanate from two large storage tanks which were damaged during the fire, resulting in massive spillage. Most of the men experienced symptoms during the fire or during the three weeks after it. The symptoms were mainly gastrointestinal, respiratory, or neurological. Altogether 15 men described gastrointestinal symptoms which subsided within two days of onset. Respiratory symptoms were described by 31 men and were most pronounced during the three days after the fire, thereafter tending to improve. The neurological findings are described separately. When the men were reviewed at six months there was a suggestion that some of them might have sustained long-term damage to the respiratory tract, and almost four years later 20 men had persistent respiratory symptoms. Serial measurements of ventilatory capacity revealed a marked decline in the first six months although this was not sustained.
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