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Two cases of paraoccupational asthma due to toluene diisocyanate (TDI)
  1. R De Zotti,
  2. A Muran,
  3. F Zambon
  1. Institute of Occupational Medicine, Trieste General Hospital and University of Trieste, Via della Pietà 19, I.34129 Trieste, Italy
  1. Dr Renata De Zottidezotti{at}


Two cases of paraoccupational asthma caused by toluene diisocyanate (TDI) are reported. The first patient was a metal worker in a machine shop situated near a factory producing polyurethane foam. Symptoms at work were not explainable by any specific exposure to irritants or allergens in the work site. As the patient recalled previous occasional work in the adjacent polyurethane factory with accompanying worsening of respiratory symptoms, a specific inhalation (SIC) test was performed with TDI, which confirmed the diagnosis of TDI asthma. The second case was a woman working part time as a secretary in the offices of her son's factory for varnishing wooden chairs. TDI was present in the products used in the varnishing shed. The SIC test confirmed the diagnosis of TDI asthma, despite the fact that the patient's job did not present risk of exposure to the substance. In both patients, symptoms disappeared when further exposure was avoided. These two cases confirm that paraoccupational exposure to TDI must be considered when evaluating patients with asthma not mediated by immunoglobulin E. They also suggest the need for more prospective studies evaluating the health risk for the general population living near polyurethane factories or other firms that use TDI.

  • paraoccupational exposure
  • toluene diisocyanate
  • asthma

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