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08-28-03, 08:53 AM
Carc Paint, Possible Health Effects

If you were a mechanic or painter, and were ever involved in Painting Vehicles with CARC paint... read this... print it out and add to your claim file.. I sent some info out on this in June 2000.
full..lengthy report is at these web sites..




part reprinted below

2. Possible Health Effects of Hexamethylene Diisocyanate and Solvents

Exposure to isocyanates and solvents without proper protection can be harmful. Isocyanate exposure, including exposure to the HDI found in CARC, can cause three types of health effects:
Almost all persons exposed to relatively high concentrations of isocyanates will develop irritation to skin and the respiratory tract;
A small proportion of persons who are chronically exposed can become sensitized and develop asthma;
A small proportion of persons who are chronically exposed can develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

At high concentrations, isocyanates can cause non-specific irritation of the mucous membranes and respiratory tract in some individuals, even after relatively short-term (minutes to hours) exposures.[16] At high concentrations, HDI causes shortness of breath, chest pain, chest tightness and cough and is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat, causing watery eyes and burning sensations.[17,18] At high enough concentrations, nearly all exposed persons will exhibit some or all of these short-term symptoms, but when the exposure stops, the symptoms will generally resolve rapidly.[19]

A small proportion of individuals exposed to HDI over a period of months to years may develop asthma.[20] This occurs sometimes even at relatively low concentrations over time.[21] Sensitization to isocyanates after exposures of shorter duration (days or weeks) is unlikely.[22,23,24] However, once a person is sensitized to isocyanates, an exposure to levels as low as the parts-per-billion range can cause the onset of episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.[25,26,27] Sensitized persons may suffer progressive worsening of respiratory symptoms with recurrent exposures.[28] When exposures stop, the asthma may resolve; on the other hand, it may be persistent and may be triggered by other factors, such as tobacco smoke, cold air, or exercise.[29,30] The general, worldwide population diagnosed with asthma ranges from 5 to 10%.[31]

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, though uncommon, is another known effect of chronic exposure to isocyanates. The symptoms of hypersensitivity pneumonitis can be severe, and, in most cases, abnormalities will appear on chest X-ray and pulmonary function tests. Symptoms, which usually occur about three to eight hours after exposure, include repeated bouts of fever, muscle aches, headaches, malaise, shortness of breath, dry cough, and chest tightness. Removal from exposure is usually mandatory. Sometimes the condition persists, even when no longer exposed to isocyanates. In such cases, medications such as steroids may be necessary.[32,33,34]

Some solvents found in CARC are readily absorbed through the respiratory tract and skin.[35,36] Exposure to high concentrations of solvents can lead to non-specific central nervous system effects, ranging from headaches or dizziness, to more serious effects, including staggering gait, nausea, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.[37,38] At high levels, solvent vapors can also cause irritation of the eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract. If exposures are brief (for example, an eight-hour shift), these irritant and central nervous system effects are generally transient and resolve rapidly after cessation of exposure.[39,40] Nevertheless, chronic, long-term exposure to solvents can cause skin rashes, usually leading to an irritant dermatitis, characterized by dryness, scaling, and cracking of the skin, especially of the hands.[41]

Long-term exposure to solvents has been associated with increased rates of chronic central nervous system symptoms, such as fatigue, irritability, depression, headaches, poor concentration, and forgetfulness.[42] These chronic effects generally occur only after several years of heavy exposure (many experts estimate a threshold to be about ten years of relatively heavy exposure).[43] Some solvents can cause peripheral neuropathy, which means damage to the nerves in the arms and legs.[44] CARC does not contain the solvent compounds that are most closely associated with this type of nerve damage.

Workers occasionally develop liver or kidney disease after either long-term exposure or a massive single over-exposure to some solvents. Generally, chlorinated solvents cause these effects. CARC does not contain chlorinated solvents. A few solvents, such as benzene, are known or suspected to be human or animal carcinogens (cancer-causing agents),[45] but CARC has been specifically formulated to eliminate these types of solvents.

D. Occupational Safety and Health Guidance

Tab E provides a detailed discussion of safety and health requirements for CARC painting operations, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requirements, as well as military guidance for conducting CARC paint operations. The tab also includes a discussion of material safety data sheets and the hazard communication program. A direct comparison of the exposures during the Gulf War to existing standards is theoretical since no workplace sampling or measurements were taken during the war. These standards are discussed in detail in Tab E and in the applicable cited references, but the most important aspect of this discussion is that there were no measurements taken during the Gulf War for direct comparison. Obviously, this has hampered retrospective efforts to evaluate the frequency, intensity, and duration of exposures, and their subsequent medical or health effects.

Nevertheless, two conclusions can be drawn. First, current Army and federal occupational and safety directives require the use of personal protective equipment, including respiratory protection, during polyurethane (CARC) spray painting operations. Second, based on experience and professional judgment of the health and safety professionals monitoring the CARC painting operations in-theater, unprotected personnel who were spray painting CARC in the conditions documented in the Gulf were exposed to potentially hazardous conditions.

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