Toluene di-isocyanate-induced asthma I. Reactions to TDI, MDI, HDI and histamine


Professor J. Pepys, Department of Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton, London SW3 6HP.


A group of twenty-four workers handling di-isocyanates and with respiratory disease were investigated by occupational-type bronchial provocation tests for sensitivity to toluene di-isocyanate (TDI), to which all were exposed, and to diphenylmethane di-isocyanate (MDI) and hexamethylene di-isocyanate (HDI). Sixteen gave asthmatic reactions to TDI and eight of these also reacted to MDI. Four of the eight TDI and MDI reactors had histories of exposure only to TDI, and of them two reacted also to HDI. Of nine subjects tested with HDI, three gave asthmatic reactions, and all three also reacted to TDI and MDI. Thus reactions to MDI and HDI were elicited only in the TDI reactors. The possibility of specific sensitivity to these and other di-isocyanates requires tests in subjects exposed to them and not to TDI.