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Ann Occup Hyg. 2013 Jun;57(5):640-9. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mes093. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Comparison of solvent/derivatization agent systems for determination of extractable toluene diisocyanate from flexible polyurethane foam.

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Huntsman (Europe) BVBA, Everslaan 45, 3078 Everberg, Belgium.


Flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) is produced from the reaction of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyols. Limited and conflicting results exist in the literature concerning the presence of unreacted TDI remaining in FPF as determined by various solvent extraction and analysis techniques. This study reports investigations into the effect of several solvent/derivatization agent combinations on extractable TDI results and suggests a preferred method. The suggested preferred method employs a syringe-based multiple extraction of foam samples with a toluene solution of 1-(2-methoxyphenyl)-piperazine. Extracts are analyzed by liquid chromatography using an ion trap mass spectrometry detection technique. Detection limits of the method are ~10ng TDI g(-1) foam (10 ppb, w/w) for each TDI isomer (i.e. 2,4-TDI and 2,6-TDI). The method was evaluated by a three-laboratory interlaboratory comparison using two representative foam samples. The total extractable TDI results found by the three labs for the two foams were in good agreement (relative standard deviation of the mean of 30-40%). The method has utility as a basis for comparing FPFs, but the interpretation of extractable TDI results using any solvent as the true value for 'free' or 'unreacted' TDI in the foam is problematic, as demonstrated by the difference in the extracted TDI results from the different extraction systems studied. Further, a consideration of polyurethane foam chemistry raises the possibility that extractable TDI may result from decomposition of parts of the foam structure (e.g. dimers, biurets, and allophanates) by the extraction system.


flexible foam; polyurethane; solvent extraction; toluene diisocyanate

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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