Residual Isocyanates in Medical Devices and Products: A Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment

Gillian Franklin, Homero Harari, Samavi Ahsan, Dhimiter Bello, David A. Sterling, Jonathan Nedrelow, Scott Raynaud, Swati Biswas, Youcheng Liu

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1 Scopus citations


We conducted a pilot qualitative and quantitative assessment of residual isocyanates and their potential initial exposures in neonates, as little is known about their contact effect. After a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stockroom inventory, polyurethane (PU) and PU foam (PUF) devices and products were qualitatively evaluated for residual isocyanates using Surface SWYPE. Those containing isocyanates were quantitatively tested for methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) species, using UPLC-UV-MS/MS method. Ten of 37 products and devices tested, indicated both free and bound residual surface isocyanates; PU/PUF pieces contained aromatic isocyanates; one product contained aliphatic isocyanates. Overall, quantified mean MDI concentrations were low (4,4‘-MDI = 0.52 to 140.1 pg/mg) and (2,4‘-MDI = 0.01 to 4.48 pg/mg). The 4,4‘-MDI species had the highest measured concentration (280 pg/mg). Commonly used medical devices/products contain low, but measurable concentrations of residual isocyanates. Quantifying other isocyanate species and neonatal skin exposure to isocyanates from these devices and products requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health Insights
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016



  • asthma
  • isocyanates
  • medical devices and products
  • methylene diphenyl diisocyanate
  • neonatal exposure
  • skin sensitization

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