Pulmonary and immunologic evaluation of foundry workers exposed to methylene diphenyldiisocyanate (MDI)

Gary M. Liss, David I. Bernstein, David R. Moller, Joan S. Gallagher, Richard L. Stephenson, I. Leonard Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A cross-sectional evaluation was performed of workers in a steel foundry in which methylene diphenyldiisocyanate (MDI) was used as a component of a binder system used to make cores and molds. Preshift and postshift spirometry and clinical evaluations were performed on 26 currently exposed (group I), on six formerly exposed (group II), and on 14 nonexposed workers to MDI (group III). Serum samples were assayed for total antibody binding, specific IgG by ELISA, and specific IgE by the RAST method to MDI-human serum albumin (HSA). Symptoms compatible with occupational asthma were elicited from seven (27%) of 26 group I workers and from three of six group II workers. No symptoms were reported by group III workers. Intrashift change in FEV1 (a mean decrease of 0.049 L) in group I workers was significantly decreased compared to that in unexposed group III workers (a mean increase of 65 ml; p = 0.043). Specific IgG and total antibody responses to MDI-HSA were detected only in workers with current or former exposure to MDI. Only one worker was identified with IgE-mediated occupational asthma exhibiting a positive prick test and elevated RAST to MDI-HSA of 25.5% bound. In this occupational setting, polyclonal immune responses to MDI-HSA and clinical sensitization to MDI were demonstrated to occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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