Diana Ceballos

Project title: Evaluation of Protective Gloves Used In Collision Repair Industry

Degree: PhD | Program: Environmental and Occupational Hygiene (EOHY) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2009 | Faculty advisor: Michael G. Yost


This dissertation describes studies that were a collaborative effort to determine the priority research to address isocyanate exposure in the Washington State collision repair industry. This work focuses on addressing dermal protection needs by assessing the effectiveness of gloves commonly used by autobody painters, through the use of a permeation panel. Dermal exposure to isocyanates is significant in these shops, and can contribute to the development of occupational asthma. Limited and conflicting information is available on the effectiveness of protective gloves for spray painters. Conventional permeation testing methods do not work with low volatility, low water-solubility agents, complex mixtures, or materials that polymerize or cure, like isocyanate-based paint. In chapter 2, we describe an objective color scale technique, developed to assess isocyanate surface contamination by using computerized image analysis tools. This technique has great potential for dermal exposure assessment, and proved valuable for measuring glove permeation with the permeation panel. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the dermal protection currently used in Washington State’s collision repair industry including a discussion of gloves commonly used by painters. Chapter 4 summarizes a comparison of current isocyanate analytical methods used to determine isocyanate concentrations in a representative sample of commercial hardener. This isocyanate analytical method comparison elucidates the challenges of measuring isocyanates, and ultimately helped validate the results from the permeation panel experiments. Chapter 5 describes the development of a permeation panel to test the efficacy of dermal protective clothing against sprayed coatings. The panel is a novel field-testing device that can provide objective permeation data and can test several materials at once, under actual spray-coating conditions. The permeation panel could also be used to measure other permeants, such as solvents and other sprayed coatings. Finally, in chapter 6, several protective gloves commonly used by painters were evaluated against aliphatic isocyanate paints used in the collision repair industry. This provides the basis for the initial recommendations for the selection of protective gloves when spray painting.