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Fighting to keep a substance as a suspected carcinogen appears to be a strange thing for an association to be doing, but the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association is doing just that. MOCA (4,4'-Methylene bis(2-chloroaniline) is back before government regulators and this time the proposal is to change its designation to a confirmed carcinogen from the suspected carcinogen category status MOCA has held for 17 years. As the main curing agent for castable polyurethanes, this switch would be a severe blow because MOCA would no longer be allowed. Currently there is a threshold limit value of 0.02 parts per million.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists has decided to review the MOCA classification because of a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health study linking MOCA with bladder cancer in humans. The PMA is ready for the review. The association commissioned a report by an independent panel of experts that mainly addressed the flaws and inaccuracies of the NIOSH study. These flaws and inaccurate scientific conclusions should not be used to reclassify MOCA, the report states. The report gives you the impression that MOCA one day may be proven to cause cancer in humans, but there is no direct link now. Innocent until proven guilty is the maxim and the NIOSH study falls way short of proof.

The PMA also has the documentation of its own program which it instituted to reduce MOCA levels in polyurethane manufacturing. Realizing that airborne monitoring couldn't truly assess the degree of worker absorption, the PMA set up a voluntary biological monitoring program over 15 years ago. This program has led to reduction of MOCA exposure. The design of closed transfer systems and production of a fused, hardened pellet are results of this desire to lower worker exposure.

Most of the time government hearings of this nature bring out the bad side of an industry, but it's not the case here. This case shows the concern the polyurethane industry has for a safe workplace environment and its innovative monitoring program should be a model for other industries.
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Title Annotation:Polyurethane Manufacturers Association fighting to keep suspected carcinogen
Author:Smith, Don R.
Publication:Rubber World
Article Type:editorial
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:Witco Corporation.
Next Article:Monsanto.

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