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isocyanate poisoning
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isocyanate poisoning

Hi, I am a automobile painter. For the past few years I have gradually been feeling not well. I work in a shop that has very poor ventilation and no exhaust fans. In the last 6 months or so, I have been having strange symptoms pop up. First it was skin rashes on my face that the dermatologist couldn't identify. Shortly after that both knees suddenly became swollen and had to be drained. The orthopedist, after looking at x-rays said my knee structure looks fine and after many visits said he thought he saw a little bit of calcium in my knees that must be the problem. During all of this time I have experienced increasing heaviness in my chest, shortness of breath and a slight cough. I was sent to a heart doctor and had a stress test, echo cardiogram, EKG, and CAT scan. All of these tests were normal. Finally after receiving chest x-rays and a chest scan I was diagnosed with Emphysema and Asthma. The chemicals I work with contain Isocyanates, Benzene, toluene and many other harmful chemicals. Although I use Respirators, gloves and any other protective gear i can find with no ventilation these chemicals tend to hang around and can be absorbed through eyes and skin. I have been to many doctors and told them it was my opinion that "WORK" was making me sick. When I mention "WORK" they all shut down and don't want any thing to do with "WORK" related issues. Finally I found a Occupational lung doctor at Johns Hopkins medical center in Baltimore Md. He finally said it was his opinion my lung problem is work related. Now after searching nonstop for some one to help me with the poisoning of my entire body I cannot find a doctor and really don't know what kind of doctor to look for. I need help and any would be appreciated. Thank You, eighthnote
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Do you have a primary care healthcare provider? From your posting it seems like you have seen several specialists: cardiologist (heart doctor), pulmonologist (lung doctor), and dermatologist (skin doctor).

In situation like your's, it is often beneficial to "reset" and return to a primary care physician so that they can reconcile what current symptoms you are experiencing with your physical examination findings and any other testing and consultations that have been done. Then, the primary care healthcare provider can develop a plan with you for additional diagnostics and testing (if necessary).

In addition to the symptoms related to your lungs and the problems that you described with your knees, what other symptoms or concerns to you have?

How old are you?
Are you a current or past smoker?
What other jobs and exposures have you had?
What other health problems to you have? (for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight/obese)
Do you take any medications every day or most days?

From the Department of Labor website: "Isocyanates are compounds containing the isocyanate group (-NCO). They react with compounds containing alcohol (hydroxyl) groups to produce polyurethane polymers, which are components of polyurethane foams, thermoplastic elastomers, spandex fibers, and polyurethane paints. Isocyanates are the raw materials that make up all polyurethane products. Jobs that may involve exposure to isocyanates include painting, foam-blowing, and the manufacture of many Polyurethane products, such as chemicals, polyurethane foam, insulation materials, surface coatings, car seats, furniture, foam mattresses, under-carpet padding, packaging materials, shoes, laminated fabrics, polyurethane rubber, and adhesives, and during the thermal degredation of polyurethane products. Health effects of isocyanate exposure include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, and difficult breathing. Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of hazardous exposures are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.

~•~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or legal advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
2 Comments
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1627263_tn?1299520017
hey Mr. Im not a doctor Im just a young lady. But this is just an opinion... I understand your stress about finding a doctor whocan help you. And feeling like they want nothing to do with you. I agree with the statement by Dr.parks. I would go back to square 1. Go see your Primary care physician. Who you see for a cold, flu, allergies, things like that. Because he/she may be able to take note of your symptoms and send you on into the direction of a doctor sepcialized in your case. Write down all your symptoms, and all the different doctors you seen. Your primary care physician is the one doctor who should know you somewhat. He/she can refer you to someone else IF he cant help you himself. But with alot of insurances, you might need a reference to see a specialist. And also, my dads a Bricklayer, and when he sprays the brick with acid his skin gets a rash. Over the years his asthma has gotten so beyond terrible. He has to get on steroids a few times a year to treat it. he takes alot of meds just for the asthma. And the increase in worsening is due to all the dust inhaled,morter durst, brick dust. Im sorry i dont have any answers but maybe this gave u some support.
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Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, F...Blank
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