Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is an organic compound with the formula CH3C6H3(NCO)2. Two of the six possible isomers are commercially important: 2,4-TDI (CAS: 584-84-9) and 2,6-TDI (CAS: 91-08-7). 2,4-TDI is produced in the pure state, but TDI is often marketed as 80/20 and 65/35 mixtures of the 2,4 and 2,6 isomers respectively. It is produced on a large scale, accounting for 34.1% of the global isocyanate market in 2000, second only to MDI. Approximately 1.4 billion kilograms were produced in 2000.
Acute exposure to high levels of 2,4-toluene diisocyanate in humans, via inhalation, results in severe irritation of the skin and eyes and affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems (CNS). Chronic inhalation exposure to 2,4-toluene diisocyanate in humans has resulted in significant decreases in lung function in workers, an asthma-like reaction characterized by wheezing, dyspnea, and bronchial constriction. Animal studies have reported significantly increased incidences of tumors of the pancreas, liver, and mammary glands from exposure to 2,4-toluene diisocyanate via gavage (experimentally placing the chemical in the stomach). The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified 2,4-toluene diisocyanate as a Group 2B, possible human carcinogen.
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