Skip to main content


Toxic Tort & Workplace Accident Lawyer reviews toxic exposure cases for plaintiffs nationwide
Nationwide Success

Isocyanate Exposure Lawsuits

investigating toxic workplace injury cases

Isocyanates are chemicals used in a wide range of manufacturing and industrial applications, and now known to be damaging to personal health, causing serious respiratory illnesses and may lead to cancer. These toxic chemicals are commonly used in foams, insulating fibers, adhesives, and coatings such as paints and varnishes.

Though most widely used in the automobile and auto-body repair industry, Isocyanates are found in many work environments and incorporated into many unsuspecting materials including building insulation materials, spray-on polyurethane foam products, wood coatings, and protective coatings for truck beds, trailers, boats, and household decks.

Isocyanates are powerful irritants, affecting the eyes, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts of those in direct contact with the toxins. Direct skin contact can also cause marked inflammation.

Isocyanates like methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (DMI) are found in polyurethane spray foam, paints, varnishes and other types of foam. They are a known cause of occupational asthma, chronic respiratory disease and related cancers. Death from severe asthma in some sensitize victims have been reported.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati Toxic Injury Lawyer who has represented individuals nationwide in toxic tort claims.

If you have been exposed to an Isocyanate chemical, and have questions about your legal rights, please contact The Lyon Firm.

Workplace Isocyanate Exposure

Recent studies indicate that thousands of American workers may be exposed to Isocyanate materials. The most common form of toxic exposure occurs around car body repair shops and industrial painting companies. Also, an estimated 10,000 U.S. workers are potentially exposed to the same chemicals during spray-on truck bed lining operations.

Other jobs that may involve exposure to isocyanates include painting, foam-blowing, and the manufacture of many toxic Polyurethane products, such as insulation materials, surface coatings, car seats, furniture, foam mattresses, under-carpet padding, laminated fabrics, polyurethane rubber, and adhesives.


Please complete the form below for a FREE consultation.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

Occupations at Risk of Isocyanate Exposure

Any worker exposed to toxic products that contain Isocyanate chemicals like adhesives, spray-on foam insulation, decomposition products, and urethane foams could be at risk of developing a serious respiratory illness. Occupations associated with heavy Isocyanate exposure include the following positions:

Tasks Associated with Toxic Isocyanate Exposure

  • Spray Painting
  • Spray Foam Insulating
  • Welding
  • Sanding
  • Grinding
  • Resurfacing
  • Masking
  • Demasking
  • Mixing
  • Cleaning

Isocyanate-Related Illnesses

Isocyanates are the leading chemical cause of occupational asthma in the United States. Symptoms of exposure often continue after exposures have been terminated. Minor respiratory irritation may progress to chronic respiratory symptoms. Affected workers often have to leave their jobs because of a building respiratory condition.

Exposure to Isocyanates can cause issues related to the irritation of the skin, mucous membranes, eyes, and respiratory tract. The most common adverse health outcomes associated with Isocyanate exposure are respiratory-related. As little as a few hours of exposure to the chemicals can initiate certain symptoms. Potential symptoms of an Isocyanate exposure condition include:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Rashes and hives
  • Inflammation of the extremities
  • Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
  • Fever and nausea
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Nocturnal awakening
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Industrial Isocyanate Materials

A wide variety of manufactured goods and common materials used at home and the workplace contain hazardous chemicals  Some of the most common Isocyanate-containing products may include:

  • Spray-on polyurethane products
  • Industrial foams
  • Wood coatings
  • Varnishes
  • Adhesives—Rock glue
  • Rubber sealants
  • Molding compounds
  • Surface coatings
  • Industrial valves
  • Cooling and Freezing Appliances
  • Automobile parts
  • Truck bed liners
  • Aircraft components
  • Brass and copper castings
  • Paints—Epoxy and polyeruthane paints
  • Processed wood products
  • Surgical instruments

Toxic Polyurethane Foam Spray

Spray polyurethane foam is widely used as a building material, known for its ability to improve energy efficiency. It insulates better per inch than fiberglass, which translates to energy savings in heating and cooling.

But polyurethane spray foam’s chemical makeup includes substances that are toxic and hazardous. Spray polyurethane foam contains isocyanates, polyol, flame retardants and amine catalysts. These chemicals create hazardous fumes and if the chemicals are not mixed properly, they can remain toxic.

Employer Exposure Prevention

Due to thousands of American workers falling ill after Isocyanate exposure, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published several studies that reveal the serious consequences of toxic chemical exposure to certain groups of workers.

For years the health agency has urged chemical companies and employers to improve toxic exposure prevention in the workplace.

If companies ignore the safety of their workers, they are acting irresponsibly and are liable for the Workplace Ventilation Risks sustained by their employees. The federal agency recommends the following prevention measures:

  • Engineering controls, such as closed systems and ventilation
  • Use of personal protective equipment—respirators and protective clothing
  • Early recognition and elimination of exposures
  • Proper disposal and cleaning of protective clothing
  • Face-shield and apron use when there is a possibility of liquid splash or spill
  •  Periodic medical surveillance programs for all exposed workers

Isocyanate Injury Lawsuits

Employers that fail to provide safe working environments and protect employees may face personal injury claims if they knew the dangers of potential toxins and still took no action. Corporations that manufacture dangerous Isocyanate chemicals and other hazardous substances are also targets for victims and their attorneys.

Four large chemical companies, including BASF Corporation, Bayer, Dow Chemical Company and Huntsman International, have recently been named in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit that claims the companies have been selling harmful Isocyanate chemicals, and intentionally concealing their inherent dangers to consumers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

By endangering the public, attorneys claim the companies have committed fraud, negligence, breach of express and implied warranty, and breach of consumer protection statutes. Lawsuits filed against chemical corporations and reckless employers help ensure consumer and workplace safety in the years to come.

photo of attorney Joe Lyon reviewing isocyanate injury
A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

Toxic exposure cases help empower employees to fight for their right to be protected, satisfactorily informed, and to stay safe. They also bring awareness to challenge and higher the expectations of companies who are not serving their employees justly.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Questions about Toxic Exposure

Can I file a Toxic Exposure Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one has suffered from chemical poisoning or toxic exposure and developed cancer or another serious illness as a result of employer negligence, you may contact an attorney to investigate your case. 

What are common illnesses tied to isocyanate exposure?

Chronic or acute isocyanate exposure can lead to occupational lung diseases, cancers, skin conditions and severe allergic reactions. 

Should I hire a personal injury lawyer?

The Lyon Firm is experienced in filing workplace toxic exposure lawsuits on behalf of employees nationwide who have developed illnesses or diseases following toxin exposure.