NIOSH to Release New Tools for Assessing and Controlling Chemical Risk

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently announced that it will soon be releasing several new or updated versions of key resources. These are intended to assist industrial hygienists and other aligned professionals in chemical risk assessment and management efforts.

Informative Resources

On May 20, 2019, the Director of NIOSH's Education and Information Division, Paul A. Schulte, announced the upcoming availability of several resources at this year's American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Conference & Exposition. Among these are the following:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide
    • Designed to educate both employers and employees on the hazards and risks associated with chemicals in the workplace, the “NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards” (NPG) offers general information on hundreds of chemicals. While it is not intended to provide comprehensive data on chemical substances, it offers an abundance of essential facts. Previously available in print and online formats, the accessibility of this useful resource has increased as it has become available just recently as a mobile app.
  • Exposure Limits
    • Among the chemicals within the NPG are those for which NIOSH has developed and provided recommended exposure limits (RELs). RELs are recommended guidelines for upper exposure limits to hazardous substances. Recent key chemicals for which NIOSH has proposed RELs include:
      • glutaraldehyde
      • lead
      • manganese
      • silver nanoparticles
      • toluene diisocyanate
    • Also included within the NPG are chemicals determined to be immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). IDLH values are exposure limits representing the air concentration of a chemical to which adult workers could be exposed and escape without injury if the respiratory equipment they use was to fail.
  • Current Intelligence Bulletin
    • In 2018, the draft document “Current Intelligence Bulletin: NIOSH Practices in Occupational Risk Assessment” was released. This document highlights the significance of conducting risk assessments and their role in helping make recommendations for workplace safety. It further considers the approach used by NIOSH when conducting workplace hazard health risk assessments. Included is a key discussion of occupational exposure (hazard) banding, a process by which chemicals are assigned to different bands corresponding to chemical exposure concentration ranges. Designed for use by NIOSH risk assessors and other stakeholders, scientists, and the public, the document is intended to improve their understanding of the NIOSH risk assessment process. A forthcoming final version of the document is anticipated.

Getting the Information That You Need

NIOSH delivers valuable information germane to workplace chemical safety and other closely related topics. To access vital toxicology and chemical hazard content from many of the world’s most authoritative sources, including NIOSH’s Pocket Guide, Current Intelligence Bulletins, and more, visit the ToxPlanet website and register for a Free Trial.

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