June 13, 2019

France to Revise OELs for "Dust Without Specific Effects"

​The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety, ANSES, has launched a public consultation on draft recommendations to revise the occupational exposure limit values for “dust without specific effects,” or DWSE. France’s Directorate General for Labor, an arm of the Ministry of Labor, describes DWSE as dust “that is not capable alone of causing any effect on the lungs or any other organ or system of the human body other than an overload effect." The current binding regulatory values for DWSE in France are an 8-hour time-weighted average exposure value for total dust of 10 mg/m3 and an 8-hour TWA exposure value for respirable dust of 5 mg/m3. The Directorate General for Labor asked ANSES to reassess these OELs in 2015 after the agency published an opinion on the health risks of fine particles for workers whose activities take place in underground railway areas. At that time, ANSES recommended measures for the prevention and reduction of exposure to pollutants in the air and research on the toxicity of particles in underground railways.

A new document (PDF) published by ANSES summarizes the work of agency committees on Health Reference Values and on OELs for chemical agents. The document includes two revised OELs: an 8-hour OEL of 4 mg/m3 for the inhalable fraction and an 8-hour OEL of 1.3 mg/m3 for the respirable fraction.

Instructions for submitting comments are available on the ANSES website. Submissions must be sent via email before July 13, 2019.