NIOSH has released a “significant update” to its policy for classifying chemical carcinogens in response to advancements in cancer science and stakeholder concerns about the relevance of the previous policy, which was first issued in 1978. The agency states that this updated approach will make classification of carcinogens more efficient in federal and international organizations; increase the relevance of information on workplace exposures to carcinogens; and strengthen NIOSH’s ability to develop recommended exposure limits (RELs).
Under the revised carcinogen classification policy, NIOSH would evaluate hazard assessments made by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) for occupational relevance.
If NIOSH finds the scientific basis of a carcinogen classification to be occupationally relevant, the agency would list the chemical as an occupational carcinogen along with the NTP, EPA, and/or IARC classification. NIOSH would also determine the applicable Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) carcinogen category.
Public comments on the revised policy must be received by NIOSH by Feb. 13, 2014. For more information, read NIOSH’s press release.
View the draft document, Current Intelligence Bulletin: Update of NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and Target Risk Level Policy for Chemical Hazards in the Workplace, as a PDF.