NIOSH Requests Review of Its Occupational Exposure Banding Process

Published March 22, 2017

​Last week, NIOSH published a new draft Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) outlining the agency’s occupational exposure banding process, which is intended to help occupational health and safety professionals and others make timely, well-informed risk management decisions about chemicals that lack occupational exposure limits. In the March 2016 issue of The Synergist, members of the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Team describe occupational exposure banding as “a mechanism for quickly and accurately assigning chemicals into categories (‘bands’) on the basis of potency and health outcomes associated with exposure to chemicals.” The new draft CIB, The NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Process: Guidance for the Evaluation of Chemical Hazards, details the use and application of the process and summarizes efforts NIOSH has taken to evaluate its effectiveness and usability. Individuals can download the draft CIB from the docket folder on Regulations.gov (see the link under “supporting documents”).

NIOSH seeks feedback on the draft document from individuals including scientists and representatives from various government agencies, industry, labor, and other stakeholders. The authors urge commenters to place special emphasis on the technical review of certain issues, including chemicals that can cause an immediate effect; skin toxicants that are corrosive, an irritant, or a sensitizer; the process for assessing whether enough information is available to conduct occupational exposure banding; and how the agency should consider data collected on structural analogs or related chemicals in the banding scheme. A full list of authors’ questions is available in the Federal Register notice.

Review comments are due by June 13, 2017. NIOSH will also hold a public meeting to discuss the CIB. More information is available via the Federal Register.

NIOSH issues CIBs to disseminate new scientific information about occupational hazards. Previous CIBs can be found on the agency’s website.