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NIOSH Issues Guidance for Hazardous Substances with No Clear OEL

July 15, 2019 / Guy Burdick

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released new guidance for determining the level of hazards for substances with no occupational exposure limit (OEL) established by a government agency, by a standard-setting body, or in peer-reviewed literature. A large number of chemicals have no clearly defined OEL. The NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding Process for Chemical Risk Management offers employers a strategy for assigning chemicals to a category or “band” to decide how to best protect workers from harmful exposures. NIOSH is offering the occupational exposure banding process to address a problem employers face in choosing which chemicals to allow in their workplaces. For the over 85,000 commercially available chemicals in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory, only about 1,000 have a government, consensus, or peer-reviewed OEL. “In the absence of formalized OELs, the exposure banding approach serves to identif...