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What’s Next for the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods

Categories: Safety and Health Data

 

Many products essential to daily life are produced using  chemicals that can endanger human health unless properly controlled.  While the end product may be safe for the consumer, the workers who manufacture the product may be occupationally exposed to the chemical ingredients more directly or at higher concentrations than the consumer who uses the final product. Monitoring these occupational exposures is vital for determining if they are potentially harmful to workers and if action is needed to reduce or eliminate exposure. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed and rigorously evaluated over 300 methods for evaluating worker exposure that are available in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM). These methods describe not only the analysis procedure but how to collect samples for analysis. The results can indicate whether action is needed to reduce exposure.

The NMAM, which was first published in 1974, contains technical methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed. These methods have been developed or adapted by NIOSH or its partners and have been evaluated according to established experimental protocols and performance criteria. [1] NMAM also includes chapters that provide help on topics such as quality assurance, sampling, and portable instrumentation.  The Fourth Edition of the NMAM was the last version in print form, published in 1994 with three supplements published in 1996, 1998, and 2003. [2] NMAM is a standard resource for selecting analytical methods that provide consistency in the practice of industrial hygiene.  When selected and used properly, these methods assure accuracy and reliability of results. As we begin to publish solely in electronic format, we’d like your feedback about what you find useful and what we could improve.  Our goals for these Fifth Edition methods are that they be easily searchable for sampling media, analytical technique, equipment, and analyte.  We’d also like to know how we could improve the NMAM to be easier for you to use. 

We need your help!  Recently NIOSH, together with the American Industrial Hygiene Association, launched a survey to get your suggestions on how  to improve the NMAM.  Through the survey we are trying to find out if there are easier ways to present the methods, different electronic formats that would be more useful, different ways to search the methods, or gaps in the methods that are in the NMAM? It’s a short 23 question survey that should not take longer than 30 minutes to complete.  Please help us design the next generation of NMAM. To take the survey, click here

We also have a number of methods currently being evaluated and need labs willing to participate in round robin analyses to more completely evaluate these methods.  Please contact us in the comment section below or by e-mailing  Kevin Ashley ( kea0@cdc.gov) or Paula Fey O’Connor (pfo1@cdc.gov)  if you can participate.

Dale Shoemaker, PhD; Rosa Key-Schwartz, PhD; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Yvonne Gagnon, MPH

The authors all work in the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology.

References

[1] NIOSH [1995]. NIOSH Technical Report: Guidelines for air sampling and analytical method development and evaluation. By Kennedy ER, Fischbach TJ, Song R, Eller PM, Shulman SA. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-117.

[2] NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM®), 4th ed.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113 (August, 1994),
1st Supplement Publication 96-135, 2nd Supplement Publication 98-119, 3rd Supplement 2003-154

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. December 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm ET  -   Paul Wambach

    Some years back I attended a meeting in which NIOSH was soliciting comments on updating NIOSH 77-173 “Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual”. Combining that rewrite with a rewrite of the front chapters of NMAM would be an opportunity to address the whole measurement system. EPA QA/G-4 “Guidance on Systematic Planning Using the Data Quality Objectives Process” would be a good model for a document. Applying the DQO process concepts and terminology specifically to occupational exposure monitoring would help industrial hygienists and environmental chemists communicate and plan more effectively.

    One particular DQO communication issue of concern is laboratory reporting limits (RLs). There have been several recent examples of occupational exposure limits (OELs) being lowered to levels near commonly used RLs. This creates a situation in which monitoring results from a compliant workplace will all or nearly all below RLs. Without information on distance from the OEL and variance in levels, proving compliance is difficult. Some discussion of strategies for lowering the censoring point or using uncensored data should be included in the NMAM.

    One final comment. It would be useful to have a more definitive statement from NIOSH on the validity of comparing results from samples collected with closed-face cassette with wall deposits to OELs for inhalable metal particulates.

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT December 20, 2013 at 9:28 am ET  -   Dale Shoemaker, PhD; Rosa Key-Schwartz, PhD; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Yvonne Gagnon, MPH

      Thank you for your feedback. We have responded after each comment.

      “Some years back I attended a meeting in which NIOSH was soliciting comments on updating NIOSH 77-173 “Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual”. Combining that rewrite with a rewrite of the front chapters of NMAM would be an opportunity to address the whole measurement system. EPA QA/G-4 “Guidance on Systematic Planning Using the Data Quality Objectives Process” would be a good model for a document. Applying the DQO process concepts and terminology specifically to occupational exposure monitoring would help industrial hygienists and environmental chemists communicate and plan more effectively.”

      Response:
      Thank you for this suggestion. After the completion of the revision of the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual (2015) we plan to incorporate important elements from the revised guidance in the NMAM front materials (introductory guidance, chapters.) Data quality objectives processes such as described by the US EPA, US DOE, and by European (EC, EU) organizations will impact this incorporation.

      “One particular DQO communication issue of concern is laboratory reporting limits (RLs). There have been several recent examples of occupational exposure limits (OELs) being lowered to levels near commonly used RLs. This creates a situation in which monitoring results from a compliant workplace will all or nearly all below RLs. Without information on distance from the OEL and variance in levels, proving compliance is difficult. Some discussion of strategies for lowering the censoring point or using uncensored data should be included in the NMAM.”

      Response:
      Sampling and analytical methods are constantly being improved by both NIOSH and by occupational health laboratory community. When new health effects evidence results in the lowering of an OEL to a level close to laboratory reporting limits for a specific exposure agent, and collection of greater sample volume is infeasible, the priority for improving the laboratory method for that agent increases. NIOSH welcomes suggestions from the occupational health community for these high priority exposure agents.

      “One final comment. It would be useful to have a more definitive statement from NIOSH on the validity of comparing results from samples collected with closed-face cassette with wall deposits to OELs for inhalable metal particulates.”

      Response:
      The NIOSH policy is definitive: it is recommended to account for all aerosol particles that go into the sampler. Particles collected on both filter and non-filter surfaces within the CFC should be accounted for.

      These recommendations were posted in early 2012 on the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods web page: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2003-154/cassetteguidance.html . Further guidance appeared earlier this year in JOEH (citation below).

      Kevin Ashley & Martin Harper (2013): Closed-Face Filter Cassette (CFC) Sampling—Guidance on Procedures for Inclusion of Material Adhering to Internal Sampler Surfaces, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 10:3, D29-D33
      To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2012.750554

      Link to this comment

  2. February 6, 2014 at 5:09 am ET  -   saboor

    its a great informative for people who work in chemical industries.the chemical exposure technique is really good.it can avoid from toxic chemical effect.
    NIOSH explain method for analyses procedure and collect sample for analysis very effectively.

    Link to this comment

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