Category: Chemicals

Hearing Loss Among Construction Workers: Chemicals Can Make It Worse

Three out of four construction workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels on the jobsite.[i] Noise levels are considered hazardous when they reach 85 decibels or higher. A NIOSH study examining hearing loss across industries found that construction workers have higher levels of hearing loss than workers in most industries.[ii] The highest rates are experienced Read More >

Posted on by Drew Hinton, MS, CSP, CHMM, COHC; CDR Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Jeanette Novakovich, MA, MS, PhD; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Thais Morata, PhD; and Trudi McCleery, MPH2 Comments

World Cancer Day 2020 – Reflecting on a Decade of NIOSH Cancer Research

February 4th, 2020 is World Cancer Day, and we are reflecting on the role of the occupational cancer research being done at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in reducing the burden of cancer worldwide. Cancer develops as a result of the body losing its ability to control the growth and spread Read More >

Posted on by Raquel Velazquez-Kronen, Ph.D.; and Jasmine Nelson, B.S.5 Comments

Occupational Exposure Banding and Workplace Chemicals

For workers in a variety of industries, exposure to chemicals is commonplace. American workers handle, transport, or encounter thousands of chemicals every day, from cleaning products to industrial solvents. Although many of these chemicals have important uses, they can also be harmful to workers who are exposed to them. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are developed Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Seaton, MS, and Thomas J. Lentz, PhD1 Comment

Ototoxicant Chemicals and Workplace Hearing Loss

  Since the 19th century, many therapeutic drugs have been known to affect hearing. Known as ototoxic drugs, many are used today in clinical situations despite these negative side effects because they are effective in treating serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Research has shown that exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace may also negatively affect Read More >

Posted on by Thais C. Morata, PhD and Chuck Kardous, MS, PE11 Comments

Help Us Redesign the NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018. The guide continues to be the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) most popular document. It provides descriptive information such as recommendations for exposure limits, protective clothing, and first aid measures for 677 chemicals commonly found in the work Read More >

Posted on by Naomi Hudson, Dr.P.H, and Donna Van Bogaert, Ph.D. 74 Comments

Occupational Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) in U.S. Manufacturing Companies

You may have seen water bottles labeled “BPA Free” or heard that certain foods contain BPA. BPA (or bisphenol A) has been in the news over the past several years. BPA is weakly estrogenic; that is, BPA may mimic some of the hormone-like effects of estrogen.  BPA is used primarily in making polycarbonate plastic and Read More >

Posted on by Cynthia Hines, MS, CIH9 Comments

NMAM 5th Edition

Workers in various industries and occupations can face health risks from exposure to airborne chemical and biological agents. These exposures are typically measured by monitoring workplace air.  Air monitoring can also be helpful to determine the effectiveness of controls that are used to minimize worker exposures.  While inhalation is the most likely route of exposure Read More >

Posted on by Kevin Ashley, Ph.D.3 Comments

Are Hospital Cleaning Staff at Risk When Using a One-step Cleaner?

  Workers’ health and safety is an important consideration when choosing cleaning and disinfectant products. In health care settings, disinfection products help minimize healthcare-acquired infections.  In January 2015, the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOSH), received a request to conduct a health hazard evaluation at a Pennsylvania hospital using a new surface cleaning product consisting Read More >

Posted on by Brie M. Hawley, PhD34 Comments

Coffee Workers at Risk for Lung Disease

  Obliterative bronchiolitis, an irreversible form of lung disease in which the smallest airways in the lung (the bronchioles) become scarred and constricted, blocking the movement of air, was previously identified in flavoring manufacturing workers and microwave popcorn workers who were occupationally exposed to diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) or butter flavorings containing diacetyl. Now, NIOSH research finds Read More >

Posted on by Rachel L. Bailey, DO, MPH; Ryan F. LeBouf, PhD, CIH; and Kristin J. Cummings, MD, MPH 9 Comments

Silicosis Update

  Silicosis is a potentially fatal but preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling respirable particles containing crystalline silicon dioxide (silica). Quartz, a type of crystalline silica, is the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and workers across a wide range of occupations and industries are exposed to silica-containing dusts. The risks, causes, Read More >

Posted on by Jacek Mazurek, MD, MS, PhD and David Weissman, MD 107 Comments

Workplace Secondhand Smoke Exposure During Pregnancy: Who is protected?

  There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and avoiding this preventable health hazard is particularly important for the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies. Secondhand smoke exposure is associated with chronic diseases such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke and with adverse reproductive effects, including low birth Read More >

Posted on by Candice Y. Johnson, Ph.D.15 Comments

Protecting Nail Salon Workers

Last week, the New York Times published a two-part series highlighting what it characterized as exploitative employment practices and unsafe working conditions for nail salon workers, including exposures to hazardous chemicals. On the heels of the reports, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on May 11 ordered emergency measures in the state “to prevent unlawful Read More >

Posted on by Cheryl Fairfield Estill, MS, PE5 Comments

Tobacco in the Workplace

  More than half a century has passed since the first Surgeon General’s Report on the health consequences of smoking. Over that 50-year period, cigarette smoking in the U.S. has declined by more than 50% among all U.S. adults. However, tobacco use continues to be the most frequent cause of preventable death and is responsible Read More >

Posted on by David Weissman, MD3 Comments

Occupational Exposures to New Drycleaning Solvents

Drycleaning There are about 36,000 commercial drycleaning shops in the United States. Most are owner-operated small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. In addition, some drycleaning shops may be owned and staffed by individuals with limited English language skills and/or may be marginally profitable– factors that may create additional barriers for the owner-operator to maintain a Read More >

Posted on by Diana Ceballos, PhD, MS, CIH; Stephen Whittaker, PhD; and Eun Gyung Lee, PhD, CIH 14 Comments

Workplace Exposures and the National Action Plan for Infertility

Infertility is a significant health issue in the U.S. as well as globally.  In addition to the large health and fiscal impacts of infertility, the inability to conceive can be devastating to individuals or couples. Research suggest that between 12% and 18% of couples struggle with infertility,[1] which may be caused by a wide variety Read More >

Posted on by Steven M. Schrader, PhD and James S. Kesner, PhD 9 Comments

Silica Hazards from Engineered Stone Countertops

A new engineered stone countertop product known as “quartz surfacing,” was created in the late 1980s by combining quartz aggregate with resins to create a product for use in home building and home improvement.  Manufacturing of this material, including products such as CaesarStone™, Silestone™, Zodiaq™, or Cambria™ is a fast growing industry.  First made in Read More >

Posted on by Karen Worthington, MS, RN, COHN-S; Margaret Filios, SM, RN; Mary Jo Reilly, MS; Robert Harrison, MD, MPH; and Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD 54 Comments

World Cancer Day – Cancer Detectives in the Workplace

Today is World Cancer Day. Around the world, 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and the number is expected to increase due to the growth and aging of the population, as well as reductions in childhood mortality and deaths from infectious diseases in developing countries (ACS 2011). Cancer is the leading cause Read More >

Posted on by Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan, Ph.D.; Tania Carreόn-Valencia, Ph.D.; Avima M. Ruder, Ph.D.; Lynne E. Pinkerton, M.D., M.P.H.8 Comments

Reducing Worker Exposure to ETS

  What better time than during the American Cancer Society’s  annual Great American Smokeout, to highlight the benefit of  comprehensive smoke-free workplaces  on the health of workers.   Furnishing a smoke-free work environment has been shown to both reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) among non-smokers, and also to decrease smoking among employees.  In Massachusetts, recent Read More >

Posted on by Kathleen Fitzsimmons, MPH5 Comments

Powerful New Videos Encourage Those Who Qualify to Seek Care through the World Trade Center Health Program

Though the September 11th attacks were over a decade ago, thousands of people who were in the affected areas continue to experience physical and mental health symptoms as a result of their experience in the days, months, and even years following 9/11. They may not recognize that some cancers, a chronic cough, difficulty sleeping, or Read More >

Posted on by Melissa Van Orman, MA25 Comments

1-Bromopropane

1-Bromopropane (1-BP), also known as n-propyl bromide (nPB), is an organic solvent used in a number of commercial and industrial applications. 1-BP may be found in products used in vapor and immersion degreasing operations for cleaning metal, plastics, electronic and optical components; in adhesive spray applications; and in dry cleaning operations. 1-BP may also be Read More >

Posted on by Doug Trout, MD, MHS; Naomi Hudson, DrPH, MPH; Scott Dotson, PhD, CIH; Kevin Hanley, MSPH, CIH, REHS/RS 8 Comments