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NIOSH eNews – April 2011


Volume 8 Number 12 April 2011


Occupational Cancer and the NIOSH Carcinogen Policy
Guest Column by Paul Schulte, Ph.D.,
Director, NIOSH Education and Information Division

“In the 21st century, occupational cancer is still a significant cause of morbidity, mortality, and societal burden. While the number of current workers at risk of occupational cancer is not known precisely, the number of workers exposed to OSHA regulated carcinogens is still in the millions and the size of the population with past exposure is in the tens of millions. Estimates of the fraction of cancers attributable to occupation vary. At least 4% (24,000) of the approximate 600,000 deaths from cancer each year in the United States is thought to be the result of exposures in the workplace [Ward et al. 2003]. It is likely that this 4% is an underestimate. The calculation of this attributable fraction was only conducted on a few carcinogens and cancer sites. Moreover, the role of work and occupational exposures of cancers in women has not been widely studied which may contribute to the underestimate. Other estimates of cancer mortality attributable to workplace exposures range as high as 10%. If the 4% estimate for deaths is the same for cancer morbidity, an estimated 48,000 new cases of cancer each year have occupational causes. This is an important contribution to the human cancer burden, exceeded only by the contribution of cigarette smoking and diet [P. Schulte and T. Schnorr, Presentation to the President’s Cancer Panel 2008).”

NIOSH assessments of workplace carcinogens and the setting of NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs) have been important tools in addressing the burden of occupational cancer. Historically, in 1976, to address the growing perception of an occupational cancer burden, NIOSH specified a policy to be used to classify substances as carcinogens and to develop RELs which allowed for “no detectable exposure levels for proven carcinogenic substances” [Fairchild 1976]. In 1995, NIOSH revised this policy to include advances in science and approaches in risk assessment and risk management (/niosh/npg/nengapdxa.html). This revised policy states that “NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs) will be based on risk evaluations using human or animal health effects data, and on an assessment of what levels can be feasibly achieved by engineering controls and measured by analytical techniques. To the extent feasible, NIOSH will project not only a no-effect exposure, but also exposure levels at which there may be residual risks.” This policy applies to all workplace hazards, including carcinogens, and is responsive to Section 20(a)(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which charges NIOSH to “…describe exposure levels that are safe for various periods of employments, including but not limited to the exposure levels at which no employee will suffer impaired health or functional capacities or diminished life expectancy as a result of his work experience.”

Over the last few years, NIOSH and stakeholders have had concerns about limitations in the NIOSH’s Carcinogen Policy and NIOSH initiated a review of the carcinogen policy in 2010. A major limitation in the policy is the use of the term “Potential Occupational Carcinogen” which dates to the 1980 OSHA hazard classification for carcinogens outlined in 29 CFR 1990.103 and is defined as “…any substance, or combination or mixture of substances, which causes an increased incidence of benign and/or malignant neoplasms, or a substantial decrease in the latency period between exposure and onset of neoplasms in humans or in one or more experimental mammalian species as the result of any oral, respiratory or dermal exposure, or any other exposure which results in the induction of tumors at a site other than the site of administration. This definition also includes any substance which is metabolized into one or more potential occupational carcinogens by mammals.”

A major limitation of this definition is that the policy allows for only one cancer category, potential occupational carcinogen. The adjective “potential” conveys uncertainty that is not warranted with many carcinogens such as asbestos, benzene, and others. This approach stems from a time in the 1960s and 70s when most occupational exposures were unregulated and the science of chemical carcinogenesis was hotly debated. This policy does not allow for classification on the basis of the magnitude and sufficiency of the scientific evidence. In contrast, other organizations, such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) allow for a more differential classification.

There also are other technical and scientific issues with the current NIOSH Carcinogen Policy that require further examination. The first thing to consider is should there explicitly be a carcinogen policy as opposed to a broader policy on toxicant identification and classification (e.g. cancer, reproductive hazards, neurotoxins)? If there is a cancer policy, how should different levels of evidence be included? How are recommended exposure limits (RELs) for carcinogens determined? Should the method for determining these RELs be different than for other similarly serious outcomes?

With respect to the development of RELs, the 1995 revision of the NIOSH policy states that NIOSH RELs should be “..based on risk evaluations using human or animal health effects data, and on an assessment of what levels can be feasibly achieved by engineering controls and measured by analytical techniques.” To the extent feasible, NIOSH will project not only a no effect exposure, but also exposure levels at which there may be residual risks”. NIOSH continues to evaluate the technical considerations that must be addressed with the phrase “…feasibly achieved by engineering controls …” and has generally taken this to mean if a carcinogen can be controlled to the REL in one workplace then it is potentially achievable in other workplaces. However, further consideration of this interpretation is warranted as is consideration of the extent to which NIOSH RELs should be technology-forcing. That is, to achieve the REL, new technological approaches will need to be developed.

As a consequence of predicting exposure levels at which there may be residual risks, a question that must be answered is how great/large should this residual risk be? NIOSH has historically used the level of 1/1000 lifetime risk of cancer for carcinogens. This is frequently the risk level used by OSHA in setting permissible exposure limits (PELs) as a result of the Supreme Court Benzene decision. Should the NIOSH RELs use the same residual risk level as the OSHA PELs or should a lower level of residual risk, such as 1/10,000, be used? This question is increasingly of concern as new genetic tests allow for identification of subgroups in the population that have increased risk of cancer and whether this kind of research should be used in OEL development (see Schulte and Howard ARPH Vol 32, 2011).

Other issues that will be considered in the NIOSH Carcinogen Policy review are what uncertainties or assumptions should be used in the development of RELs, the utility of a standard action level, and how to address worker exposure to complex mixtures. The revision of the NIOSH Carcinogen Policy also coincides with the international realization that there is a need for more efficient and quicker means of classifying chemicals. Qualitative and semi-quantitative approaches such as hazard banding are increasingly being investigated as a means of addressing the vast numbers of unregulated chemicals. NIOSH has been in collaboration with various organizations to consider utilizing hazard banding approaches to control chemicals. This will also be reflected in the review of the carcinogen policy.

To assist NIOSH in this review and to provide stakeholders an opportunity for input, a Federal Register Notice will be published describing the process for providing input on the revision of the NIOSH Carcinogen Policy. A docket will be opened for the collection of the information and a public meeting will be held within the next few months. It is anticipated that the report on a revised NIOSH Carcinogen Policy will be available in the Spring of 2012.

“The revision of the NIOSH Carcinogen Policy reflects the fact that our science-based determinations must stay current with advances in the relevant technologies and methodologies,” our Director, John Howard, maintains. I join with Dr. Howard in looking forward to the participation of all interested parties in this process as we move forward.

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH
April eNews 2011

The Second 40 Years

Logo for NIOSH @ 40 years

On April 28, NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will observe their 40th anniversaries. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Nixon on December 29, 1970, went into effect on April 28, 1971. Forty years is a significant measure of time for a society. High-tech in 1971 meant cable television, microwave ovens, car phones, and computers the size of rooms. In that pre-Internet era, workers and employers who wanted to read the Occupational Safety and Health Act had to wait for printed copies. From today’s vantage point, that level of development seems hardly more advanced than the horse and buggy.

After 40 years, one can take the measure of an organization with some degree of confidence in assessing how well it has carried out its assigned and ongoing mission: Has it been sufficiently flexible to meet inevitable social, economic, and technological changes? Has it provided the benefits to society that it was intended to provide? Is it well-positioned to meet ongoing changes that the next 10, 20, or 40 years will bring?

We at NIOSH are proud of our record, which spans many dramatic changes in the nature of work in the U.S. since the year of Super Bowl V, Apollo 14, and the founding of NASDAQ. NIOSH worked closely with its diverse partners in the start-up years of the early 1970s to address the priority safety and health needs of an economy driven at that time by manufacturing. Through the decade of the 1970s, NIOSH’s research helped to reduce hazardous exposures to asbestos, lead, benzene, vinyl chloride, and other substances produced or used every day in factories, plants, and steel mills.

As the service sector grew in the 1980s and 1990s, NIOSH led pioneering research that helped to underpin new interventions for emerging safety and health concerns. These included indoor environmental quality in office buildings, job-related musculoskeletal injuries, workplace violence, latex allergy among healthcare workers, and risks of occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens, among other emerging challenges.

Beginning in the 1990s and accelerating after the terrorist attacks of 2001, NIOSH’s program of testing and certifying respirators for workplace use provided a foundation for a strategic program to address worker safety and health needs in emergency preparedness and response. NIOSH has worked closely with OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and other partners to help bolster the Nation’s capacity to meet the threats of terrorism and large-scale natural disasters. NIOSH was part of the coordinated federal response in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, the anthrax attacks, the H1N1 influenza outbreak, the Deepwater Horizon response, and other emergencies. NIOSH joined with its partners to provide technical assistance for preventing occupational and line-of-duty injuries and illnesses in the field. As well, the lessons learned in each incident have helped federal, state, and local agencies, businesses, and others to prepare better for protecting responders and other workers in the event of future disasters.

The Sago, Crandall Canyon, and Upper Big Branch mining disasters focused new national attention on the need to prevent catastrophic mine explosions and roof collapses. The news coverage of grieving families and devastated communities also highlighted the related need to improve technologies and practices for helping miners escape safely in an emergency or, if trapped, to survive underground for the time needed for help to arrive. NIOSH has worked diligently to respond to these needs and to structure its mining research program to reflect the technological and demographic realities of mining in the 21st century. On average, workers’ risks for being injured, sickened, or killed on the job have declined significantly in the past 40 years. This progress reflects the hard work and determination of many partners, but as a construction crew might say in surveying the structure of a partially completed building, our job is not yet done. The challenges we face today are as great as those that we faced when we officially opened our doors for the first time as NIOSH in 1971. In some ways, they are even greater.

For all of our progress, many of the traditional hazards of the 20th century workplace still persist. Research remains vital for eliminating coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, silicosis, work-related hearing loss, motor vehicle fatalities on the job, lead poisoning, and other legacy problems. At the same time, new concerns demand our attention so that the mistakes that occurred too often in the last century are not repeated, such as the rush to use new technologies, materials, and practices without first understanding their implications for worker safety and health. Nanotechnology, work organization, and Safe Green Jobs are examples of those areas where NIOSH has established strategic research programs.

We also face the challenge and opportunity of helping to shape a new business paradigm for the 21st Century. In this model, the prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses is correctly counted as an asset to business rather than a cost. We are working closely with partners to develop this business case for safety and health, predicated on the fact that safe, healthy, and secure workplaces are efficient workplaces and integral to profitability and economic growth. Having an able and motivated workforce is critical to success in today’s environment, as the economy recovers, as high-quality jobs are created, as the public and private sectors develop strategies for containing healthcare costs, as the baby boomer generation begins to retire, as small businesses are nurtured, and as the workforce becomes more diverse.

Predictions are difficult, but I am confident that the investments we make now will pay great dividends for society over the coming years and decades and that the next 40 years will be as challenging and gratifying for NIOSH as the last 40 years were.

Register Now! NORA Symposium 2011

Registration is now open for the NORA Symposium 2011: Achieving Impact through Research and Partnerships to be held July 11–12 in Cincinnati OH.

New Resource Shows Risks of Japan Radiation Dispersal

A new NIOSH Web page provides information to help workers, employers, and occupational health professionals stay informed about ongoing federal activities to address the release of airborne contamination from the damaged Japanese power plant. The page will be updated as new information becomes available. /niosh/topics/radiation/

Abstracts Due Date Extended: Eliminating Health Disparities at Work

The deadline for abstracts for the NIOSH conference, Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work, has been extended to April 10. The conference, to be held in Chicago September 14–15, will bring together representatives from a variety of disciplines to understand the social, cultural, and economic factors that create and perpetuate occupational health disparities. For more information, go to /niosh/programs/ohd/ or contact Sherry Baron ( or Andrea Steege (

Occupational Safety and Health Workforce Assessment Update

A reminder to those who received an invitation to participate in NIOSH’s Occupational Safety and Health Workforce Assessment survey: NIOSH asks that you complete your online survey as soon as possible. If you have received an invitation and have questions, please contact 1-888-248-8330. The survey is designed to gain insights from private and public sector employers of occupational safety and health professionals and from providers of occupational safety and health training, regarding existing and available jobs for such professionals and for graduates of the nation’s training programs.

Building the New Construction Twitter Site

Tweet us if you need us! You can now follow the NIOSH Construction Program (@NIOSHConstruct) on Twitter at

Work Zone Awareness Week: Safer Work Zones for Everyone

an image of a traffic cone in the center of a street with framed pictures all aroudn it.

National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 4–8 with the theme “Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone.” Roadway work zones are hazardous for motorists and workers. Nationwide, road crews and their families need every driver to drive safely through every work zone by slowing down, obeying posted speed limits, focusing on the driving task, and exercising caution when driving. The following links provide information about Work Zone Awareness Week and work zone safety: /niosh/topics/highwayworkzones,,, and

New NIOSH Blog On Making Work Zones Safer

In honor of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, NIOSH focuses a blog discussion on the use of blind-area diagrams to prevent workers from being struck by construction equipment operating in work zones. NIOSH developed these diagrams as a research tool, but when industry stakeholders suggested that the blind-area diagrams could be a valuable training resource for the road construction industry, NIOSH developed the construction equipment visibility Web site (/niosh/topics/highwayworkzones/BAD/). Through the blog, NIOSH is interested in how awareness of equipment can be promoted, how the Web site is being used, and how knowledge of blind areas can make safer work zones for ground workers. /niosh/blog/

New Textbooks Feature Prevention through Design Techniques

Most graduating engineering students receive minimal training in occupational safety and health and have limited experience applying Prevention through Design (PtD) techniques to eliminate hazards and minimize risks to workers. To address these barriers, NIOSH is working with textbook publishers, editors, and authors to include PtD concepts and successful case studies into undergraduate engineering textbooks. The first three textbooks that include PtD have been published. These are A Brief Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, 5th Ed.; Water Supply and Wastewater Removal: Fair, Geyer, and Okun’s, Water and Wastewater Engineering, 3rd Ed.; and Waste Treatment in the Mining and Chemicals Manufacturing Industries. Several others textbooks are in development.

NIOSH Scientists Address New Hearing Protection Research

Leading experts from NIOSH contribute to this month’s special issue of Noise and Health on state-of-the-art research on hearing protection devices. Hearing protectors, such as earplugs, are used in hearing conservation programs to prevent work-related hearing loss where dangerous workplace noise exposures have not yet been controlled or eliminated.

Journal Features New Oil and Gas Extraction Training Video

The NIOSH Oil and Gas Extraction Program was featured in the March issue of Professional Safety, the peer-reviewed journal for the American Society of Safety Engineers. The article “Effective Training: A Case Study from the Oil and Gas Industry” discusses the development of the new training video called Move It! Rig Move Safety for Roughnecks, which is based on the occupational culture of oil and gas. The article is available at and free copies of the video can be ordered from NIOSH by contacting Ryan Hill at

Medscape References NIOSH Hazardous Drug Information

Medscape published an article by Tom Connor, NIOSH research biologist, on the occupational risks from antineoplastic drugs. The article is based on information from the NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings. /niosh/docs/2004-165/pdfs/2004-165.pdf

Does the Business Cycle Affect Nonfatal Workplace Injuries in the U.S.?

A recent NIOSH study published in the Journal of Safety Research identified cyclically sensitive sectors and explored potential mechanisms through which the business cycle affected the incidence of nonfatal workplace injuries across different sectors. The study findings highlighted the importance of considering the different mechanisms that affect injury in different sectors as the economy slows down or “heats up.”

Nano News

Nanotoxicology from a Pathologist Point of View

The cover story in the February issue of Toxicologic Pathology is an inside look at nanotoxicology from the unique perspective of a pathologist. While nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale to produce new structures, materials, and devices, nanotoxicology is the study of the health effects of those small particles on the workers who may be exposed to them. Researchers from NIOSH, West Virginia University, and Michigan State University coauthored this first scientific review of nanopathology.

New Nano Safety System Tested

NIOSH researchers recently evaluated the effectiveness of a portable HEPA-filter local exhaust ventilation system as a possible tool for controlling exposure to nanoparticles from metal oxides. The study showed that this particular system, in conjunction with good work practices, was successful in controlling nanoscale emissions during processes of this type. The full article on this is available in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health at

World Trade Center Health Program Updates

New Web Resource for WTC Program Updates

NIOSH has developed a new Web page to provide updates on the implementation activities for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which established a federal program to support health monitoring and treatment for emergency responders; recovery and cleanup workers; and New York City residents, building occupants, and area workers who were directly impacted and adversely affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To learn more about the Act and the activities occurring to implement the Act go to

Public Comments or Information Due April 29

Unique Web Site Allows 9–11 Responders to Share Their Stories

Remembering 9–11, An Oral History of Responders to the WTC Attack, is a Web site on which WTC responders and those who witnessed the effects of the WTC disaster can tell their personal stories. The site was started by Dr. Benjamin Luft, director of the Long Island World Trade Center Program. Dr. Luft explains that the site provides a forum to learn about the human impacts from those who experienced it firsthand and a place for reflection and thoughtful discussion. He also hopes it can provide insight for developing future emergency response efforts: “remembering 9/11 documents information that the medical charts leave out, the humanity beyond the statistics.” To view the stories or if have a related story to share, visit the Web site

NIOSH Congratulates

Duane Hammond, CDC Engineer of the Year

On February 24, LCDR Duane Hammond of the U.S. Public Health Service received the 2011 CDC Engineer of the Year Award from Chief Engineer RADM Sven Rodenbeck at the Public Health Service Engineers Award Break¬fast in Silver Spring, Maryland. Duane is a mechanical engineer with NIOSH. Deputy Surgeon General RADM Boris D. Lushniak served as the guest speaker for the award ceremony.

Cheryl Estill Appointed to Maritime Advisory Committee

Cheryl F. Estill, MS, PE, a NIOSH industrial hygiene supervisor, was one of 15 new members selected by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to serve on the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. More information on the committee can be found at

Federal Register Notices

For a listing of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices for 2011 go to /niosh/fedreg.html.

Global Happenings

Collaborating Centre Connection

The March 2011 quarterly newsletter featuring the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health, of which NIOSH is co-chair, is available for view and free subscription at /niosh/ccc/default.html. The Network includes 74 government, research, and academic institutions from 40 countries and as well as three nongovernmental organizations (ICOH, IOHA and IEA).

Inclusion of Young Workers in WHO Executive Board Resolution

Carlos Aristeguieta, NIOSH medical officer, served in Haiti February 14–March 13 to assist with the response to the cholera outbreak. Carlos was assigned to the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization’s North-Northeast Alert and Response Team, based in Cap-Haitien. His activities focused on improving cholera surveillance, investigating a reported case of cholera-associated acute flaccid paralysis, and planning for cholera community brigades. Carlos noted that the Ministry of Health and PAHO/WHO had issued recommendations to prevent the spread of cholera through commercial sewage removal companies. Attention is also being given to addressing pit latrines, used by the majority of the country. Pit latrines, when full, are manually emptied by informal laborers called ‘bayacous’ who are particularly hard to reach for targeted prevention messages.

News from Our Partners

Novel Training Tools to Prevent Injuries in the Trucking Industry

Innovative occupational injury prevention training tools grab the attention of workers and employers. Hearing this need from a Washington State steering committee, NIOSH funded the Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis through Surveillance (TIRES) project. TIRES staff developed two computer-based simulations to demonstrate the risks for injury associated with common work activities in trucking. The simulations address injuries from exiting the truck cab and trailer ( and slip, trips and falls on working surfaces ( These training simulations are available at Pdfs and PowerPoint files are available for classroom training.

“Like” the NIOSH Southwest Ag Center on Facebook

Join the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education on Facebook to receive current postings and updates.

New Health Hazard Evaluation Reports Now Available

HHE logo

Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Child Care Center Employees on Flu Vaccination

Investigators from the HHE Program were asked to examine rates of 2009 pandemic influenza A (pH1N1) and seasonal influenza vaccination among employees at licensed child care centers. Investigators found low rates of pH1N1 vaccination (12%) and seasonal influenza vaccination (25%) among employees. The most common reasons for not getting either vaccine were beliefs that employees did not need the vaccine, that the vaccine did not work, and that the vaccine was not safe. Investigators recommended that child care center employers and directors educate employees about the flu, focusing on employees’ risk of infection, the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, and their responsibility to get vaccinated as part of a strategic infection-control program. /niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2010-0025-3121.pdf

Evaluation of Contact Dermatitis Among Ink Ribbon Manufacturing Employees

HHE Program investigators evaluated ink ribbon production employees’ dermatitis, thought to be related to exposures to ink ingredients or mixtures used in the manufacturing facility. Investigators found that some employees were using gloves that did not protect them from certain solvents and that one ink ingredient, one ink mixture, and one brand of hand wipes at the facility were skin allergens. Eighteen of 22 interviewed employees had dermatitis during one of the site visits; none of the employees tested had allergic skin reactions to workplace substances. Investigators recommended that chemicals found to cause skin allergies be replaced with ones that do not and that employees use the correct gloves for the work they are doing, wear gloves as directed, and use good skin cleaning and moisturizing practices. /niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2007-0261-3122.pdf


Speakers Wanted: NORA Symposium 2011

The NORA 2011 Symposium program committee is seeking individuals from university occupational safety and health training or research programs and from NIOSH-funded centers to make a brief presentation at the symposium. The 2011 Symposium is focused on achieving impact through partnerships thus presentations should highlight the accomplishments of a program’s partnership-based transfer/translation activity or a community- or workplace-based activity that has led to a positive impact on the health and safety of a group of workers. Please contact to discuss being a presenter in a plenary session.

NORA Sector Partners Develop Cleaning Workers Research Database

The Southern California Education and Research Center at the University of California-Los Angeles and University of California-Irvine collaborated with members of the NORA Services Sector Council and NIOSH staff to develop the Cleaning Workers Research Database. Annotated citations of previously completed studies can be searched by health outcome, occupational demographics, hazard class, and a number of other characteristics. The data set will be regularly updated. The database is available at

NORA Research and Partnering Awards Nominations Due May 18

The NORA Liaison Committee and NIOSH are accepting nominations through May 18 for two prestigious worker health and safety awards to be presented at the 2011 NORA Symposium, to be held in Cincinnati, OH, on July 12 and 13. More information is available at

r2p Corner

r2p logo

Stay in Touch with NIOSH Through its Varied Social Media Sites

NIOSH is an active participant in many social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, a Science Blog, Youtube and Flickr. Each platform communicates current occupational safety and health information to varied target audiences. Currently, NIOSH has a total of more than 99,000 followers of its five Twitter sites, which are primarily tailored to specific industry groups; a Facebook page with over 7,000 likes that provides information about worker safety and health activities; a MySpace page dedicated to reaching firefighters; and a Blog to discuss current research findings. NIOSH also maintains YouTube and Flickr accounts as platforms for disseminating videos and photos related to worker safety and health. To stay in touch with NIOSH through its social media sites, visit

What’s new on the NIOSH Science Blog?

Construction Equipment Visibility


Tales of Toil—Occupational Safety in Literature


Does the NIOSH Science Blog Improve Communication


New Web Resources

Seasonal Influenza (Flu) in the Workplace


Radiation Dispersal from Japan


World Trade Center (WTC) Program Updates


New Communication Products

A Story of Impact: Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks

Identifies successful strategies to reducing childhood agricultural injuries. /niosh/docs/2011-129/.

Spirometry Resources

OSHA and NIOSH release two fact sheets on spirometry breathing tests (/niosh/docs/2011-132/) and on spirometry screening and surveillance resources (/niosh/docs/2011-133/).

Asbestos Roadmap

Provides a research framework to address scientific uncertainties for asbestos and other elongate mineral particles to provide information that will allow NIOSH to update its REL. /niosh/docs/2011-159/

Free Software for Viewing Digital Chest Radiography

NIOSH BViewer© Software enables viewing of digital chest radiography images and is available free of charge for downloading. /niosh/topics/chestradiography/digital-images.html


To see other new NIOSH communication products, including documents and topic pages, go to the NIOSH “What’s New” page. /niosh/whatsnew/

Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

Retail Leaders Industry Association (RILA), Loss Prevention, Auditing and Safety Conference—Look for us! Booth #126
April 11–14, Orlando FL

The Ohio Innovation Summit—Look for us!
April 19–20, Toledo OH

AAOHN 2011 National Conference: Health and Safety of Workers at Home and Around the World —Look for us! Booth #641
April 29–May 5, Atlanta, GA

Fire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Symposium
May 2–4, Charlotte, NC

Health Literacy = Effective Communication: Translating Ideas Into Practice
May 4–6, Irvine, CA

American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo (AIHce)—Look for us! Booth #849
May 14–19, Portland, OR

Work, Stress, and Health 2011: Work and Well-Being in an Economic Context
May 19-22, Orlando FL

NORA Symposium 2011: Achieving Impact Through Research and Partnerships
July 12-13, Cincinnati, Ohio

The American Society of Safety Engineers, Safety 2011 Exposition—Look for us!
June 12–15, Chicago, IL

5th International Conference on Nanotechnology Occupational and Environmental Health
August 9-12, Boston, MA

Prevention Through Design Conference—A New Way of Doing Business: A Report on the National Initiative
August 22–24, Washington, DC

CIB W099 Prevention: Means to the End of Construction Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
August 24–26, Washington, D.C.

NORA Manufacturing Sector Conference: Partnerships to Improve Occupational Safety and Health
September 7–8, Cincinnati, OH

Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work
September 14–15, Chicago, IL

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)
October 18-20, Morgantown, WV

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at /niosh/exhibits.html.

Word of the Month

Blind-area diagrams— these diagrams (as shown below) are detailed diagrams that assist workers in visualizing the areas around various construction vehicles and equipment that are unable to be seen from the operator’s position.

example of a blind-area diagram

Please send your comments and suggestions to us at

This newsletter is published monthly via email by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to inform members of the public health community as well as interested members of the general public of Institute related news, new publications, and updates on existing programs and initiatives.