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NIOSH Welcomes Respiratory Disease Research Review from National Academies’ Panel


NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Bowles (202) 245-0633
March 11, 2008

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) welcomes the new report, released March 5, on the findings and recommendations from a review of respiratory disease research at NIOSH by a committee of the National Academies. Done at NIOSH’s request, the independent scientific review committee examined NIOSH’s strategic research program in the area of preventing and reducing prevalence of respiratory diseases.

The review committee assessed the research program’s scientific soundness, relevance to workplace problems, its impact in reducing those problems, and its capacity to deal with emerging issues. The 162-page report presents the results of the public review that was begun in late 2006. It included a positive assessment of many of the programs efforts, noting that the work of the program is highly relevant to improvements in workplace protection and has made major contributions to worker safety and health.

The National Academies report, “Respiratory Disease Research at NIOSH,” is available at This is one of nine such reviews that the National Academies conducted, at NIOSH’s request, to examine NIOSH strategic research in various program areas.

“Work-related respiratory diseases are a major cause of health problems among workers and NIOSH is dedicated to addressing this issue,” NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. said. “For this reason, we are looking forward to reviewing the findings and recommendations from the committee and working with our partners and stakeholders to improve our respiratory disease research program by incorporating the committee’s work into our program planning. We extend our thanks the distinguished committee members, the National Academies’ staff, and NIOSH staff for their diligent work in conducting this ambitious project.”
In addition to assessing the program’s scientific soundness, relevance, and impact, the report also has recommendations for improvement and for future directions, including “continued support of research on the development and improvement of methods to detect respiratory effects earlier and more accurately, continued research on the molecular mechanisms driving the pathogenesis of workplace respiratory diseases, the characterization of those agents (or attributes of those agents) responsible for adverse respiratory effects, evaluations of genetic variability that affects worker susceptibility, and research on improving respirator technology.”

NIOSH asked the National Academies to conduct the public reviews in order to increase the transparency of NIOSH’s programs, and to help assure that the programs are based on high-quality, relevant, results-oriented science. Further information about the reviews, including evidence packages, committee reports, and other documentation, can be found at