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Notice to Readers NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin 54: Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace; Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin 54: Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace; Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects (1).* Current Intelligence Bulletins (CIBs) provide new data or update existing information about chemical substances, physical agents, or safety hazards found in the workplace.

CIB 54 presents information about the potential risk for cancer to workers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Since 1964, when the Surgeon General issued the first report on smoking and health, research on the toxicity and carcinogenicity of tobacco smoke has demonstrated that the health risk from inhaling tobacco smoke is not limited to smokers, but also includes nonsmokers who inhale ETS. ETS contains many of the toxic agents and carcinogens that are present in mainstream smoke, but in diluted form. Recent epidemiologic studies support and reinforce earlier published reviews by the Surgeon General and the National Research Council that demonstrate that exposure to ETS can cause lung cancer. These reviews estimated the relative risk of lung cancer to be approximately 1.3 for a nonsmoker living with a smoker compared with a nonsmoker living with a nonsmoker. In addition, recent evidence also suggests a possible association between exposure to ETS and an increased risk for heart disease in nonsmokers.

Although these data were not gathered in an occupational setting, ETS meets the criteria of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for classification as a potential occupational carcinogen.** NIOSH therefore considers ETS to be a potential occupational carcinogen and recommends that exposures be reduced to the lowest feasible concentration. The risk for developing cancer should be decreased by minimizing exposure to ETS. Employers should minimize occupational exposure to ETS by using all available preventive measures. Reported by: Div of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.

Reference

  1. NIOSH. Current intelligence bulletin #54: environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace; lung cancer and other health effects. Cincinnati, Ohio: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1991; DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)91-108.

*Single copies are available without charge from the Publications Dissemination Section, Division of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, NIOSH, CDC, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226; telephone (513) 533-8287.

**29 CFR 1990.

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML documents published before January 1993 are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to mmwrq@cdc.gov.

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