Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer

Publication of NIOH and NIOSH Basis for an Occupational Health Standard. Acrylamide: A Review of the Literature

As part of an agreement with the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) in Solna, Sweden, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) develops documents to provide the scientific basis for establishing recommended occupational exposure limits. One such document, NIOH and NIOSH Basis for an Occupational Health Standard. Acrylamide: A Review of the Literature (1), was recently released. *

Acrylamide is an odorless, white, crystalline solid used as a monomer or as a raw material in the production of polyacrylamides. Workers potentially exposed to acrylamide monomer are employed in acrylamide manufacturing and processing, grouting operations, and research and analytical laboratories.

More than 10,000 U.S. workers were potentially exposed to acrylamide monomer during 1981-1983, either in acrylamide manufacturing and processing or in grouting operations (particularly in sewer grouting) (CDC, National Occupational Exposure Survey, 1981-1983). An additional 100,000-200,000 U.S. workers are researchers and technicians involved in the preparation of polyacrylamide gels (2).

Only the acrylamide monomer is toxic; polyacrylamide products are generally considered nontoxic. Acrylamide monomer may be neurotoxic, carcinogenic, genotoxic, and hazardous to reproduction. Acrylamide exposures cause cancer and reproductive effects in animals, but epidemiologic studies have not demonstrated these effects in humans.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's current occupational exposure limit for acrylamide is 0.03 mg/m3. Standards for other countries are included in the document's appendix.


  1. NIOSH. NIOH and NIOSH basis for an occupational health standard. Acrylamide: a review of the literature. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1991;DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)91-115.

  2. Environmental Protection Agency. Preliminary assessment of health risks from exposure to acrylamide. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Toxic Substances, 1988.

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

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

Page converted: 08/05/98


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A


Department of Health
and Human Services

This page last reviewed 5/2/01