NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
9278115 - Health Effects of Asphalt Exposure: Development of a RELStart Date: 10/1/1997
End Date: 9/30/2012
Principal Investigator (PI)Name: Thomas Lentz
Funded By: NIOSH
Primary Goal Addressed5.0
Secondary Goal AddressedNone
Attributed to Manufacturing100%
In 2001, NIOSH published a Hazard Review Document on occupational exposure to asphalt and concluded that a risk for respiratory disease and possibly lung cancer might exist for workers exposed to asphalt fumes at the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). The purpose of this project is to determine whether recent scientific evidence supports the need to develop new recommendations to prevent adverse health effects in workers exposed to asphalt fume. If warranted, recommendations will be developed that include a REL and other prevention strategies (e.g., engineering controls, respirators, medical monitoring).
Information published in the 2001 NIOSH Hazard Review Document indicated that acute and possibly chronic respiratory disease existed at the NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) of 5 mg/m3 total particulate (15-minute sample). Exposure assessment and medical evaluation studies of highway asphalt pavers have been conducted by DSHEFS to determine whether a relationship exists between asphalt fume exposure and acute respiratory effects. Following completion of data analysis and publication of the study results, a determination will be made in concert with staff from DSHEFS as to the appropriateness of the results for deriving a REL for asphalt fume. If sufficient scientific evidence exists, a NIOSH criteria document update on asphalt will be initiated. This document will include recommendations for: a REL, medical surveillance, exposure monitoring, personal protective equipment, engineering controls, and work practices. Continued collaboration will be maintained with these associations and organizations to ensure that all relevant scientific and technical information is considered should the development of a criteria document be undertaken.
Project objectives include:
This project will determine the scientific documentation necessary to provide recommendations for preventing acute and chronic respiratory disease in workers exposed to asphalt during paving, roofing, and the manufacture of asphalt roofing products. Nationwide 300,000 workers are involved in the application of asphalt paving materials and 46,000 workers apply hot roofing materials. These workers include laborers, operating engineers, roofers, and waterproofers. This project focuses on the implementation of NIOSH Program Portfolio priorities of characterizing mixed exposures and providing authoritative recommendations. Recommendations developed from this project can be used by safety and health professionals, and persons responsible for establishing guidelines, programs, or standards on occupational exposure to asphalt.