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NIOSH Update:

NIOSH Seeks Comment on Draft Asbestos Research Roadmap

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
February 28, 2007

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) today issued for public comment a draft research strategy document on asbestos and other mineral fibers. The draft suggests avenues of new research to answer current scientific questions about occupational exposure and toxicity issues relating to asbestos and other mineral fibers; reduce current scientific uncertainties in those areas; and provide a sound scientific foundation for future policy development.

The draft document, “Asbestos and Other Mineral Fibers: A Roadmap for Scientific Research,” is posted on the NIOSH web page at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/review/public/099/. It was developed by a working group of NIOSH scientists and engineers with combined experience in toxicology, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, analytical chemistry, and other disciplines that are essential for identifying, understanding, and addressing occupational health concerns related to asbestos and other mineral fibers.

While many advances were made in the scientific understanding of occupational health effects from asbestos and other mineral fibers in the mid- and late-20th Century, many questions and areas of scientific uncertainty remain. The draft research roadmap represents a current reappraisal of the areas of research needed to answer those questions and provide a sound scientific foundation for future policy development to prevent asbestos-related occupational illnesses. It also reflects NIOSH’s desire to work with diverse partners in designing, conducting, and supporting collaborative research to fulfill those scientific needs.

“Uncertainty is never desirable when human health is at issue,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “By posting the draft roadmap for scientific research, we seek to stimulate a public dialogue that will define the pressing scientific questions about asbestos and other mineral fibers, identify new scientific advancements that may be brought to bear on those questions, and lay out the research most likely to bring certainty out of uncertainty.”

Potential research goals and objectives suggested by the draft document for public comment include:

  • Development of improved sampling and analytical methods for asbestos and other mineral fibers;
  • Development of information and knowledge on occupational exposures to asbestos and other mineral fibers and fiber-like cleavage fragments, and the health outcomes of those exposures; and
  • Development of a broader understanding of the important determinants of toxicity for fibers and fiber-like cleavage fragments.

The draft roadmap reflects NIOSH’s continuing leadership in research and recommendations to prevent illness and death from occupational exposures to asbestos and other mineral fibers. Further information and resources are available on the NIOSH asbestos topic page at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/asbestos/. For more information about other areas of NIOSH research and recommendations to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths, call toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) or visit the NIOSH web page at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/.


 

 
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