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Draft Current Intelligence Bulletin: Update of NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and Target Risk Level Policy for Chemical Hazards in the Workplace

November 2013
NIOSH Docket Number 240-A, CDC-2013-0023

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces a public meeting concerning public review and discussion of a draft document entitled "Current Intelligence Bulletin: Update of NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and Target Risk Level Policy for Chemical Hazards in the Workplace" published in the Federal Register. The purposes of this meeting are to provide a forum for discussion about the draft document, to request feedback and comments, and to allow stakeholders to make presentations to NIOSH.

The public meeting will be held at the Surface Transportation Board Hearing Room, Patriots Plaza One, 395 E Street SW, 1st Floor, Room 120, Washington, DC 20201. The public meeting will be held on December 16, 2013, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Eastern Time, or after the last public commenter has spoken, whichever occurs first.

To view the notice and related materials, visit and enter CDC-2013-0023 in the search field and click "Search."

Federal Register Notice:

Federal Register Notice: 68849

Background Information:
2013 Public Meeting Information

Public Comment Period

Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. EST on February 13, 2014.

Written comments, identified by CDC-2013-0023 and docket number NIOSH 240-A, may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Federal rulemaking portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number [CDC-2013-0023; NIOSH 240-A]. All relevant comments, including any personal information provided, will be posted without change to

  • Mail: NIOSH Docket Office
    Robert A. Taft Laboratories
    4676 Columbia Parkway
    Cincinnati, OH 45226

Supplementary Information

Attendance: The meeting is open to the public, limited only by the capacity (150) of the conference room. Registration will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis. Participants are encouraged to consider remote participation through live meeting. Registration by December 3, 2013 is required for both attendance in person and live meeting participation. Registration for both options is available on the NIOSH website.

Non-U.S. citizens, attending in person, need to register on or before November 22, 2013, to allow sufficient time for mandatory CDC facility security clearance procedures to be completed. An e-mail confirming registration will be sent from NIOSH to all participants. Government-issued photo identification is required to obtain entrance to the NIOSH location.

Background: This draft NIOSH document provides an update of the NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and relevant Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) policies. The proposed update of policies is prompted by comments from the public and stakeholders and recent developments in how the carcinogenic risk to substances is assessed. NIOSH stakeholders have recently expressed concerns about limitations in the NIOSH approach to classifying and controlling carcinogens. A major limitation identified is use of the term "Potential Occupational Carcinogen" which dates to the OSHA hazard classification for carcinogens outlined in 29 CFR 1990.103 (see below). The adjective "potential" conveys uncertainty that is not warranted with many carcinogens such as asbestos, benzene, and others.

Further, the existing NIOSH carcinogen policy does not allow for classification on the basis of the magnitude and sufficiency of the scientific evidence. In contrast, other organizations such as the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have differential classification systems with categories that reflect the weight of scientific evidence.

Coincident with NIOSH recognition of this language limitation was international recognition of the need for more efficient and faster classification of substances and the consideration of alternative substances that are less toxic and more environmentally sustainable.

In August 2011, NIOSH published in the Federal Register its intent to review and request for information regarding its approach to classifying carcinogens and establishing recommended exposure limits for occupational exposures to hazards associated with cancer. The initial comment period of September 22, 2011 was subsequently extended until December 30, 2011. On December 12, 2011, a public meeting was held at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, DC to engage stakeholders and members of the public in discussions of the relevant issues pertaining to the NIOSH assessment. Input received from the public and stakeholders during this process was considered and is reflected in the draft document now available for public review. To view this docket's previous information go to:


T.J. Lentz, telephone (513) 533-8260, or
Faye Rice, telephone (513) 533-8335,
Robert A. Taft Laboratories,
4676 Columbia Parkway,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226.

  • Page last reviewed: February 10, 2014
  • Page last updated: February 10, 2014
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