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Occupational Noise Exposure


June 1998
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 98-126
cover of 98-126

In the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-596), Congress declared that its purpose was to assure, so far as possible, safe and healthful working conditions for every working man and woman and to preserve our human resources. In this Act, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is charged with recommending occupational safety and health standards and describing exposure concentrations that are safe for various periods of employment—including but not limited to concentrations at which no worker will suffer diminished health, functional capacity, or life expectancy as a result of his or her work experience. By means of criteria documents, NIOSH communicates these recommended standards to regulatory agencies (including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA]) and to others in the occupational safety and health community.

Criteria documents provide the scientific basis for new occupational safety and health standards. These documents generally contain a critical review of the scientific and technical information available on the prevalence of hazards, the existence of safety and health risks, and the adequacy of control methods. In addition to transmitting these documents to the Department of Labor, NIOSH also distributes them to health professionals in academic institutions, industry, organized labor, public interest groups, and other government agencies.