Asbestos with a penny to show the size

Asbestos with a penny to show the size

“Asbestos” is a commercial name, not a mineralogical definition, given to a variety of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. These minerals possess high tensile strength, flexibility, resistance to chemical and thermal degradation, and electrical resistance. These minerals have been used for decades in thousands of commercial products, such as insulation and fireproofing materials, automotive brakes and textile products, and cement and wallboard materials.

When handled, asbestos can separate into microscopic-size particles that remain in the air and are easily inhaled. Persons occupationally exposed to asbestos have developed several types of life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although the use of asbestos and asbestos products has dramatically decreased in recent years, they are still found in many residential and commercial settings and continue to pose a health risk to workers and others.

Asbestos Resources

Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongate Mineral Particles: State of the Science and Roadmap for Research
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2011-159 (March 2011)
This document is intended as one step in the process. NIOSH intends to pursue partnerships with other federal agencies and stakeholders to help focus the scope of the research that can contribute to the scientific understanding of asbestos and other mineral fibers, to fund and conduct the research activities, and to develop and disseminate educational materials describing results from the mineral fiber research and their implications for occupational and public health policies and practices.

Draft Document for Public Review and Comment: Asbestos and Other Mineral Fibers: A Roadmap for Scientific Research(
This NIOSH Docket Archive contains all draft versions, comments on the draft documents and NIOSH responses and other materials that contributed to the development of the final publication.

NIOSH Recommendations for Limiting Potential Exposures of Workers to Asbestos Associated with Vermiculite from Libby, Montana
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2003-141 (2003)
Fact Sheet describes Vermiculite and Asbestos, and provides recommendations to prevent occupational exposures.

Asbestos Bibliography (Revised)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-162 (1997)
Compendium of NIOSH research and recommendations on asbestos. It updates and supersedes the NIOSH document Asbestos Publications from June 1992.

Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-123 (January 1981)
Guidelines summarize pertinent information about chemical hazards for workers, employers, and occupational safety and health professionals.

Specific Medical Tests for OSHA Regulated Substances: Asbestos

Control of Asbestos Exposure During Brake Drum Service(
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 89-121 (1989)
Presents recommendations for engineering controls and work practices to reduce exposure to asbestos during brake maintenance operations, more…

Workplace Exposure to Asbestos: Review and Recommendations: NIOSH/OSHA Asbestos Work Group Recommendations
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-103 (1980)
PDF only 2285 KB (41 pages)
Includes information about sampling and analysis of airborne asbestos, biologic effects of exposure, recommended occupational standards, more…

Current Intelligence Bulletin #31: Adverse Health Effects of Smoking and the Occupational Environment(
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No 79-122 (1979)
Identifies six ways in which smoking can interact with workplace exposures, including asbestos.

Revised Recommended Asbestos Standard
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 77-169 (1976)
Review of information on the health effects of exposure to asbestos.

Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Asbestos
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 72-10267 (1972)
Presents the criteria and standards for preventing occupational diseases arising from exposure to asbestos dust.

NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), 4th edition
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-113 (1994)
NMAM is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed. These methods have been developed or adapted by NIOSH or its partners and have been evaluated according to established experimental protocols and performance criteria. NMAM also includes chapters on quality assurance, sampling, portable instrumentation, etc.

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-140
Exposure limits, Respirator Recommendations, First Aid, more…
The Pocket Guide is a source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes found in the work environment. Key data provided for each chemical/substance includes name (including synonyms/trade names), structure/formula, CAS/RTECS Numbers, DOT ID, conversion factors, exposure limits, IDLH, chemical and physical properties, measurement methods, personal protection, respirator recommendations, symptoms, and first aid.

An Evaluation of Glove Bag Containment in Asbestos Removal
NIOSH Publication No. 90-119 (1990)
Examines the effectiveness of the glove bag control method to prevent asbestos emissions during the removal of asbestos-containing pipe lagging.

Protecting Workers’ Families: A Research Agenda: Report of the Workers’ Family Protection Task Force
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-113 (2002)
Represents the Task Force’s commentary on the 1995 NIOSH Workers’ Home Contamination Study report, identifies gaps in the current knowledge about take-home exposures and related health effects, and provides a prioritized agenda for Federally sponsored research.

Protect Your Family: Reduce Contamination at Home
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-125 (1997)
This report summarizes a NIOSH conducted a study of contamination of workers’ homes by hazardous substances transported from the workplace.

Report to Congress on Workers’ Home Contamination Study Conducted Under the Workers’ Family Protection Act (29 U.S.C. 671A)
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-123 (September 1995)—Summary
This report to Congress and the Workers’ Family Protection Task Force summarizes incidents of home contamination, including the health consequences, sources, and levels of contamination.

Through the NIOSH Worker Notification Program , NIOSH notifies workers and other stakeholders about the findings of past research studies related to a wide variety of exposures. The link below presents archival materials sent to participants in a study at an asbestos textile, friction, and packing plant who were exposed to asbestos.

Occupational Respiratory Disease Surveillance (ORDS)
NIOSH Topic Page about occupational respiratory disease medical screening and monitoring.

Atlas of Respiratory Disease Mortality, United States: 1982-1993
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-157 (1998)
This report presents maps showing geographic distributions (by health service area) of mortality associated with selected respiratory conditions that together represent nearly all respiratory diseases. For categories of traditional occupational lung diseases mapped in this atlas (i.e., the pneumoconioses, including coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, silicosis, byssinosis, and other and unspecified pneumoconioses), nearly all cases are attributable to hazardous occupational exposure.

Worker Health Chartbook, 2000
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2000-127 (2000)
The Worker Health Chartbook presents data and charts that characterize types of injuries and illnesses by gender, race, industry, and occupation. In May 2002, sections of the Chartbook were re-packaged in booklets highlighting fatal and nonfatal illnesses and injuries as well as a focus on mining.

Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report 2002
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-111 (2002)
The sixth of a series, the Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance Report 2002 provides information on various work-related respiratory diseases and associated exposures in the United States. The WoRLD Surveillance Report 2002 describes where these diseases are occurring (by industry and geographic location), who is affected (by race, gender, age, and occupation), how frequently they occur, and temporal trends.

Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report 1999
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2000-105 (1999)
This surveillance report presents summary tables and figures of occupational respiratory disease surveillance data focusing on various occupationally-relevant respiratory diseases, including pneumoconioses, occupational asthma and other airway diseases, and several other respiratory conditions. For many of these diseases, selected data on related exposures are also presented.

Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report 1996
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-134 (1996)
This 1996 surveillance report provides national and state-specific summaries of occupational respiratory disease surveillance data focusing on pneumoconiosis mortality. Selected occupational respiratory hazard sampling data relevant to pneumoconiosis are also presented.

Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report 1994
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 94-120 (1994)
The 1994 Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report (WoRLD) provides a summary of surveillance data for various occupational respiratory diseases from a variety of sources. The majority of the data in this report is for the time period 1968-1990.

Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report Supplement 1992
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 91-113s (1992)
Supplement to the first Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report (WoRLD) which presents updated data and data which was previously unpresented including sex, race, geographic distribution, industry and occupation; number of discharges with silicosis or asbestosis from the National Hospital Discharge Survey; and reports of occupational asthma and silicosis from the SENSOR program.

Work Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 91-113 (1991)
First of a series, this report represents a summary of data for various occupational respiratory diseases divided into figures and tables.

NIOSH B-Reader Program
NIOSH B-Reader approval is granted to physicians who demonstrate proficiency in the classification of chest x-rays for the pneumoconioses using the International Labour Office (ILO) Classification System.


NIOSHTIC-2 Search Results on Asbestos
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.

Page last reviewed: March 16, 2012