NIOSH Thanks National Academies Panel for Review & Report on NIOSH Roadmap for Research on Asbestos Fibers & Other Elongate Mineral Particles


NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser, (202) 245-0645
October 29, 2009

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) today thanked a prestigious committee of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council for the committee’s report, “A Review of the NIOSH Roadmap for Research on Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongate Mineral Particles.” The Institute of Medicine released the report and a report brief today. The report and brief are available at www.nap.eduexternal icon.

The review committee found that, “NIOSH has put together a comprehensive and broad-based research Roadmap” that “brings together a substantial amount of information and a wealth of ideas on future directions for research.”

The committee reviewed NIOSH’s draft “Current Intelligence Bulletin: Asbestos Fibers and Other Elongated Mineral Particles: State of the Science and Roadmap for Research.” The NIOSH draft document summarizes NIOSH’s understanding of occupational exposure and toxicity issues concerning asbestos fibers and other elongate mineral particles. The draft document suggests strategic research for addressing scientific uncertainties about those occupational exposure and toxicity issues. NIOSH has invited extensive public review and comment since the draft Roadmap was presented initially in 2007 and revised in 2008 on the basis of public comment and scientific peer review at that time.

The independent committee pointed out that the draft Roadmap “could be improved through implementing a systematic and interdisciplinary approach to the outlined research.” The committee expressed a view “that a more systematic and tiered approach to the research agenda will allow research to be conducted in a manner that will answer questions about which physical and chemical characteristics of elongate mineral particles are considered primary determinants of toxicity to humans, thus allowing identification of specific types of mineral particles that would be of concern to human health.”

The review committee’s report makes eight major recommendations to improve the Roadmap: 1) Clarify the vision and rationale for the research program outlined in the draft Roadmap; 2) Include key components of vision, rationale, goals, and framework; 3) Improve terminology; 4) Strengthen the emphasis on mineralogical research; 5) Work with other federal agencies and organizations to develop a reference mineral repository; 6) Emphasize interdisciplinary efforts; 7) Develop a systematic strategy for the toxicological assessment of elongate mineral particles; and 8) Emphasize additional research areas. Looking beyond the Roadmap, the committee’s report also urges NIOSH to continue its work with other agencies, private-sector organizations, and non-profits “with a focus on developing a research strategy that details the resources, priorities responsibilities, and commitments needed to accomplish and evaluate the research effort.”

“NIOSH appreciates the work of the independent scientific committee and the staff of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, who contributed to the committee’s detailed and thoughtful review,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Given the complexity of the scientific issues addressed by the Roadmap, it was important for NIOSH to engage expert outside analysis. We will closely review the committee’s findings and recommendations, and incorporate them into a revised draft document for public comment before the document is finalized.”

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. More information on NIOSH can be found at

Page last reviewed: August 6, 2012