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Setting Risk-Based Occupational Exposure Limits for Non-Threshold Carcinogens
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3799-4814
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0071-3919
2014 (English)In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 20, no 5, 1329-1344 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several regulators have recently issued so-called risk-based occupational exposure limits for carcinogenic substances, and also reported estimates of the risk of fatality that exposure to the limit value would give rise to. This practice provides an opportunity to study how differences in the exposure limits set by different regulators are influenced by differences in the scientific judgment (what is the risk at different levels?) and in the policy judgment (how should large risks be accepted?). Based on a broad search, a list was compiled of exposure limits for carcinogens that the respective regulator associates with a numerical risk estimate. For benzene, such data was available from six regulators. The differences in estimates of the risk/exposure relationship and in risk tolerance were about equal in size for benzene, while the range for acceptability was somewhat wider. A similar pattern was observed, although less clearly, for substances with data from only two or three regulators. It is concluded that the science factor and the policy factor both contribute to differences in exposure limits for carcinogens. It was not possible to judge which of these two factors has the larger influence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 20, no 5, 1329-1344 p.
Keyword [en]
science-policy relation, carcinogens, occupational exposure limits, acceptable risk, scientific uncertainty, chemicals regulation
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-127265DOI: 10.1080/10807039.2013.842733ISI: 000333948700013Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84897900701OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-127265DiVA: diva2:643765
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Note

QC 20140509

Available from: 2013-08-28 Created: 2013-08-28 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Regulatory tools for managing chemicals risk at the workplace
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Regulatory tools for managing chemicals risk at the workplace
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on exacerbating chemicals risk in workplaces under the background of rapid industrialization in developing countries. The overall aim is to investigate the development of regulatory tools which aim at minimizing the health risks from chemical substances in the workplace. The contents of the thesis are divided into three sections: the profile of occupational diseases in China (paper I), occupational exposure limits (paper II and III), and comparison between chemicals regulat ions in Europe and China (paper IV).

Paper I presents an analysis of the development of occupational diseases in China between 2000 and 2010. The number of recorded cases of occupational diseases increased rapidly in China during this period and the majority of cases were attributable to dust and other chemicals exposures. Difficulties in diagnosis and inefficient surveillance are major impediments to the proper identification and mitigation of occupational diseases. Migrant workers are extremely vulnerable to occupational hazards.

Paper II investigates the state of harmonization of OELs between twenty-five OEL systems in Europe and Asia. The majority of the investigated organizations declare themselves to have been influenced by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), and in many cases this can be empirically confirmed. However, large international differences still exist in substance selection and in the level of OELs among organizations.

Paper III explores the setting of risk-based OELs on non-threshold carcinogens. Relatively few agencies set risk-based OELs. Differences exist in policy, both regarding the magnitude of risk considered as tolerable or acceptable and whether a general risk level or case-by-case substance-specific risk levels are determined. In regards to the level of the OELs both differences in science and policy contribute, and it was not possible to determine which has the larger influence.

Paper III explores the setting of risk-based OELs on non-threshold carcinogens. Relatively few agencies set risk-based OELs. Differences exist in policy, both regarding the magnitude of risk considered as tolerable or acceptable and whether a general risk level or case-by-case substance-specific risk levels are determined. In regards to the level of the OELs both differences in science and policy contribute, and it was not possible to determine which has the larger influence.

Paper IV systematically compares the regulation systems for chemicals in the EU and China in terms of substances covered, requirement on information, risk assessment and risk management. It shows that the European and Chinese chemicals legislations are remarkably similar.The differences are larger in terms of substance coverage and data requirements than in terms of risk assessment and management. Substitution of hazardous substances is driven more by updates of the EU regulatory system than of the Chinese system.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. x, 38 p.
Series
Theses in Risk and Safety from the Division of Philosophy at the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1654-627X ; 10
Keyword
Occupational Diseases, Chemicals, Carcinogens, Risk Management, Regulatory Toxicology, Occupational Exposure Limits, Chemicals Legislations, Risk Assessment, Acceptable Risk
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-127269 (URN)978-91-7501-856-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-30, Kapellet, Brinellvägen 6-8, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20130830

Available from: 2013-08-30 Created: 2013-08-28 Last updated: 2013-08-30Bibliographically approved

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