This document summarises the work of the Expert Committees “Health Reference Values” (HRV
Committee) and the Working Group on Metrology.
Presentation of the issue
On 18 November 2015, ANSES received a formal request from the Directorate General for Labour
(DGT) to conduct the expert appraisal work required for revising occupational exposure limits (OELs)
for so-called dust without specific effects (DWSE), i.e. "that is not capable alone of causing any effect
on the lungs or any other organ or system of the human body other than an overload effect" (DGT
Circular of 9 May 1985).
France currently has binding regulatory values for DWSE (Article R.4222-10 of the Labour Code):
an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) exposure value for total dust of 10 mg·m-3 and an 8-hour
TWA exposure value for respirable dust of 5 mg·m-3.
The DGT asked ANSES to re-assess these values as a matter of priority, following publication of
ANSES's opinion on “Chemical air pollution in underground railway areas and the associated health
risks for workers”.
As this request was classified as a priority, the approach adopted to recommend new occupational
exposure limits (OELs) relied on a critical analysis of the existing international scientific reports and
appraisals, and not on an exhaustive analysis of the scientific literature according to the methodology
In November 2019, ANSES published an opinion and an expert appraisal report focusing only on
the health effects associated with exposure to DWSE and recommended, based on the existing
scientific appraisals, the following occupational exposure limits:
- 8h-OEL for the inhalable fraction: 4 mg·m-3
- 8h-OEL for the respirable fraction: 0.9 mg·m-3
This document is a response regarding the assessment of methods for measuring DWSE with regard
to these recommendations. It supplements the work published in November 2019 recommending
OELs based on a critical analysis of the existing international scientific reports and appraisals.
The French system for establishing OEL values has three clearly distinct phases: