ANSES REPORT - Occupational exposure limits for chemical agents | Assessment of measurement methods for dust without specific effects


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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 usually applied. 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. Scientific background The French system for establishing OEL values has three clearly distinct phases:

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