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Occupational Exposure Limits - Too Few and Too Many (PSX 2023 On Demand)


Occupational exposure limits (OELs) provide quantitative benchmarks for assessing the potential risks of occupational exposures. The OEL landscape is complex, as many organizations publish OELs worldwide. OEL values vary based on intended uses, decisions regarding risk policy, feasibility considerations, and underlying derivation methodologies. This can be confusing to risk managers who rely on OELs for risk-informed decision making, a challenge that has been the subject of recent harmonization efforts led by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Communicating the bases of OELs is also complex. The most readily available sources on OEL values for most users, such as OEL value lists and safety data sheets, lack important details. The increasing role of the United States Environmental Protection Agency in occupational risk assessment only adds to the mix of existing benchmarks. While EPA has a long history of developing workplace benchmarks for new chemicals, its role in creating benchmarks for prominent existing chemicals is still evolving. This session will dissect and communicate a roadmap for understanding the OEL landscape and the implications of increasing EPA engagement. Our primary aim is to describe approaches to transfer key knowledge to downstream chemical users.