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OSHA Responds to Report on Carcinogens

Posted July 13, 2011


In the recently published 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), the National Toxicology Program designated formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.

A summary of the RoC, along with additional resources and information, can be found on the NFDA website.

In a recent news release, OSHA stated that chemicals listed in the RoC are considered carcinogens under OSHA's hazard communication standard. Manufacturers and importers of chemicals or products containing a substance listed in the RoC must list it on its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) if it is present in a concentration of 0.1% or greater and include a warning about cancer. A substance listed in the RoC that is present at less than 0.1% must also be listed if it can be released in a concentration that could present a health risk to workers; the MSDS must also include a warning about cancer.

Employers that use chemicals with new or updated cancer listings in the RoC, such as formaldehyde, or that use products that contain these chemicals, must review incoming MSDSs for new information and train workers on the new hazard.

Employers must also review how chemicals or products containing substances listed in the RoC are used in the workplace and make sure that the safety precautions and personal protective equipment being used by workers will protect workers from anticipated exposures.

The RoC and its conclusions regarding formaldehyde will, no doubt, play a role in future revisions of the OSHA hazard communication standard and permissible exposure levels. NFDA expects that OSHA (federal and state) will put an increased emphasis on compliance with the formaldehyde and hazard communication standards.

NFDA will be actively monitor enforcement activities and advocate on your behalf should OSHA propose revisions to the formaldehyde or hazard communication standards. NFDA also pledges to keep you informed about what you must do to comply with new OSHA requirements.