Occupational Exposure Banding and Workplace Chemicals

For workers in a variety of industries, exposure to chemicals is commonplace. American workers handle, transport, or encounter thousands of chemicals every day, from cleaning products to industrial solvents. Although many of these chemicals have important uses, they can also be harmful to workers who are exposed to them. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are developed for hazardous chemicals to reduce the risk of adverse health effects for workers with potential exposures. Unfortunately, of the more than 85,000 chemicals manufactured, processed, or imported in the United States, only about 1,000 have an OEL. Likewise, the rate at which new chemicals are