Refractory Ceramic Fiber Safety


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NIOSH Criteria Document on Refractory Ceramic Fibers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has just completed a comprehensive scientific review of data characterizing occupational exposures to airborne refractory ceramic fiber (RCF) and information concerning potential health effects associated with workplace exposures to RCF. This document, referred to by NIOSH as, “Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Refractory Ceramic Fiber,” DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-123, incorporates an extensive NIOSH evaluation of published literature with over 230 cited references. Commonly referred to as a “NIOSH Criteria Document,” these highly regarded scientific reviews result in what is called a “Consensus Standard,” incorporating comments from independent scientific peer-reviewers and a diverse group of stakeholder representatives, including the RCFC.

In 2002, the Refractory Ceramic Fibers Coalition (RCFC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced a voluntary worker protection program entitled PSP 2002. PSP (Product Stewardship Program) is a comprehensive, multi-faceted risk management program designed to control and reduce workplace exposure to airborne RCF. Contained within PSP 2002 is a Recommended Exposure Guideline (REG) of 0.5 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc) of air over an 8-hour Time-Weighted Average (TWA), which is endorsed by OSHA in PSP 2002.

The NIOSH Criteria Document for RCF supports the intent of the Product Stewardship Program for RCF and also includes a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 0.5 f/cc of air per TWA for up to a 10-hour work shift during a 40-hour workweek. NIOSH is a highly respected scientific health and safety research organization that has put a great deal of work into their evaluation of RCF. The RCFC is pleased that NIOSH, along with OSHA, endorses PSP for RCF including the industry’s REG of 0.5 f/cc of air per 8-hour TWA.

The NIOSH criteria document for RCF is available online at: If you or your customers have any questions concerning this publication, please feel free to contact the Unifrax Health Hotline at 1 (800) 322-2293.

What is NIOSH?

  • NIOSH is a (non regulatory) federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.
  • The views expressed within the Criteria Document for RCF are not “regulatory requirements,” but rather represent the findings from a well-respected scientific health and safety research organization.
  • NIOSH and OSHA were both created in 1970 under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  • NIOSH often acts as the “scientific research arm” of OSHA, while OSHA is primarily responsible for developing and enforcing occupational safety and health regulations.
  • NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • NIOSH is headquartered in Washington, DC, with research laboratories and offices in Cincinnati, OH; Morgantown, WV; Pittsburgh, PA; Spokane, WA; and Atlanta, GA.

Dean E. Venturin, Ph.D.
Director, Health, Safety
and Environment

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