NIOSH: Carbonless Copy Paper Review Announced

Gary Greenberg Gary.Greenberg at Duke.edu
Sat Jan 6 01:41:03 EST 2001



Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749 January 5, 2001 


In a new report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviews
current scientific information on health effects associated with
occupational exposure to carbonless copy paper, and recommends ways to
reduce or eliminate symptoms. 

According to available data, exposure to certain types of carbonless
copy paper or its components has resulted, under some conditions, in
mild to moderate symptoms of skin irritation and irritation of the
mucosal membranes of the eyes and upper respiratory tract, NIOSH said in
the report, "NIOSH Hazard Review: Carbonless Copy Paper."

In most cases, good industrial hygiene and work practices should be
adequate to reduce or eliminate symptoms, NIOSH suggested. These include
adequate ventilation, humidity, and temperature controls; proper
housekeeping; minimal hand-to-mouth and hand-to-eye contact; and
periodic cleansing of hands. These recommendations are similar to ones
that have been made by other researchers, programs, and agencies in the
U.S. and abroad, according to the report.

Data also indicate that exposure to carbonless copy paper or its
components has been associated in rare cases with allergic contact
dermatitis. NIOSH also noted two case reports of various reactions in
three individuals, including shortness of breath and hives; those cases
were reported more than 10 years ago, and there is no evidence, given a
lack of similar reports in more recent literature, that current CCP
exposures present a risk for these effects. Data are insufficient to
evaluate claims of other adverse health effects, such as neurologic
effects or reports of multiple chemical sensitivity, the report found.
NIOSH also offered these recommendations:

- NIOSH encourages carbonless copy paper manufacturers and their
suppliers to follow professionally established "best practices" for
product management, such as the American Chemistry Council's Product
Stewardship Code of Management Practices. Manufacturers and suppliers
also should consider enhancing their product guidance to reflect that
published studies indicate that symptoms of irritation appear to
increase with increasing exposure to CCP.

- Carbonless copy paper manufacturers and their suppliers should
consider how test procedures for assessing safety from skin contact can
be modified to reflect exposures from high use of the paper. Current
practices in product testing may not be sensitive enough to identify
mild skin irritants.

- As part of ongoing monitoring to identify potential work-related
health effects in workers under general occupational safety and health
programs, carbonless copy paper manufacturers and their suppliers may
want to evaluate the frequency and severity of irritation in workers
using carbonless copy paper.

NIOSH initially evaluated the issue of potential health effects from
occupational exposure to carbonless copy paper in 1987, at the request
of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. NIOSH issued a
public notice for information in 1987. The review of the then-available
data found that no strong conclusion could be reached concerning a
consistent link between carbonless copy paper and health effects.

In 1997, as a result of continuing public interest in this issue, NIOSH
issued a second notice to solicit new information available since 1987.
The new NIOSH report is based on a review of the published,
peer-reviewed scientific literature, and on more than 14,000 pages of
information submitted in response to the NIOSH public notices in 1987
and 1997.

The new report is the most comprehensive scientific document available
on issues relating to health concerns from exposure to carbonless copy
paper. It includes extensive information about the components of
carbonless copy paper, production processes, published and unpublished
scientific data, and historical recommendations for preventing or
reducing exposure to carbonless copy paper.

"NIOSH Hazard Review: Carbonless Copy Paper," DHHS (NIOSH) Publication
No. 2001-107, is available by calling the toll-free NIOSH information
number at 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674). The report, along with other
information on NIOSH research, also is available on the World Wide Web
at www.cdc.gov/niosh. 

Gary N. Greenberg, MD MPH    Sysop / Moderator Occ-Env-Med-L MailList
Free subscription enrollment at http://subscribe.occhealthnews.com
gary.greenberg at duke.edu     Duke Occupat, Environ, Int & Fam Medicine


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