Categories: Safety and Health Data
December 2nd, 2013 3:18 pm ET - Dale Shoemaker, PhD; Rosa Key-Schwartz, PhD; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Yvonne Gagnon, MPH
Many products essential to daily life are produced using chemicals that can endanger human health unless properly controlled. While the end product may be safe for the consumer, the workers who manufacture the product may be occupationally exposed to the chemical ingredients more directly or at higher concentrations than the consumer who uses the final product. Monitoring these occupational exposures is vital for determining if they are potentially harmful to workers and if action is needed to reduce or eliminate exposure. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed and rigorously evaluated over 300 methods for evaluating worker exposure that are available in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM). These methods describe not only the analysis procedure but how to collect samples for analysis. The results can indicate whether action is needed to reduce exposure.
The NMAM, which was first published in 1974, contains technical methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed. These methods have been developed or adapted by NIOSH or its partners and have been evaluated according to established experimental protocols and performance criteria.  NMAM also includes chapters that provide help on topics such as quality assurance, sampling, and portable instrumentation. The Fourth Edition of the NMAM was the last version in print form, published in 1994 with three supplements published in 1996, 1998, and 2003.  NMAM is a standard resource for selecting analytical methods that provide consistency in the practice of industrial hygiene. When selected and used properly, these methods assure accuracy and reliability of results. As we begin to publish solely in electronic format, we’d like your feedback about what you find useful and what we could improve. Our goals for these Fifth Edition methods are that they be easily searchable for sampling media, analytical technique, equipment, and analyte. We’d also like to know how we could improve the NMAM to be easier for you to use.
We need your help! Recently NIOSH, together with the American Industrial Hygiene Association, launched a survey to get your suggestions on how to improve the NMAM. Through the survey we are trying to find out if there are easier ways to present the methods, different electronic formats that would be more useful, different ways to search the methods, or gaps in the methods that are in the NMAM? It’s a short 23 question survey that should not take longer than 30 minutes to complete. Please help us design the next generation of NMAM. To take the survey, click here.
We also have a number of methods currently being evaluated and need labs willing to participate in round robin analyses to more completely evaluate these methods. Please contact us in the comment section below or by e-mailing Kevin Ashley ( firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paula Fey O’Connor (email@example.com) if you can participate.
Dale Shoemaker, PhD; Rosa Key-Schwartz, PhD; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Yvonne Gagnon, MPH
The authors all work in the NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology.
 NIOSH . NIOSH Technical Report: Guidelines for air sampling and analytical method development and evaluation. By Kennedy ER, Fischbach TJ, Song R, Eller PM, Shulman SA. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 95-117.
 NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM®), 4th ed.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113 (August, 1994),
1st Supplement Publication 96-135, 2nd Supplement Publication 98-119, 3rd Supplement 2003-154