These guides can help you determine safe exposure levels to potential hazards, whether physical or airborne

by Brianna Crandall — August 12, 2020 — ACGIH (the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists) announced earlier this year that its Board of Directors ratified the 2020 Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents, and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs). The Board also approved recommendations for additions to the Notice of Intended Changes (NIC).

The information in the user-friendly, pocket-sized TLVs and BEIs book is used worldwide as a guide for evaluation and control by industrial hygienists of workplace exposures to chemical substances and physical agents (which include those of an acoustic, electromagnetic, radiological, ergonomic, mechanical, and thermal nature) in such settings as manufacturing, laboratories, healthcare facilities and custodial work.

TLVs and BEIs are guidelines to be used by professionals trained in the practice of industrial hygiene, points out ACGIH; they are not designed to be used as standards. The TLVs and BEIs are health-based values established by committees that review existing published and peer-reviewed literature in various scientific disciplines. Based on the available information, ACGIH formulates a conclusion on what level of exposure the typical worker can experience without adverse health effects. There is no consideration given to economic or technical feasibility.

Threshold Limit Value (TLV) occupational exposure guidelines are recommended for more than 700 chemical substances and physical agents. There are more than 50 Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) that cover more than 80 chemical substances.

A listing of the substances that were acted upon is available on ACGIH’s Substances and Agents Listing page.

The Notice of Intended Changes (NIC) list is comprised of those substances and physical agents for which a limit/BEI is proposed for the first time, for which a change in the Adopted value/index is proposed, for which retention as an NIC is proposed, or for which withdrawal of the Documentation and adopted TLV/BEI is proposed. In each case, the proposals should be considered trial values during the period they are on the NIC (approximately one year).

Documentation for the substances on the Notice of Intended Changes (NIC) List are available for purchase in PDF format (ACGIH members are entitled to 10 free downloads per year).

The Annual Reports of the ratifications of the ACGIH Board were published in the winter edition of the ACGIH newsletter, Exposure Weekly, and can be found online; ACGIH members can download the electronic version at no cost.

The 2020 TLVs and BEIs book is available in print or digital format.

The 2020 Guide to Occupational Exposure Values is a companion document to the ACGIH TLVs and BEIs book and serves as a readily accessible reference for comparison of the most recently published values from ACGIH, AIHA/OARS, OSHA, NIOSH and the German MAK Commission.

ACGIH is now offering these companion references as a combo set. The set includes the TLVs and BEIs book, the Guide to Occupational Exposure Values, and 8th Edition Documentation of the TLVs and BEIs.

ACGIH recommends that all TLV and BEI users read the Statement of Position Regarding the TLVs and BEIs, which outlines the proper usage of TLVs and BEIs. This can be found in the TLV/BEI Guidelines section of the ACGIH website. In addition to the Statement of Position, visitors to this site will find other useful information on TLVs and BEIs.