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OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Animal Allergens in the Workplace


July 13, 1998

MEMORANDUM FOR:
  • REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
  • STATE DESIGNEES
  • CONSULTATION PROGRAM MANAGERS

FROM:

  • STEVEN F. WITT
  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support

SUBJECT:

  • Hazard Information Bulletin1: Animal Allergens in the Workplace

Animal handlers are at risk of developing work-related asthma and allergies. Animal handlers include veterinarians, veterinary technicians, laboratory animal workers, livestock workers and workers using fur or textiles made from animal products.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study on asthma in animal handlers and concluded that respiratory illnesses in animal handlers can result in respiratory symptoms that can lead to permanent disability. NIOSH issued the "Preventing Asthma in Animal Handlers" Alert that addresses the health effects of exposure to airborne animal allergens and recommends a broad spectrum of measures for preventing animal-induced asthma and allergies in the workplace.

A copy of NIOSH's Alert is attached for your information and use as appropriate. Additional copies are available from NIOSH by calling 800-35-NIOSH or by e-mailing a request on pubstaft@cdc.gov.

Please distribute this bulletin to all area offices and appropriate labor and industry groups.


1 The Directorate of Technical Support issues Hazard Information Bulletins (HIB) in accordance with OSHA Instruction CPL 2.65 to provide relevant information regarding unrecognized or misunderstood health hazards, inadequacies of materials, devices, techniques, and safety engineering controls. HIBs are initiated based on information provided by the field staff, studies, reports and concerns expressed by safety and health professionals, employers, and the public. Bulletins are developed based on a thorough evaluation of available facts and in coordination with appropriate parties.

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