Procedures for Commenting on TLVs® and BEIs®

The ACGIH® encourages interested parties to submit comments and data relevant to the TLV® and BEI® committee work. The public may offer input to any TLV® or BEI® Committee by e-mail to science@acgih.org. Adherence to the TLV® and BEI® development process is paramount and therefore requires considerations when submitting comments to the ACGIH®. Below you will find the appropriate procedures for submitting comments at different stages of the TLV® and BEI® development process.

The Under Study lists serve as notification and invitation to interested parties to submit substantive data and comments to assist the committees in their deliberations. Each committee considers only those comments and data that address issues of health and exposure, but not economic or technical feasibility. Comments must be accompanied by copies of substantiating data, preferably in the form of peer-reviewed literature. Should the data be from unpublished studies, ACGIH® requires written authorization from the owner of the studies granting ACGIH® permission to (1) use, (2) cite within the Documentation, and (3) upon request from a third party, release the information. All three permissions must be stated/covered in the written authorization. (See endnote for a sample permission statement.) Electronic submission of all information to the ACGIH® Science Group at science@acgih.org is preferred and greatly increases the ease and efficiency with which the committee can consider the comments or data.

Under Study

The  draft Documentation is not available to the public during this stage of the development process and is not released until it is at the Notice of Intended Changes (NIC) stage. Authorship of the Documentation is not disclosed.

Notice of Intended Change

Following the NIC ratification by the ACGIH® Board of Directors, interested parties, including ACGIH® members, are invited to provide data and substantive comments, preferably in the form of peer-reviewed literature, on the proposed TLVs® or BEIs® contained in the NIC. Should the data be from unpublished studies, ACGIH® requires written authorization from the owner of the studies granting ACGIH® permission to (1) use, (2) cite within the Documentation, and (3) upon request from a third party, release the information. All three permissions must be stated/covered in the written authorization. (See endnote for a sample permission statement.) The most effective and helpful comments are those that address specific points within the draft Documentation. Changes or updates are made to the draft Documentation as necessary. If the committee finds or receives substantive data that change its scientific opinion regarding TLV® or BEI® values or notations, the committee may revise the proposal(s) and recommend to the ACGIH® Board of Directors that it be retained on the NIC.

Important Notice: The comment period for an NIC or NIE draft Documentation and its respective TLV(s)®, notation(s), or BEI(s)®, will be limited to a firm 4-month period, running from February 1 to May 31 of each year. ACGIH® has structured the comment period to ensure all comments are received by ACGIH® in time for full consideration by the appropriate committee before its fall meeting. Because of the time required to properly review, evaluate, and consider comments during the fall meetings, any comments received after the deadline of May 31 will not be considered in that year's committee deliberations regarding the outcome for possible adoption of an NIC or NIE. As general practice, ACGIH® reviews all submissions regarding chemical substances and physical agents on the Under Study list, as well as NICs or NIEs, or currently adopted BEI(s)® or TLV(s)®. All comments received after May 31 will be fully considered in the following year. Draft Documentation will be available for review during the comment period.

When submitting comments, ACGIH® requires that the submission be limited to 10 pages in length, including an executive summary. The submission may include appendices of citable material not included as part of the 10-page limit. It would be very beneficial to structure comments as follows:

  1. Executive Summary – Provide an executive summary with a limit of 250 words.
  2. List of Recommendations/Actions – Identify, in a vertical list, specific recommendations/actions that are being requested.
  3. Rationale – Provide specific rationale to justify each recommendation/action requested.
  4. Citable Material – Provide citable material to substantiate the rationale.

The above procedure will help ACGIH® to more efficiently and productively review comments.

 If the committee neither finds nor receives any substantive data that change its scientific opinion regarding an NIC TLV® or BEI® (or notation), the committee may then approve its recommendation to the ACGIH® Board of Directors for adoption.

Summary: There are several important points to consider throughout the above process:

  1. The appropriate method for an interested party to contribute to the TLV® and BEI® process is through the submission of literature that is peer-reviewed and public. ACGIH® strongly encourages interested parties to publish their studies, and not to rely on unpublished studies as their input to the TLV® and BEI® process. Also, the best time to submit comments to ACGIH®is in the early stages of the TLV® and BEI® Development Process, preferably while the substance or agent is on the Under Study list.
  1. An additional venue for presentation of new data is an ACGIH®-sponsored symposium or workshop that provides a platform for public discussion and scientific interpretation. ACGIH®encourages input from external parties for suggestions on symposium topics, including suggestions about sponsors, speakers and format. ACGIH® employs several criteria to determine the appropriateness of a symposium. A key criterion is that the symposium must be the most efficient format to present the committee with information that will assist in the scientific judgment used for writing the Documentation and in setting the respective TLVs® or BEIs®. A symposium topic should be suggested while the substance/agent is under study, as symposia require considerable time, commitment, and resources to develop. Symposium topic suggestions submitted while a substance is on the NIC will be considered, but this is usually too late in the decision-making process. A symposium topic will not be favorably considered if its purpose is to provide a forum merely for voicing opinions about existing data. Rather, there must be on-going research, scientific uncertainty about currently available data, or another scientific reason for the symposium. Symposium topic suggestions should be sent to the ACGIH® Science Group (science@acgih.org).
  1. ACGIH® periodically receives requests from external parties to make a presentation to a committee about specific substances or issues. It is strictly by exception that such requests are granted. While there are various reasons for this position, the underlying fact is that the committee focuses on data that have been peer-reviewed and published and not on data presented in a private forum. A committee may grant a request when the data are significantly new, have received peer review, are the best vehicle for receipt of the information, and are essential to the committee's deliberations. The presentation is not a forum to merely voice opinions about existing data. In order for a committee to evaluate such a request, the external party must submit a request in writing that, at a minimum, addresses the following elements: (a) a detailed description of the presentation; (b) a clear demonstration of why the information is important to the committee's deliberations; and (c) a clear demonstration of why a meeting is the necessary method of delivery. This request must be sent to the ACGIH® Science Group (science@acgih.org).

Also, the committee may initiate contact with outside experts (a) to meet with the committee to discuss specific issues or to obtain additional knowledge on the subject, and (b) to provide written input or review of a Documentation. This is only done on an as needed basis, and not as a routine practice.

  1. ACGIH® does not commit to deferring consideration of a new or revised TLV® or BEI® pending the outcome of proposed or ongoing research.

Endnote: Sample permission statement granting ACGIH® authorization to use, cite, and release unpublished studies:

[Name], [author or sponsor of the study**] grants permission to ACGIH® to use and cite the documents listed below, and to fully disclose them to parties outside of ACGIH® upon request. Permission to disclose the documents includes permission to make copies as needed.

Example: Joseph D. Doe, PhD, co-author of the study, grants permission to ACGIH® to use and cite the document listed below and to fully disclose this document to parties outside of ACGIH®. Permission to disclose the document includes permission to make copies as needed.

Effects of Quarts Status on Pharmacokinetics of Intratracheally Instilled Cristobalite in Rats, March 21, 2003.”

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Download the Word document of the Comment Submission Form. Fill in your comments and email to the ACGIH® Science Group at science@acgih.org.