Review and implications of IARC monograph 103 outcomes for the asphalt pavement industry

On 18 October 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed its conclusions of an eight-day comprehensive review of bitumen (asphalt) and bitumen emissions (fumes). The working group concluded that occupational exposures to oxidized bitumens and their emissions during roofing are ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 2A); occupational exposures to hard bitumens and their emissions during mastic asphalt work are ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 2B); and occupational exposures to straight-run bitumens and their emissions during road paving are ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 2B) These evaluations and supporting data have been published as Volume 103 of the IARC Monographs. The IARC process is described, as well as details of the conclusions, hazard versus risk, prominent human, animal and mechanistic studies, routes of exposures and ways to reduce exposures. Implications for the asphalt pavement industry include communication to workers and product users, and potential changes in safety data sheets. Implications with regulatory agencies as a result of this hazard communication are discussed. Results encourage continued occupational exposure reduction strategies within the industry to minimise risk of this potential hazard to workers.


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  • Accession Number: 01523792
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 17 2014 3:00PM