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Overview of the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards


The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) informs workers, employers, and occupational health professionals about workplace chemicals and their hazards. The NPG gives general industrial hygiene information for hundreds of chemicals/classes. The NPG clearly presents key data for chemicals or substance groupings (such as cyanides, fluorides, manganese compounds) that are found in workplaces. The guide offers key facts, but does not give all relevant data. The NPG helps users recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.


The NIOSH Pocket Guide includes the following:

  • Chemical names, synonyms, trade names, CAS, RTECS, and DOT ID and guide numbers
  • Chemical structure/formula, conversion factors
  • NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PELs)
  • NIOSH immediately dangerous to life and health values (IDLHs)
  • Physical description and chemical and physical properties of agents
  • Measurement methods
  • Personal protection and sanitation recommendations
  • Respirator selection recommendations
  • Incompatibilities and reactivities of agents
  • Exposure routes, symptoms, target organs, and first aid information
Click here to find the full version of the NPG avaliable for download

Useful terms to know

NIOSH = National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

OSHA = Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OEL = Occupational Exposure Limit

REL = Recommended Exposure Limit

PEL = Permissible Exposure Limit

TWA = Time Weighted Average

STEL = Short-term Limit Exposure

IDLH = Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health

ppm = parts per million, the units of measurement for gases and vapors

mg/m^3 = milligrams per cubic meter, the units of measurement for particulates


Design & Final Implementation:

Dr. Christine Whittaker (NIOSH)

Ms. LeeAnn Lucas (NIOSH)

Dr. John Bailer (Miami University)


Contributors from Miami University:

Yongsil Woo

Ibrahim Sanusi

Qin Zhang

Elliot Maceda

Xiantong Liu