A report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviewed current scientific information on health effects associated with occupational exposure to carbonless copy paper, and recommends ways to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Exposure to certain types of carbonless copy paper or its components has been known to result in mild to moderate symptoms of skin irritation and irritation of the mucosal membranes of the eyes and upper respiratory tract, said NIOSH, in the report, "NIOSH Hazard Review: Carbonless Copy Paper (CPP)."
In most cases, good industrial hygiene and work practices should be adequate to reduce or eliminate symptoms, NIOSH suggested.
These include adequate ventilation, humidity and temperature controls; proper housekeeping; minimal hand-to-mouth and hand-to-eye contact; and periodic cleansing of hands.
These recommendations are similar to ones that have been made by other researchers, programs and agencies in the United States and abroad, according to the report.
Data also indicate that exposure to carbonless copy paper or its components has been associated in rare cases with allergic contact dermatitis.
NIOSH also noted two case reports of various reactions in three individuals, including shortness of breath and hives.
Those cases were reported more than 10 years ago, and there is no evidence, given a lack of similar reports in more recent literature, that current CCP exposures present a risk for these effects, said NIOSH.
NIOSH also offered the following recommendations:
- Carbonless copy paper manufacturers and their suppliers should follow professionally established "best practices" for product management, such as the American Chemistry Council''s Product Stewardship Code of Management Practices.
- Carbonless copy paper manufacturers and their suppliers should consider how test procedures for assessing safety from skin contact can be modified to reflect exposures from high use of the paper.
- As part of ongoing monitoring to identify potential work-related health effects in workers under general occupational safety and health programs, carbonless copy paper manufacturers and their suppliers may want to evaluate the frequency and severity of irritation in workers using carbonless copy paper.
by Virginia Sutcliffe