Acceptable Exposure Levels

Last updated: March 1, 2018

What Does Acceptable Exposure Levels Mean?

Acceptable exposure levels are exposure levels to a chemical substance that are within the mandated safe levels. In the US, these are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA sets permissible exposure limits (PEL) for chemical substances. Many of these limits, however, are outdated, being set back in the 1970's. Industrial experience, new technological advances, along with hard scientific data indicates that, in may cases, the acceptable exposure level is potentially harmful to worker health.

Safeopedia Explains Acceptable Exposure Levels

Many technical, industrial and professional organizations have reduced their acceptable exposure level recommendations independently of the OSHA PEL limits. They, therefore, supplement the OSHA requirements with their own internal corporate guidelines. In fact, OSHA have annotated their existing PEL tables on their website and in their other promotional material with industry supplied acceptable exposure levels. OSHA recommends that employers consider using these alternative occupational exposure limits rather than the relevant PELs.


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