Review of the Department of Labor's Site Exposure Matrix (SEM) Database

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Environmental Health, Public Health, Select Populations and Health Equity
Board: Board on the Health of Select Populations

Activity Description

The IOM will review the scientific rigor and organization of the Department of Labor’s Site Exposure Matrix (SEM) database. The SEM is a repository of site-specific information gathered from a variety of sources regarding toxic substances present at Department of Energy and Radiation Exposure Compensation Act facilities covered under Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. The focus will be on how workplace chemical usage and exposure link to certain diseases as well as the NIH’s and National Library of Medicine's (NLM) review process for Haz-Map, the database that helps link jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms. The committee also will examine the review process used by the Haz-Map developer when including information in the Haz-Map database and identify strengths and weaknesses of the SEM in order to make recommendations. Additionally, the report will consider the following:

  1. What, if any, occupational diseases that might have affected the DOE contractor workforce are missing from SEM?
  2. What, if any, links between occupational diseases and toxic substances present at DOE sites are missing from SEM?
  3. Is there additional literature that might be incorporated into SEM to strengthen or add to the existing links between toxic substances and occupational diseases?  Are the existing links sufficiently robust?
  4. What, if any, other occupational disease databases might be used to supplement the Haz-Map information in SEM?
  5. How scientifically rigorous are the disease links contained in the SEM and Haz-Map?
  6. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the NIH/NLM peer review process with regard to Haz-Map?  How might this process be improved?
  7. Can any known (epidemiologically significant) synergistic effects between multiple chemicals or chemicals and radiation be placed in SEM?  If so, what are the sources of these links and are they occupational in nature?
  8. What consistent process or approach could be used to consider a disease or cancer established when studies are inconclusive, inconsistent or conflicted in some way?

Previous Meetings for this Activity

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