Related Resources

GESTIS, the information system on hazardous substances of the German Social Accident Insurance, is a comprehensive database for chemical substances, which includes all global existing OELs.

GESTIS Substance Databases

For UVCB hydrocarbon solvents industry experts have developed a method to determine OELs

Reciprocal Calculation Procedure

Information on existing OELs for HSPA and OSPA substances can be found in our overview documents:

Hydrocarbon solvents registered under REACH – key data
Oxygenated solvents registered under REACH – key data

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Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs)

Occupational Exposure Limits are essential to the protection of workers from health and safety risks due to exposure to airborne hazardous substances. An OEL is an upper limit on the acceptable air concentration of a hazardous substance in workplace air for a particular substance or group of substances to which workers can be exposed throughout their working lifetime (for 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, for 40 years) without developing adverse health effects.

For over 60 years, regulatory organisations worldwide have been defining OELs. In the EU, the European Commission and ECHA are in charge of setting OELs following a scientific assessment and a consultation process, while a separate procedure can be in place in some Member States.

A special case: hydrocarbon solvents

Setting occupational exposure limits for UVCB hydrocarbon solvents is challenging since this type of solvents have complex and variable hydrocarbon compositions . This means that the worker will inhale not only one but many types of hydrocarbons from the solvent at the same time.

Therefore, the Reciprocal Calculation Procedure (RCP) approach was developed by hydrocarbon solvent manufacturers.