What Is Haz-Map?

Haz-Map® is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the adverse effects of workplace exposures to chemical and biological agents. The main links in Haz-Map are between chemicals and occupational diseases. These links have been established using current scientific evidence.

Haz-Map shows the diseases linked to each agent and the agents linked to each disease. Agents are chemical such as formaldehyde, or biological such as grain dust. Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous job tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms.

In Haz-Map, chronic occupational diseases are linked to both jobs and industries, while acute diseases and infectious diseases are linked only to jobs. Cancers are not linked to jobs, industries or findings.

The information in Haz-Map comes from textbooks, journal articles, the Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (published by ACGIH), and electronic databases such as NLM's ChemIDplus. The author of Haz-Map is Jay A. Brown, MD, MPH, Board Certified in Occupational Medicine.

What Were the Precursors of Haz-Map?

What Were the Precursors of Haz-Map?

Figure 2. Five occupational medicine textbooks that mapped the knowledge domain before Haz-Map.

The early development of the content relied on textbooks of occupational medicine (LaDouRomRosenstockSullivan & Krieger, and Zenz). The textbooks were precursors of Haz-Map, which is like an electronic book. Another important precursor was the NIOSH Sentinel Health Events (Occupational). SHE(O)s first published by Rutstein et al. in 1983 and updated by Mullan and Murthy in 1991. Sixty-four occupational diseases were linked to causal agents and associated industries. See Haz-Map Diseases by Category for the original SHE(O) diseases and the ones now in Haz-Map.

Was the Scientific Method Used to Build Haz-Map?

Figure 3. Five of the important scientific publications used to build Haz-Map.

Observing and recording information about natural phenomena is part of the scientific method.

All of the health-related content in Haz-Map comes from peer-reviewed sources, and the methods used to extract the information were published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"It is emphasized that not all epidemiological studies are equally informative or of equal quality. Some have low statistical power and provide little information on risks; others are so susceptible to potential or actual biases that findings have little or no validity. It is important to consider methodological issues when interpreting the evidence from different studies, and it is the consistency of findings in different studies conducted by different investigators in different parts of the world that is most informative." [John Boice. "Ionizing Radiation" in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention.]

What Are the Most Important Sources for Updating the Database?

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Figure 4. ACGIH and IARC are the two major sources for updating.

The main sources for updating existing chemicals are ACGIH and IARC. ACGIH publishes every year Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values, Supplement to the 7th Edition, and changes in these documents are added to the database.

How to Use Haz-Map