In HSE the process of critical appraisal of toxicological information has been undertaken for a number of years within regulatory programmes associated with the classification of industrial chemicals and the setting of occupational exposure limits. The resulting assessments provide the basis for the individual entries in this compendium. It should be noted that when full information regarding the potential of a substance to cause asthma has already been (or is expected to be) published by HSE elsewhere, eg in a criteria document or risk assessment document, the compendium entry consists of a summary of that information, together with a reference to the original publication. Overall, it is clear that all the relevant information available for each substance needs to be carefully examined against accepted criteria. Proper application of these criteria requires a balance of judgment, with the quality of the available data as well as the numbers of cases (in relation to the size of the exposed population and extent of exposure) being taken into account in order to reach the most reliable assessment of the potential to produce respiratory sensitisation/asthma. The compendium originally comprised 32 such assessments when it was published in 1997, reported in a standard format and arranged alphabetically by common name. A further 12 assessments were added with publication of a Supplement in 1998. The 2001 Supplement comprises an additional 16 assessments.
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