Objectives: This paper describes the development and evaluation of an evidence database on the effectiveness of risk management measures (RMMs) to control inhalation exposure. This database is referred to as Exposure Control Efficacy Library (ECEL). Methods: A comprehensive review of scientific journals in the occupational hygiene field was undertaken. Efficacy values for RMMs in conjunction with contextual information on study design, sampling strategy and measurement type (among other parameters) were stored in an MS Access database. In total, 433 efficacy values for six RMM groups (i.e. enclosure, local exhaust ventilation, specialized ventilation, general ventilation, suppression techniques and separation of the worker) were collected from 90 peer-reviewed publications. These RMM categories were subdivided into more specific categories. Results: Estimated average efficacy values ranged from 87% for specialized ventilation to 43% for general ventilation. Substantial variation in efficacy values was observed within RMM categories based on differences in selected covariables within each study (i.e. study design, sampling strategy, measurement type and others). More contrast in efficacy values was observed when evaluating more detailed subcategories. Conclusions: It is envisaged that ECEL will contribute to exposure modelling, but should be supplemented with expert opinion, preferably in a formal expert elicitation procedure. The work presented here should be considered as a first attempt to collate and analyse RMM efficacy values and inclusion of additional (unpublished) exposure data is highly warranted. © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.