AIHA History

Seventy Five ​​Years of Protecting Worker Health®

AIHA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014. Following is a timeline of key events in the history of AIHA and occupational and environmental health and safety.


AIHA® is founded by non-physician members of the American Association of Industrial Physicians and Surgeons (now ACOEM).




William P. Yant (left), AIHA's first president, with President-elect Warren A. Cook in 1940.


Banquet at AI​HA's first annual meeting (above), June 1940,
in New York.

First publication of the Journal of Industrial Medicine's Industrial Hygiene section, the forerunner of the JOEH.


The Board establishes a committee to design an isignia, which was approved in November 1942.


Alice Hamilton's book On the Dangerous Trades
is published.

AIHA's Board establishes the first AIHA award, 
the Donald E. Cummings Award.


In AIHA's first attempt to affect legislation, the association advised the U.S. government to label solvents as hazardous materials.


AIHA® member Warren Cook, editor of the Industrial Hygiene section of the Journal of Industrial Medicine, publishes exposure limits. OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) are still based on Cook's work.


The Industrial Hygiene section of the Journal of Industrial Medicine becomes a separate publication, the AIHA Quarterly, which is edited by association members.


John Wiley and Sons publishes the first volume of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, edited by Frank A. Patty, a founder and past president of AIHA®.


An air inversion pall of toxic smog kills 20 people and sickens 7,000 in Donora, Pennsylvania.

1955 ​

AIHA® establishes its first office, in Detroit, Michigan. The first AIHA® technical committees (air pollution, analytical chemistry, noise, and radiation) are formed.


AIHA® creates an ad hoc Committee on Certification.

1959 ​

The Certification Committee recommends the establishment of a separate Board for certification of industrial hygienists, which becomes the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH).


For the first time, AIHA® (with ACGIH®) conducts its own annual meeting.


The first CIH examinations are held in Cincinnati, Ohio.


AIHA's first Canadian local sections are formed in Ottawa and Toronto.

1970 ​

The Occupational Safety and Health Act creates OSHA and NIOSH.

1971 ​

OSHA adopts its first Permissible Exposure Limits, which are based on the ACGIH® TLVs®.


Toronto becomes the first non-U.S. city to host the American Industrial Hygiene Conference.


AIHA® begins monthly publication of its journal.

1973 ​

AIHA® headquarters moves to Akron, Ohio. The first AIHA continuing education courses are offered.

1974 ​

AIHA® establishes its laboratory accreditation program.

1975 ​

Morton Corn becomes the first industrial hygienist to lead OSHA.

1976 ​

The Toxic Substances Control Act is passed.


AIHA® establishes the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF).

1978 ​

AIHA® publishes the first Workplace Environmental Exposure Level (WEEL) Guides.

1980 ​

The U.S. Supreme Court establishes limits on OSHA's standard-setting authority by overturning the agency's attempt to lower the benzene PEL.


The Ontario Local Section changes its name to the Occupational Health Association of Ontario (OHAO).


The OHAO withdraws from AIHA and incorporates as a not-for-profit association in Ontario.


OSHA passes its Hazard Communication Standard.

1987 ​

The International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) is founded during the American Industrial Hygiene Conference in Montreal.

AIHA® publishes Occupational Exposure Limits—Worldwide by Warren Cook.


AIHA® begins publication of The Synergist
as a quarterly newsletter.


In a single rulemaking, OSHA updates more than 200 existing PELs and establishes new PELs for 160 additional substances.


By a mere handful of votes, a ballot initiative to change AIHA's name to the American Industrial and Environmental Health Association fails to achieve the necessary two-thirds approval of eligible voting members.


U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the 1989 OSHA rulemaking, returning PELs to their 1971 levels.


AIHA® headquarters moves to Fairfax, Virginia.


AIHA®, ACGIH® and ABIH adopt a joint code of ethics for industrial hygienists.


First issue of The Synergist
as a magazine.


A second bylaws amendment that would change AIHA's name fails to achieve approval from two-thirds of eligible voters.


The United Nations Economic and Social Council endorses the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).


AIHA® and ACGIH® begin joint publication of the
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene


The European Union passes the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.


AIHA creates the International Affiliate category of membership.


AIHA's Laboratory Quality Assurance Program is reorganized as the AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, LLC.


AIHA® and ACGIH® announce plans to develop a strategic alliance.


AIHA® and OHAO sign a memorandum of understanding.


OSHA publishes a proposal to align its Hazard Co​mmunication Standard with GHS.

 Source: The American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1939-1990: Its History and Personalities. George and Florence Clayton, eds. AIHA: Fairfax, Va. (1994).