NIOSH Director John Howard Forecasts the Future of Industrial Hygiene During Day Two of AIHce 2014

Release No. SPR-14-0603-01​
Nicole Racadag, AIHA Communications
(703) 846-0700;
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (June 3, 2014) —  In his Tuesday AIHce 2014 General Session address at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, MPH, JD, LLM, predicted how the health effects of emerging manufacturing technologies and technological innovations in sampling practices will change the IH profession over the next 75 years.
According to Howard, new manufacturing technologies such as 3-D printing, which shapes objects and builds machines by adding layers of material, will bring about a new industrial revolution and could result in changes for IHs and their work.
“The current trend in manufacturing poses the question of whether robotic 3-D manufacturing removes the risks around which traditional IH practice has been oriented,” Howard said.
Howard added that the next era of exposure assessment may involve continuous sensing of the working environment.  IH professionals will soon have the ability to monitor chemical loads in workers’ bodies and determine how those exposures have altered them. In the next 75 years, Howard suggested that direct-reading instruments may allow workers to control their own exposures, and that IH sampling may evolve to incorporate the use of sensors that continuously send exposure data to a central repository.
Howard concluded by stating that despite all the changes that may lie ahead, the challenge to occupational health and safety in the 21st century is the same as it was when AIHA was founded in 1939—ensure the safety and health of all workers.
AIHce 2014: Coming up on Wednesday, June 4:
  • Globalization and the Cost of Worker Health (8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. CDT): Globalization has brought economic growth and new prosperity to many regions of the world, yet at the same time has also brought challenges, concerns, and threats to workplace health and safety. Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium in Washington, D.C., will describe the economic, political, and technical dynamics behind these eye-opening workplace challenges, along with potential solutions and promising new models for worker protection.
  • Donald E. Cummings Award Lecture (12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. CDT): Michael Harris, PhD, CIH, will deliver the Donald E. Cummings Award Lecture on Wednesday. His presentation, titled "IH Awareness in Our Society, Raising Expectations," will discuss ways to raise society's awareness of health hazards in the workplace.
For more information about conference events or to view the full program please visit the conference website or follow #AIHce on Twitter.  A full suite of resources for media is available at the AIHce 2014 Virtual Press Room.
About AIHA®
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia. AIHA will celebrate 75 years of protecting worker health and serving the industrial hygiene community at AIHce 2014, the premier event for IH and OEHS professionals.
About ACGIH®
ACGIH is a member-based organization that advances occupational and environmental health. ACGIH is one of the industry's leading publications resources, with approximately 400 titles relative to occupational and environmental health and safety, including the renowned TLVs® and BEIs®. For more information, visit the ACGIH® website at or call our Customer Service Representatives at 513-742-2020.