Included in every issue of The Synergist is the NewsWatch section, which includes short articles and updates from NIOSH, the CDC, EPA, OSHA, and other government agencies. NewsWatch focuses on news, new research and findings, and best practices. Hot-button topics like silica and GHS labeling have appeared here throughout the past year.

2021 Print Deadlines

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Featured Topics


The challenges of sampling peracetic acid. Widely used as a sanitizer in the food industry, peracetic acid is highly corrosive and can cause severe irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. But sampling for it presents many challenges, especially in poultry processing.

Exoskeletons: the machines are coming. Exoskeletons are making inroads in many workplaces. This article helps OEHS professionals understand exoskeletons in the occupational setting.

COVID-19 and opioids. The pandemic has complicated efforts to combat the ongoing opioids epidemic. This article examines what the two crises mean for workplace health and safety.

Insert: State of AIHA Research Report.


The new OEHS training. The pandemic has revolutionized how people communicate online, with consequences for the delivery of workplace training.

Neuro-linguistic programming. The science behind how we learn offers lessons in how OEHS professionals can engage and influence workers to adopt safe, healthy behaviors.

5G: what does it mean for my workplace? Fifth-generation technology for cellular networks began deploying in 2019. This article by members of AIHA's Nonionizing Radiation Committee examines potential workplace health and safety implications.

MARCH 2021

The election's aftermath. What will the 2020 elections mean for occupational health and safety in the U.S.?

Health and safety issues with defoggers. In the age of COVID-19, disinfectant foggers are becoming a popular way to disinfect areas. But are the workers who conduct the cleaning aware of the effects and controls required to safely implement defoggers?

Insert: AIHA Annual Report.

APRIL 2021

Incident management and the role of the IH in confined space rescues.

(Best) practice meets policy: guidance documents, COVID-19, and natural disasters.

How IHs support emergency planning, preparedness, and response operations.

Special section: AIHce EXP 2021 preview

Insert: AIHA Proficiency Analytical Testing Program report.

MAY 2021

An update on chronic kidney disease among sugar cane workers. For years, researchers have struggled to explain the cause or causes of "chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology," known in the medical literature as CKDu, which largely affects workers in hot environments such as southeast Asia and Central America.

Occupational exposure limits for novel drugs. As new drugs are introduced, OELs are derived for both novel drug products and potentially appropriate intermediate compounds generated in the synthesis pathway. Often it takes years to get from the discovery phase to the early trial stages. In these cases, an OEL derivation based on the original (discovery-phase) data may be outdated and inappropriate for application in later drug development phases. This article will outline reasons an OEL derivation may need to be revised.

Emotional intelligence for OEHS professionals. Readers will learn practical tips on how to cultivate and increase their EI in service of their personal fulfillment and professional success.

Insert: AIHA's Efforts to Fight COVID-19.

Special section: AIHce EXP 2021 list of exhibitors


Controlling exposures in mining equipment cabs. A preview of a forthcoming ISO standard that will help OEHS professionals in the mining industry address exposures to particulate and carbon dioxide.

Do I need FR clothing? A new tool under development by AIHA volunteers can help OEHS professionals determine whether their workers must wear flame-resistant clothing when performing certain tasks.

The role of OEHS in cultural heritage emergency planning and response. Staff at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum work with items recovered from the World Trade Center that are covered in dust containing many hazardous components, but removing the hazards may alter the artifacts' interpretation and emotional impact. This article discusses a framework developed by the museum that attempts to balance these concerns with health and safety regulations.


Special issue on Labs

Special section: AIHce EXP 2021 recap

Air Sampling for SARS-CoV-2. This article will also discuss the difference between PCR positive and cultivability analysis.

Working alone in labs: health and safety considerations.

Reproductive health hazards in labs.


Product stewardship topic TBD.

Incorporating inclusion in health and safety programs. Practical suggestions for how OEHS professionals can accommodate workers with disabilities.

A look back at 9/11. Reflections on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

New issues in mold. Drawing on the latest edition of AIHA's "green book," a.k.a. Recognition, Evaluation and Control of Indoor Mold, this article discusses recent changes in health, building science, and mycology.

Special section: Product Stewardship Conference preview


Glove selection for chemical mixtures.

Protecting workers' mental health. Supporting mental health in the workplace has gained momentum as OEHS professionals grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in both work organization and conditions. This article will discuss how organizational support for mental well-being leads to better occupational safety and health outcomes; which workplace exposures are of concern; and relevant psychological, chemical, biological, and other stressors.

Process safety. This article will discuss the elements of OSHA's process safety management standard and highlights the industrial hygiene considerations for each.


Mailed with AIHA Buyer's Guide

Leading health metrics. Many organizations have tried to identify metrics that allow organizations to identify health and safety problems before they lead to serious incidents. This article examines AIHA's recent contribution to the search for leading health metrics.

Advances in elastomeric respirators. PPE shortages at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic brought renewed attention to the elastomeric half-mask respirator (EHMR), which could help meet demand but whose exhalation valves raised concerns about source control. Authors from NIOSH describe recent advancements in EHMR technology.

Current developments in risk perception and communication.


The problem of worker fatigue. Approximately 15 million Americans work full time on the evening shift, night shift, rotating shifts, or other irregular schedules, almost 19 percent of working adults work 48 hours or more per week, and more than 7 percent worked 60 hours or more. This article discusses the health and safety risks of a fatigued workforce and offers potential solutions.

Challenges with third-party occupational exposure limits. What should be done when a client or other third party submits information that suggests an OEL different than what is expected, or beyond the capabilities of the site? This article will discuss potential paths forward and potential pitfalls.

Protective clothing: single vs. double protection.