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.

2020 Print Deadlines

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Issue DateSpace CloseArt Due

Featured Topics


New insights on noise. A recent NIOSH document has some key revelations about hearing loss, audiometry testing, and the need for improved dosimetry.

Exercise equipment in the workplace. Treadmill desks and exercise bike chairs are all the rage. But research touting the benefits of these devices ignores evidence that they lead to increased ergonomic injuries, pose safety risks, and have a negative effect on work performance.

Respirators for oxygen deficiency due to altitude. Addressing commonly misunderstood issues about respiratory protection at high altitudes.


Combustible dust: conducting a dust hazard analysis. This article discusses the NFPA standard 652 requirement for facilities with combustible dust to conduct a "dust hazard analysis." The deadline for facilities to comply with this requirement is September 2020.

Trends in remote health monitoring. Remote working environments about in the oil and gas industry, mining, construction, and many other sectors. To protect workers and communities in remote locations, IHs need to develop effective models and make effective use of sensors and risk assessment.

Bloodborne pathogens outside of healthcare settings. This article discusses exposures in industries such as hospitality (hotels, restaurants, housing shelters, tourism), vet clinics, education, adult entertainment, and aesthetics.

MARCH 2020

Special Insert: The AIHA Annual Report

Integrating sensors in PPE.

Cognitive science for the IH. Industrial hygiene can be a hard topic to communicate to colleagues and workers. This article will argue that IHs should use tools from cognitive science to increase their organizational effectiveness and steer workers toward safer choices—and fewer illnesses.

Perspectives on the Surveillance for Anti-Cancer Drug Exposure Study.

APRIL 2020

Special Section: Educational offerings and Expo features at AIHce EXP 2020

Biohacking and industrial hygiene.
Advancements in medical science ensure that workers in the future will have changed their bodies in ways once unimaginable, through embedded magnets, electronic implants, or genetic modification. What responsibilities exist when an acceptable exposure is rendered unacceptable by an employee who has edited their own genes?

Heat stress assessment and control.
This article discusses the importance of six critical factors associated with heat stress and shows how they can be used to identify and implement effective preventive measures.

PPE-101: penetration vs. permeation vs. degradation.
This article parses out these common—and commonly confused—terms related to protective clothing.

MAY 2020

Special Insert: AIHA's Environmental Scan Report

Special Section: Exhibitors at AIHce EXP 2020

Healthcare: Anteroom design. Hazardous drug compounding rooms are deigned to be under negative pressure relative to surrounding spaces in order to control the potential release of hazardous drugs. Since this negative pressure draws in air from the attached anteroom, the anteroom is required to be the same level of cleanliness (ISO-7) as the compounding space. It can be difficult to meet this requirement in an anteroom where occupants are garbing, supplies are being unpacked and disinfected, and there is direct connection to non-ISO Pharmacy spaces. A positively pressurized secondary anteroom keeps the hazardous drug compounding space negative relative to surrounding areas, while preventing air from the anteroom from flowing into the hazardous drug space from the traditional anteroom.

Electrical safety in hazardous environments.

COVID-19 infection control. An FAQ on protecting workers and others from the novel coronavirus.


Drug-free workplace policies. ​With the legalization of cannabis on the rise, what do employers need to look for when revisiting their policies on drug use?

Respiratory sensitizers. The authors of our popular November 2019 article on dermal sensitizers return with an examination of substances that lead to sensitization of airways following inhalation.

Implications of USP 800 for veterinarians. Chapter 800 of the United States Pharmacopeia, which describes standards for handling hazardous drugs in healthcare settings, goes into effect in December 2019. This article explains what the new chapter means for veterinary service providers.

AUGUST 2020—The Labs Issue

Special Section: AIHce Wrap-up

Sampling and analysis of metals and metalloids. The need to sample for both inhalable and respirable fractions--as defined in the ISO 7708 standard--presents challenges for both the IH in the field and the lab conducting the analysis. This article will discuss this emerging issue and some promising new sample preparation methods.

Surface sampling. This article discusses the increasing importance of surface sampling and what labs need to know when they receive the samples.

Fume hood testing requirements update. A preview of expected updates to ASHRAE standard 110.


BONUS DISTRIBUTION: Product Stewardship Conference

Special Section: Product Stewardship Conference Preview

Product stewardship.


Protecting stained-glass restoration workers from lead exposure. An IH and an artist discuss a common hazard in the making of stained glass.

Moving beyond total hydrocarbons analysis. Reasonable and reliable measurement of occupational exposures to hydrocarbons requires adoption of a different analysis scheme.

Combustible gas monitor use. The article will cover proper operation and instrument response to mixtures of flammable gas and vapors, the importance of ensuring that the calibration gas/correction factor is appropriate for the source and task, and the use of instrument response as part of an exposure assessment.


Protecting against fatigue. Fatigue is more than just a workplace hazard; it can be a public safety issue. This article discusses how to apply the IH framework of anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation to fatigue in the workplace.

Protective clothing for healthcare.


What's new in hazard communication?

Welding fume and portable detection systems.

Standardizing IH data. Standardization would allow data to be aggregated in powerful ways. The authors will address the importance of standardization by examining examples from the fields of nanotechnology and advanced materials.