JOEH to End Momentous 2015 with Supplement on Occupational Exposure Limits

Posted October 14, 2015

A supplement to the December issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene will address current issues related to the science of setting occupational exposure limits (OELs). The ten articles in the supplement resulted from collaborations between scientists at NIOSH, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), and other organizations. The article titles are:

  • State-of-the-Science: The Evolution of Occupational Exposure Limit Derivation and Application
  • Historical Context and Recent Advances in Exposure-Response Estimation for Deriving Occupational Exposure Limits
  • Advances in Inhalation Dosimetry Models and Methods for Occupational Risk Assessment and Exposure Limit Derivation
  • Systems Biology and Biomarkers of Early Effects for Occupational Exposure Limit Setting
  • The Scientific Basis of Uncertainty Factors Used in Setting Occupational Exposure Limits
  • Considerations for using Genetic and Epigenetic Information in Occupational Health Risk Assessment and Standard Setting
  • Setting Occupational Exposure Limits for Chemical Allergens—Understanding the Challenges
  • Exposure Estimation and Interpretation of Occupational Risk: Enhanced Information for the Occupational Risk Manager
  • Aggregate Exposure and Cumulative Risk Assessment—Integrating Occupational and Non-occupational Risk Factors
  • The Global Landscape of Occupational Exposure Limits—Implementation of Harmonization Principles to Guide Limit Selection

The supplement was co-edited by Lisa Brosseau, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health, and Jonathan Borak, clinical professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and a clinical professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. Most of the articles are currently available on the JOEH website. To access the articles online, AIHA members must first log in to the Member Center and click on the link to the Journal.

The supplement marks the end of a momentous year for JOEH. In January, the Journal debuted a new cover design, the first design change since JOEH launched in 2004. The new cover combines the colors of AIHA and ACGIH, which jointly publish JOEH.

In August, a commentary by Deborah Gold, MPH, CIH, on the health hazards facing performers in the adult film industry garnered significant media attention for JOEH. Gold is the former Deputy Chief of Health for Cal/OSHA. A press release about her article “An Industrial Hygienist Looks at Porn” was widely distributed and ran in more than 100 print and online media outlets.

Gold’s article is one of several recent JOEH papers that have addressed nontraditional OEHS topics. In 2013, the Journal published original research on noise exposures in professional hockey arenas and on the health effects for cosmetologists stemming from use of the hair-straightening product Brazilian Blowout, which was found to contain potentially dangerous amounts of formaldehyde. A later paper examined the risk of noise-induced hearing loss among professional French horn players. In 2014, a JOEH study established a link between obesity and significantly shorter endurance times for workers when performing workplace tasks.

“The JOEH and its predecessor journals were traditionally geared toward worker exposures to harmful agents,” said JOEH Editor in Chief Mark Nicas, PhD, CIH, in an e-mail. “Although the workplace remains our primary focus, the JOEH seeks to publish studies about adverse exposures involving consumers (the Brazilian Blowout product) and about non-traditional topics (the adult film industry). The principles of exposure science, a specialty of the occupational hygiene profession, clearly apply beyond the workplace. By broadening the JOEH focus, we hope to enhance our visibility among the general public and related technical professions.”

In addition to its openness to nontraditional topics, the Journal has significantly shortened the time between receiving a submission and notifying authors whether the article will be published. According to metrics presented at a meeting of the JOEH Editorial Review Board in June, for technical manuscripts submitted between June 2014 and May 2015, the median “time to first decision” was 37 days.

The Journal’s publisher, Taylor and Francis, also notes that articles are typically posted online within seven to ten days of acceptance.

Readers interested in submitting papers to JOEH will find instructions online. JOEH currently publishes traditional original articles on occupational health and safety topics. Where data may be limited but findings are relevant to the field, JOEH publishes peer-reviewed “case reports.” The journal also publishes commentaries, including historical perspectives on specific hazards or the field in general. Authors interested in submitting commentaries should first contact Mark Nicas.