AIHce Daily: Highlights from Baltimore

AIHce 2016 was held May 21–26, in Inner Harbor Baltimore, Md. Browse conference news from The Synergist below.

Thursday, June 9

Cummings Awardee Urges Industrial Hygienists to Consider Risks Beyond Exposure
AIHA Fellow Fred Boelter, CIH, PE, BCEE, urged AIHce attendees to expand their professional focus beyond exposure during the Donald E. Cummings Memorial Award Lecture on Wednesday, May 25, at AIHce 2016. Boelter, who was introduced by former AIHA President Christine A.D. Lorenzo, CIH, as a “walking body of knowledge” on risk management, environmental engineering, and industrial hygiene, explained that to continue to improve worker health in today’s changing workplace, industrial hygienists must “learn and express a new language” related to the larger world of risk, which includes both occupational and non-occupational risk. READ MORE

Tuesday, June 1

Labor, Industry Get Behind Proposed Beryllium PEL
Comments on OSHA’s proposed rule for beryllium indicate wide support for lowering the agency’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) from the current 2 µg/m3 to 0.2 µg/m3, according to a representative from OSHA’s directorate of enforcement. Speaking last week at AIHce 2016 in Baltimore, Tiffany Defoe, a health scientist in OSHA’s Office of Chemical Hazards, summarized feedback the agency received in response to the proposed rule, which would require employers to measure workers’ exposures to beryllium, limit their access to areas where exposures exceed the PEL, implement controls for reducing exposures, and train workers about beryllium-related hazards. READ MORE

Thursday, May 26

Software Firm Leads the Way toward Sustainable, Health-protective 3-D Printing
The vast promise and significant challenges of 3-D printing were on display at AIHce 2016 yesterday as Julia Cabral, the global environmental health and safety manager for the software company Autodesk, described her staff’s efforts to make the revolutionary process safer for both humans and the environment. READ MORE

Wednesday, May 25

NIOSH Introduces New Tool for Skin Exposures during Emergency Response
In a presentation today at AIHce 2016, Naomi Hudson, DrPH, a NIOSH epidemiologist, introduced attendees to a new tool for assessing the hazards of skin contact with chemicals during emergency response activities. READ MORE

Mark of Excellence Breakfast

 AIHce attendees recognized the extraordinary contributions made by dedicated members and volunteers to the industrial hygiene profession at the Mark of Excellence Breakfast.

Tuesday, May 24

Investigative Report “Unvarnished” Spurs Health, Safety Improvements in New York Nail Salons

Sarah Maslin Nir of The New York Times recounted her 13-month investigation into the exploitation and health hazards faced by workers in New York City’s nail salon industry during the 16th Annual Upton Sinclair Lecture for Outstanding EHS Investigative Reporting today at AIHce 2016. Nir’s investigation “Unvarnished” was published last May in two parts, “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers” and “The Price of Nice Nails,” and sparked quick action in the state. Soon after her articles hit the streets, New York Governor Cuomo introduced a new state law to raise the health and safety standards in nail salons. Nir’s long months of work had paid off. READ MORE

AIHce Morning Show: Howard and Michaels Explore New Developments, Challenges

Attendees gathered early on Tuesday for the “AIHce Morning Show,” featuring prominent occupational and environmental health and safety agency leaders Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels, PhD, MPH, and NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, MPH, JD, LL. In a wide-ranging discussion moderated by AIHA President Daniel H. Anna, Phd, CIH, CSP, Michaels and Howard updated the audience on new developments and challenges at their respective agencies. READ MORE

Yant Awardees Recount Successes of Global IH Training Program
Ten years ago, Roger Alesbury and Stephen Bailey began discussing a ​topic that concerned them greatly: the vast gulf between the need for industrial hygiene expertise around the world and the number of industrial hygienists available to fill it. Motivated by the estimated 2 million lives lost each year to occupational disease and 35 million new cases of work-related illness due to chemical exposures, according to the International Labor Organization, Alesbury and Bailey began laying the foundation for what may now be the world’s best hope for protecting worker health in developing nations. READ MORE

“More than Just a Number”: Lee Lecturer Defends Occupational Health Guidelines
During the annual Jeffrey S. Lee Lecture at AIHce yesterday, Patrick Breysse, PhD, CIH, issued a strong defense of independent occupational health guidelines, arguing that exposure limits produced by nonprofit organizations and government agencies are indispensable tools for worker protection. READ MORE 


Monday, May 23

Ethics Debate at AIHce Centers on IH Capacity in Developing Countries
Rita, a CIH and the new vice president for Product Stewardship at a U.S.-based apparel company, visits suppliers in Southeast Asia and finds a number of safety violations: blocked exits, incapacitated fire suppression devices, excessive noise and dust. When she returns, Rita informs senior managers that the potential consequences of these safety problems include immediate risk to workers’ lives and incalculable damage to the company’s brand. The senior managers, including the CEO, argue that the situation in the factories is not their responsibility. What should Rita do? This scenario was one of several hypothetical ethical dilemmas under discussion at “International IH Ethics Debate,” an interactive session held today at AIHce 2016. READ MORE

Smyth Award Winner Urges Precautionary Approach to Engineered Nanomaterials
In a wide-ranging talk titled “The Challenge of Setting Occupational Exposure Limits for Engineered Nanomaterials,” Dr. Michael Ellenbecker, ScD, CIH, discussed the uncertain toxicology surrounding engineered nanomaterials and his concerns for protecting people and the environment from these exposures, which he said is especially critical when it comes to carbon nanotubes (CNTs). READ MORE

NASA Chief Engineer Touches Down at AIHce 2016

Dr. Adam D. Steltzner kicked off AIHce 2016 on Monday morning with the engaging tale of landing the Mars rover Curiosity on the Red Planet in 2012. READ MORE​​