Saturday, May 30, 2015

Risk Assessment and the American Industrial Hygiene Association

The American Industrial Hygiene Association has made great strides in the realm of human health exposure and risk assessment in the last 20 years or so.   I had frankly not thought of it in this manner but it became obvious to me when a friend and colleague, Dr. Jack Hamilton (Bostik, Inc) mentioned this happy fact during a recent visit I made to his workplace.

Jack is a toxicologist with a strong technical background in risk assessment.  When I started explaining the various tools for Industrial Hygienists that have been developed by AIHA volunteer groups, he made what is now an obvious but dramatic point; specifically, the AIHA has made substantial and dramatic advances in the practical development of human health exposure assessment.

The annual American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition is happening this week in Salt Lake City.  Given Jack’s comment and my new found appreciation, I thought I would outline what I see as the highlights of these offerings.   The following is a partial cut and paste from the Exposure Assessment Strategies Committee web site:

TOOLS (For the Practicing Industrial Hygienist)


The following software tools provide the practicing industrial hygienist with quick and easy access to the information necessary to evaluate exposure profiles and determine if the exposures are acceptable, not acceptable or if more data is needed to make the determination of acceptability. The tools are all free and are regularly updated. Several are available in multiple languages.   
·         New IHSTAT /  IHSTAT Macro Free Version: Excel applications that calculate a variety of exposure statistitics, performs goodness of fit tests and graphs exposure data. Multiple languages available.  
The links below will show you how to adjust the macros settings in your version of Excel, if needed  
  •  IH MOD: Includes mathematical models for estimating occupational exposures. Multiple  Languages   Click on this link for IH MOD General Help 
  • IH SkinPerm: Excel application for estimating dermal exposures. Factors in evaporation and
    absorption. The manual for IH SkinPerm is available separately.    


These free software products represent literally thousands of volunteer hours of technical effort by some of the top workers in the field.

They come associated with perhaps the best and most authoritative books available on the subject of occupational exposure assessment:

A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures, 3rd edition
Edited by Joselito S. Ignacio and William H. Bullock (NOTE: THE 4TH EDITION IS COMING VERY SOON!)

Mathematical Models for Estimating Occupational Exposure to Chemicals, 2nd Edition
Edited by Charles B. Keil, Catherine E. Simmons, and T. Renee Anthony

This is probably a good place to mention a book we published in 2000 that I believe still has some value:

Risk Assessment Principles for the Industrial Hygienist, M.A. Jayjock, J.R. Lynch and D.I. Nelson
You can view this entire book on or buy it in either pdf or hardcopy at:

In all, the body of work put out by the AIHA volunteers especially over the last 20 years has indeed been remarkable but it is not finished.  As mentioned above, the 4th Edition of the basic strategies book is due out any day now.  Revisions to the modeling software are constantly being made.

If you want to become a part of this movement, the AIHA and the various committees would welcome you!  Indeed, if you are going to Salt Lake City next week please consider coming to the meetings of the Exposure Strategies Committee, the Risk Assessment Committee, The Toxicology Committee or any other committee that might strike your interest.  It is a great place to learn and grow.


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