DANIEL H. ANNA, PhD, CIH, CSP, is president of AIHA and senior industrial hygienist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He can be reached at (240) 228-1980 or
A Single Vision
In the opening session at AIHce 2015 in Salt Lake City, Alison Levine talked about her team’s expedition to climb Mount Everest. She described the process of repeatedly climbing and descending the same sections of the mountain to allow the opportunity to acclimate to the altitude. She also discussed her failure to reach the summit, and her subsequent successful climb years later. AIHA, as an association, and industrial hygiene, as a profession, have faced our Everest several times in the past 20 years. Our mountain is the need for a single membership-based industrial hygiene professional association in the United States. We were close to the summit once: in June 2009, AIHA and ACGIH released a joint press release that stated, “ACGIH and the American Industrial Hygiene Association announced today plans to develop a closer alliance with one another. This proposed alliance is an opportunity for ACGIH and AIHA to do what each organization does best while cooperating more closely than ever before.” Although the response from members was overwhelmingly positive, the weight of history prevented us from moving toward the future. Perhaps our repeated attempts and shortfalls have simply been our way of acclimatizing to the idea. Maybe we need to take Levine's advice: “Don’t look at that backtracking as losing ground… [it is an] opportunity to regroup and regain strength to be better the next time around.”
If industrial hygiene were a new profession today, we would not establish multiple membership-based professional associations in the U.S.