KAY BECHTOLDis assistant editor for The Synergist®. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) referenced AIHA’s IH MOD and IH SkinPerm tools in a paper published in May on the risk assessment methodology for endocrine disruptors. This formal use of IH MOD and IH SkinPerm marks another instance in recent years of government agencies recognizing these tools.
Originally developed by AIHA members Tom Armstrong and Daniel Drolet, IH MOD is a flexible Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that uses basic modeling algorithms to help industrial hygienists conduct exposure assessments. Available in English, French, German, and Korean, IH MOD provides users with a basic understanding of each algorithm’s function, parameters, and results.
IH SkinPerm, a model for estimating dermal absorption, is also based in Excel. While IH SkinPerm is currently only available in English, Drolet hopes to have French and Dutch translations completed soon.
The collaborators who produced the French translation of IH MOD found each other by serendipity, Drolet explained. During a trip to Paris, Drolet visited a colleague of his at INRS, the National Research and Safety Institute for occupational accidents prevention in France, where he met Nicolas Bertrand, an occupational health and safety expert at the institute. Bertrand became interested in the IH MOD tool that Drolet had helped develop.
“Lacking a similar tool, INRS signed an agreement with AIHA on the translation and communication of IH MOD in France,” Bertrand explained. “Since then, I’ve used the tool while training French hygienists, and also use it for my own research.”
Bertrand, who is also an expert for ANSES, spread the word about IH MOD and IH SkinPerm at that agency as well, which ultimately led to the tools’ use in the recently published methodology paper. ANSES’ missions include risk assessment in the fields of food, the environment, and the workplace.
The use of IH MOD and IH SkinPerm is not limited to government agencies. According to Armstrong, industrial hygienists around the world, especially in Europe, are using these tools. Drolet is aware of committees in other French agencies who are using IH MOD, and he recently gave a presentation about the tool in Lausanne, Switzerland. Armstrong noted that the use of IH MOD has also been discussed in Belgium and Norway.
As the use of these tools becomes more widespread, the collaborators are working on improvements. “My project over the next year is to modify IH MOD to do Monte Carlo simulations to eliminate the need for a second software for this type of modeling,” said Drolet.
IH MOD and IH SkinPerm are available for free download at http://bit.ly/aiha_easc.
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FRENCH AGENCY LATEST TO USE AIHA'S IH MOD, IH SKINPERM TOOLS