DEPARTMENTS
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EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT
Support for Banding
AIHA Committee Seeks to Advance
Applications of Exposure and Control Banding
BY STEVEN JAHN
As incoming chair of the Exposure and Control Banding Committee, I sought the counsel of longstanding committee members in preparation for the ECBC’s meeting at AIHce EXP 2018. At the time, my insight into banding was limited to a logical extension of my exposure assessment experiences, where judgments flow from data (air or wipe samples, models, peer-reviewed literature) compared to occupational exposure limits, which establish an allowable risk. With the advent of the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding eTool, I hoped to expand the utility of the exposure assessment process by using occupational exposure bands to create OELs where none had been established by authoritative or regulatory sources. Unfortunately, I found that few practitioners were using OEBs in this manner for exposure assessment judgments. Through AIHA’s new communication platform, Catalyst, ECBC member Mike Phibbs started a discussion that addressed the distinctions between control banding, a technique for determining a control measure based on a range or “band” of hazards, and occupational exposure banding (which is also known as hazard banding). Writing in the March 2016 Synergist, NIOSH’s Lauralynn Taylor McKernan, Melissa Seaton, and Stephen Gilbert provided some helpful context for these terms:
Occupational exposure banding is a mechanism for quickly and accurately assigning chemicals into categories (“bands”) on the basis of potency and health outcomes associated with exposure to chemicals. The output of this process is an occupational exposure band (OEB). Several similar terms are in use, including hazard banding, health hazard banding, exposure banding, and occupational exposure banding. In Europe, hazard banding is more common because it is used with control banding systems such as Stoffenmanager and the Advanced REACH Tool (ART). 
NIOSH uses the term occupational exposure banding because the methodology derives an OEB based upon health outcomes and potency. Stakeholders can apply an OEB to identify an appropriate control strategy and to make risk management decisions. Some stakeholders may use OEBs in concert with control banding, but others will not.
Among the twenty respondents to the Catalyst post, it was clear that the manner of exposure assessment was not nearly as important as actions informed by the resulting conclusions of the exposure analysis. With that in mind, the ECBC can be invaluable to leverage limited technical resources in our profession.  This article provides the ECBC’s perspective on further advancement of applications of occupational exposure banding and control banding to industrial and occupational hygiene.
STEVEN JAHN, CIH, is a technical advisor for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC in Aiken, S.C. He can be reached via email.
Four projects to be undertaken by AIHA’s Exposure and Control Banding Committee.
ECBC PROJECTS As McKernan and T.J. Lentz explained in the May 2018 Synergist, users of OEBs have expressed a need for resources, documentation, and guidance. AIHA has also identified hazard banding as a “research priority,” which means that AIHA is prioritizing activities that will help deploy hazard banding and occupational exposure banding tools. To help achieve this goal, the ECBC is undertaking the following projects. Project 1: Polling practitioners. The ECBC will poll its sixty members on their positive experiences with occupational exposure banding and control banding and future desires for these tools. This poll will help clarify the content of a survey that will be sent to the broader AIHA membership. The results of that survey will inform the committee about ways to promote use of these tools.  Project 2: Soliciting and assembling case studies. Case studies are the best way to inform members about the utility of banding approaches. The ECBC seeks case studies in applied use of the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Banding eTool for the development of OEBs. These cases studies will be included in planned updates of the 2007 AIHA publication “Guidance for Conducting Control Banding Analyses.” In addition, as proposed by presenters at AIHce EXP 2018, case studies for banding approaches related to emergency planning, indoor air quality, and screening of exposures will also be collated. The result will be a well-grounded set of case studies for use in researching and validating banding models.  Project 3: Advancing concepts to curriculum. A significant shift is occurring in the core of industrial hygiene practice that will drive more organizations to frame exposure management to hazards at the appropriate “band” of risk. As a result, two very important communities must be engaged: the leaders of AIHA’s student sections and local sections, to promote training sessions on banding topics; and formal educators at schools accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI), who will need to adopt resources on banding and demonstrate their utility through case studies to educate the next generation of industrial hygiene practitioners. The 2007 AIHA guidance document on control banding addressed issues related to interpretation of the results of banding. Similarly, in 2014, OSHA published a request for information that acknowledged the difficulty of using banding approaches to demonstrate regulatory compliance. The ECBC will be watching the published literature and OSHA communications regarding these issues in order to develop future information for training and education. Project 4: Supporting novel uses. Finally, the promotion of banding is not the domain of AIHA alone. In collaboration with the AIHA Exposure Assessment Strategies Committee’s Dermal Exposure Team, the ECBC will be studying the utility of banding approaches to dermal surfaces. Jointly, we hope to respond to a request for information about banding with specific direction and case studies for using banding tools in exposure management to support the development of an ISO standard. TOWARD BETTER BANDING If you would like to help with these projects or learn about current uses of banding tools, please consider joining the ECBC. More information about the ECBC is available on AIHA’s website. Direct any interest or inquiry to me or to ECBC Vice Chair Megan Sandy.