Meet Us in Minneapolis
AIHce Returns to the City of Lakes 
Next month, the premier conference for industrial hygienists and occupational health and safety professionals will come to Minneapolis. By then, the frigid temperatures that descended on the city during the winter will be long gone, and AIHce attendees shouldn’t need to use the city’s famous Skyway System to stay comfortable as they walk from their hotels to the convention center and back again. (That’s not to say a trip around the skyways isn’t worthwhile.)  While the city itself has much to offer—you can find a list of the top ten attractions on the AIHce EXP Digest blog—the main attraction, as always, is the education on tap. Below, The Synergist highlights some of the education sessions that caught our eye. For more information, visit the conference websiteSPARKTALKS Sunday, May 19, 5:30–7:00 p.m. This new event fuses “Ignite” presentations with TED Talks as presenters share stories related to the theme “One Moment in Time.” Presentations are 5 minutes in length; the 20-slide PowerPoints automatically advance every 15 seconds. SPARKtalks is intended to be a casual atmosphere that provides networking opportunities. OPENING GENERAL SESSION: LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP Monday, May 20, 8:00–9:30 a.m. ASK THE EXPERT WITH CAREY LOHRENZ Monday, May 20, 10:00–11:00 a.m. Carey Lohrenz, the first woman to pilot a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat, will share her experiences as a trailblazer and draw connections between the physical and mental challenges of piloting a hulking fighter jet and the everyday demands of leadership in the professional world. No matter what we want to accomplish, we can be undone by our own fears and perceived limitations, Lohrenz says in a video available on the AIHce website. The same qualities that helped her succeed in the harsh working environment of a military fighter pilot can apply to other areas of life. Following her keynote address, Lohrenz will field questions from AIHce attendees during an “ask the expert” session.  HOT TUB CONFESSIONALS, PART 1 Monday, May 20, 10:00–11:00 a.m. HOT TUB CONFESSIONALS, PART 2 Monday, May 20, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. The eye-catching title of this two-part session refers, of course, to one of Legionella pneumophila’s favorite breeding grounds. Reported cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the United States have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing 5.5 times between 2000 and 2017, and those alarming numbers likely underestimate the true incidence, according to CDC. This session presents perspectives of the many professionals who must implement a water management program. Panelists for part 1 include a water filtration expert, a water treatment scientist, and an industrial hygienist. Part 2 features a physician, an attorney, and an IH. RELATED: See the cover article of this issue for information about a model IHs can use to identify water sources that need to be monitored for Legionella. CLOUD COMPUTING AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS IN INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE FIELD ANALYSIS Monday, May 20, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. According to one tech publication, up to 30 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2030, including not only everyday appliances like washing machines and refrigerators but industrial machines and manufacturing equipment. The unsatisfying name given to this phenomenon is the “Internet of Things,” and it has the potential to transform the practice of industrial hygiene due to advances in direct-reading technologies and the number-crunching capabilities of cloud-based “big data” applications. This session will explore how these technologies are making inroads in IH. RELATED:  Read “Predictive Purposes: Will Big Data Change Industrial Hygiene?” in the March 2018 Synergist. WHAT IS YOUR REAL-TIME DETECTOR REALLY TELLING YOU? Monday, May 20, 2:00–3:00 p.m. Advances in real-time detection technology have significantly outpaced the framework for interpreting and reporting the data these instruments provide. This session describes a collaboration between AIHA’s Real-Time Detection Systems Committee and the Department of Energy’s Energy Facilities Contractor Operating Group to create a draft logic for sensor configuration that allows for ethical interpretation of real-time data. Participants will learn about detector selectivity and the uncertainty of real-time data.  EXOSKELETONS AND EXOSUITS IN THE WORKPLACE—ASSESSING AND APPLYING CURRENT KNOWLEDGE Monday, May 20, 3:15–4:15 p.m. Wearable technology has been all the rage, seeping into nearly every aspect of life. Exoskeletons—wearable devices that help people lift and carry heavier loads—are perhaps one of the most promising developments of wearable tech for occupational health and safety purposes, but their potential to limit musculoskeletal injuries hasn’t yet been fully validated. This session shares research on the usability of exoskeletons and presents real-world experiences on how to deploy this technology safely, reliably, and effectively. RELATED: The Synergist has published a pair of recent feature articles that discuss exoskeletons. For an optimistic view of exoskeletons’ potential, read “Wearable Help” in the May 2016 issue. And “The Symbiotic Workplace” in the February 2018 Synergist discusses issues that should be included in a written exoskeleton control program. EFFECTIVE USE OF BIG DATA Tuesday, May 21, 8:00–9:00 a.m. Big Data has a big presence at AIHce EXP 2019, as you would expect for a topic that is one of AIHA’s research priorities. If you aren’t able to catch Monday night’s “bring your own dinner” session, “Strategies for Mobilizing and Using Archived Occupational Exposure Data,” try this Tuesday-morning session instead, which presents three case studies in the use of analytics in OHS.  RELATED: Read “Predictive Purposes” in the March 2018 Synergist. THE NEW OSHA SILICA RULE—WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED THUS FAR Tuesday, May 21, 8:00–9:00 a.m. This session examines the logs of one of the largest silica analysis labs in the U.S. to show trends, including data from samples taken after controls have been implemented. The session also includes a discussion of bad samples and preferred sampling methods. GAS AND VAPOR SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS Tuesday, May 21, 10:00–11:00 a.m. Three separate presentations address the testing of short-term gas detector tubes for the European standard EN 17621; OSHA’s plans to produce analytical methods for the use of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry in industrial hygiene; and the use of diffusive samplers in vapor intrusion studies and indoor air quality investigations. CASE STUDIES IN OPIOID DECONTAMINATION AND CLEANUP Tuesday, May 21, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. The extent of the opioids crisis is staggering: according to CDC, more than 130 people die every day in the U.S. from opioid-related overdoses, and, in 2017, more than eleven million people—4.2 percent of the population—misused prescription opioids. From an occupational health and safety perspective, much of the discussion about the opioid crisis has focused, understandably, on the potential for accidental exposures to EMTs, police, and others who respond to overdoses. This session addresses other important topics: sampling strategies, lab analysis, and interpretation of results; surface contamination of residences where illegal opioids are handled; and data on the efficacy of EPA’s fentanyl decontamination efforts. EMERGING DEVELOPMENTS IN CONSENSUS STANDARDS FOR SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS Tuesday, May 21, 3:15–4:15 p.m. This session focuses on standards released in the last two or three years from ISO, ASTM International, and other organizations. Attendees will learn about new or newly improved methods for sampling and laboratory analysis in the fields of workplace air, indoor environmental quality, and asbestos.
BIOHACKING AND INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE—PROTECTING PLIABLE POPULATIONS Tuesday, May 21, 4:30–5:30 p.m. It might not be long before “biohacking”—a term encompassing the use of electronic implants and gene editing—moves from curiosity to commonplace. This session explores the possible ramifications for industrial hygiene when workers start showing up on the factory floor with various technological enhancements. How do we protect workers with headphone implants from noise exposure? What do we do when gene editing renders an acceptable exposure unacceptable? DONALD E. CUMMINGS MEMORIAL AWARD LECTURE Tuesday, May 21, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Named after AIHA’s third president, this award has been presented since the mid-1940s to some of the most prestigious industrial hygiene practitioners in the history of the profession. Attending the lecture is perhaps the best way to celebrate the profession’s achievements. This year’s Cummings Award recipient is Noah Seixas, PhD, CIH. In his lecture, “Redefining Occupational Health for the New Economy,” Seixas will propose a new paradigm for the prevention of work-related health risks. Past Cummings Award recipients include Frank A. Patty, Warren Cook, and Alice Hamilton.
NIOSH RIGHT SENSORS USED RIGHT—REAL-TIME RESPIRABLE DUST MONITORS Tuesday, May 21, 4:30 p.m.—5:30 p.m. This session describes a new initiative of the NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies. “Right sensors used right” provides guidance on the selection and use of real-time sensors in occupational environments. Presentations will focus on correct identification of the right sensor for the hazard; best practices on calibration; and efforts to establish a protocol to assess and verify real-time respirable dust monitors. RELATED: Read “Quartz-Busters” in the February 2019 Synergist for a description of a potential application of direct-reading instruments for compliance with OSHA’s standard for silica in construction. MARK OF EXCELLENCE BREAKFAST Wednesday, May 22, 7:00–8:00 a.m. Celebrate the extraordinary contributions of AIHA’s volunteer community at this annual event. Entrance to the Mark of Excellence is a part of attendees’ conference registration. Guests must purchase tickets. For more information and a full list of the awards to be presented at this year’s breakfast, go to the AIHce website. NOTABLE CONFINED SPACES—UNIQUE RESCUES Wednesday, May 22, 9:00–10:00 a.m. In St. Paul, Minneapolis’neighboring city, a complex system of artificial caves near the Mississippi River has claimed a handful of lives since the 1990s and led to several search and rescue operations. In this session, responders from the City of St. Paul Fire Department describe a few of the rescues the department has participated in and the training that a specialized team of firefighters undergoes to prepare for times when underprepared explorers wander into the cave system.  RELATED: Read “Thinking Outside the Confined Space Box” in the September 2016 SynergistTHE GLOBAL STANDARD OF CARE—HOW CONSENSUS STANDARDS HELP INDUSTRIAL HYGIENISTS Wednesday, May 22, 9:00–10:00 a.m. It’s been a banner year for occupational health and safety standards. First, in March 2018, the International Organization for Standardization released ISO 45001, the first global standard for occupational health and safety management systems. And the American National Standards Institute is due to release a revision to the ANSI Z10 OHSMS standard before the end of 2019. This session explains how these and other consensus standards contribute to the development of a global standard of care—the unification and harmonization of standards for the protection of workers worldwide. RELATED: The Long Road to ISO 45001” in the June/July 2018 Synergist offers an overview of this essential standard. Look to the March 2019 issue for the article “Active Safety,” which discusses the forthcoming revision of ANSI Z10. PERCEPTIONS OF ODOR—APPLYING ODOR PARAMETER DATA TO TOXICOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENTS Wednesday, May 22, 9:00–10:00 a.m.  Smells tend to either raise or lower individuals’ alarm about potential health hazards. This session posits that addressing odor concerns will become an increasing area of focus for many health professionals. The presenters will discuss the importance of considering odor properties such as threshold, intensity, and character as part of a comprehensive risk assessment. WHEN HIGHLY INFECTIOUS DISEASES ARE KNOCKING AT YOUR DOOR Wednesday, May 22, 2:15–3:15 p.m. International travel and global trade have contributed to the spread of highly hazardous communicable diseases, but predicting the emergence of HHCDs remains challenging. Recent experiences with Ebola outbreaks have shown that industrial hygiene should play a role in any effective response. This session discusses lessons learned from recent HHCD outbreaks.  RELATED: Read “No Boundaries: IH’s Role in Preventing the Transmission of Highly Hazardous Communicable Diseases” in the April 2018 Synergist. CLOSING GENERAL SESSION—REINVENTING HEALTH CARE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY Wednesday, May 22, 3:30–4:30 p.m. Dr. Leslie Saxon, executive director of the Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California, discusses “lifecare”—the use of connected devices to allow individuals more control over information and services related to healthcare. According to Dr. Saxon, lifecare is a narrative approach to healthcare with the patient as storyteller, and it dovetails nicely with NIOSH’s Total Worker Health initiative.  
AIHce EXP 2019 will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, May 20–22. Visit for more information or to register.