Responses to “Ethics and Scope of Work”
The May 2019 Synergist included an article by Alan Leibowitz that presented two fictional ethical dilemmas in which industrial hygienists must choose between a realistic assessment of their technical capabilities and a concern for their financial sustainability. The two scenarios are reprinted below, followed by responses from Synergist readers. The Joint Industrial Hygiene Associations Member Ethical Principles are available on AIHA's website (PDF).

SCENARIO 1  Chloe graduated from a prestigious university with a Master of Science degree in chemistry in the 1980s. Her first job was in the safety department of a major poultry supplier where she was quickly recognized as a rising star and asked to obtain her CIH to provide more flexibility in the areas she could address. She studied hard and passed on her first try. For the next 20 years she worked in positions of ever-increasing responsibility for a variety of food and beverage firms. Her responsibilities focused on food safety and sanitation to control employee exposures and prevent potential product contamination. 
As she gained greater professional recognition and experience, she decided that she would like to try working for herself. She opened an independent consulting practice, which continued to focus on the food industry. Initially her industry contacts and reputation enabled a lucrative and professionally satisfying book of business. Over time, however, an increasing number of her clients decided to use larger firms with in-house laboratories. Her business began to struggle.  A neighbor, aware of the challenges Chloe was facing, informed her of a major solicitation her employer had put out for bid, relating to lead paint sampling and analysis, that required a CIH. The neighbor suggested that she was in a position to influence the decision and ensure that Chloe was selected. Chloe was torn: she had no experience with lead contamination, but how hard could it be to address such a basic IH concern? Should Chloe take on such a serious project despite having no experience in this area? Doing so may not provide the level of performance the contract clearly anticipates, but Chloe could study the basics of the issue and meet the minimum contract requirements. Should Chloe allow her neighbor to influence the awarding of the contract in her favor? Consider the possible obligations of a consultant to ensure appropriate behavior by a potential client. What ethical issues should Chloe consider as she does her analysis? What is Chloe’s primary ethical responsibility? RESPONSES TO SCENARIO 1 I start with the first sentence: Chloe obtained a Master of Science in chemistry in the 1980s. If her studies included the types of analysis for lead, and if she has those skills even though they might not have been used recently, that is one burden to meet. If she can meet the qualifications of the contract, that is the second burden to meet. 
Then you throw in the neighbor putting weight in her favor. That is the sticking point. Would the neighbor influence the decision in a way that would harm the employer? Is Chloe's price higher, or have any competitors’ prices been discussed with Chloe? That would be a red flag.  I see a fine line here between a "recommendation" vs. being given the job and ignoring deficiencies. We all seek recommendations. A digital Synergist reader Can Chloe meet the requirements set forth in the request for quotation? Having a Master’s in Chemistry I think gives her the proper understanding of lead analysis.  There is always a first time for everything. Chloe should have enough resources to be able to find out all the requirements for lead testing. With 20 years’ experience, I would think she has enough connections who can give guidance to proper lead testing (how to avoid pitfalls).  Regarding the neighbor’s influence, I don't see it as a problem as long as no sharing of competitive pricing is involved.  Chloe should be allowed to expand her line of business. If asked about her experience with lead, she should be truthful. A digital Synergist reader Despite the fact that Chloe may meet certain basic requirements of the case, problems may arise with honesty and ethical attitude towards the client. Considering an assistance and work partners won’t affect Chloe’s position; in fact, it will ensure transparency and professionalism, and provide the high quality results the client is looking for. Salem Bamatraf
“I see a fine line here between a ‘recommendation’ vs. being given the job and ignoring deficiencies.”
Editor’s note: The scenarios described in this article are fictitious and are intended to highlight ethical issues in the practice of industrial hygiene. Any resemblance to real people or organizations is coincidental.

SCENARIO 2  Ivan has had a long and successful industrial hygiene career at Nuclear Notions, Inc. (NNI), a supplier of luxury home fallout shelters. While the company does not build the shelters themselves, they provide a full range of interior finishes and furnishings. These shelters are almost always buried underground and have sophisticated ventilation systems to filter incoming air and to maintain a safe and comfortable living environment for what might be long-term occupants. All products are selected for minimum impact on these ventilation and filtration resources.  Historically, many of the products NNI installs came with rigorous, but not legally required, certifications. These certifications document that they are safe and do not pose a risk to occupants from potential compromise of the ventilation due to off-gassing from the materials used in their construction. As part of an initial effort to reduce costs, NNI has identified a less expensive international supplier for one of their product lines who has committed to meet all previous standards. However, they do not have an EHS professional to certify products. Ivan’s boss asks him if he would be a “team player” and sign the certification since the product specifications would not be changing with this new supplier.  Ivan does not have experience in such analyses but is familiar with the existing process and accepts that if the products are identical to existing stock, then there is no new risk to consumers. His budget cannot support complete outside laboratory analysis, but he does have various sampling devices that he would use to test similar products in the work environment.  While he is uncomfortable with his options, Ivan is aware that the company needs to become more profitable if it is to survive. He believes that the company’s leadership is committed to providing safe products and that this expansion of his role is evidence of their confidence in his professional capabilities. He also believes that his career at NNI depends, in part, on his being seen as a “team player.”  How does an IH determine when to verify information provided by a third party? Can an IH certify the safety of consumer products? Does Ivan have an obligation to go beyond legal requirements to ensure that new products meet historic internal standards? Given that this is the initial instance of what is promised to be a broader cost-saving effort, how should Ivan ensure that future cost-saving efforts properly address IH concerns? What ethical issues should Ivan consider as he does his analysis? What is Ivan’s primary ethical responsibility?  RESPONSE TO SCENARIO 2 Ivan should never sign off on something as "just like the other product" if no testing has been done. The employer has to recognize the professional standard of the CIH—that in part is why a CIH is hired.  Negotiate with the employer. Express the willingness to be a team player. If not enough money is available for outside testing but internal sensors/tests can attest to no off-gassing, then come up with a way that this can be expressed and meet the employer's needs and not violate any ethical standard for Ivan.
Ivan's primary ethical responsibility is to be honest and not bullied into signing anything that has not been verified. A digital Synergist reader