Introducing the Industrial Hygiene Chemist Certification By C.R. (Gus) Manning and Mark O’Mara
Through its Chemist Recognition Project, the AIHA Sampling and Laboratory Analysis Committee (SLAC) sought to identify opportunities for AIHA to offer additional training and recognition that would strengthen the connection between IH chemists and the industrial hygiene community they serve. While many analytical chemists rely on training provided by the American Chemical Society and other organizations, ACS training does not include specific aspects of industrial hygiene practice that would help lab analysts gain an understanding of the sampling process and sample matrix of collected IH samples.
The new Industrial Hygiene Chemist certification, jointly sponsored by AIHA, AIHA Registry Programs, and the National Registry of Certified Chemists, provides an avenue to assess and recognize the competence of IH lab chemists who routinely perform lab analysis of IH samples. NRCC is a nonprofit organization that certifies certain laboratory professionals. AIHA and ACS nominate individuals to serve on NRCC’s board of directors.
If you are an industrial hygienist collecting samples for a client or employer, you will naturally desire that your samples be analyzed by a professional who understands the sampling process and sample matrix. For that reason, you would choose an accredited laboratory or a laboratory that participates in a proficiency testing program for relevant IH samples since these programs operate under ISO standards. Certification of IH chemists provides additional confidence in the individuals analyzing the samples.
To certify an IH chemist, an NRCC panel reviews applicants’ qualifications, including their education and experience, and allows qualified applicants to sit for a written exam in which they may demonstrate an understanding of the principles of industrial hygiene analytical chemistry as described on the NRCC website. Partial exam preparation is provided by two AIHA training courses, Introduction to IH Analytical Chemistry and Intermediate Topics in IH Analytical Chemistry.
Readers might wonder how an Industrial Hygiene Chemist differs from a Certified Industrial Hygienist. While a CIH is recognized to be a well-rounded generalist who understands all aspects of industrial hygiene, one of which is lab analysis, an Industrial Hygiene Chemist is understood to be a specialist in laboratory analysis who has attained a deeper understanding of this aspect of the profession.
Because lab analysis has always been a critical subspecialty of IH, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH, now the Board for Global EHS Credentialing) formerly offered a Chemical Aspects CIH exam that covered both “general practice” and “chemical aspects.” While this exam recognized the importance of chemistry in industrial hygiene, the Chemical Aspects CIH required applicants to demonstrate a broad, general knowledge of industrial hygiene, which chemists dedicated to lab analysis did not perceive as valuable. In 2000, ABIH ceased offering the Chemical Aspects certification. The Industrial Hygiene Chemist certification reasserts the importance of IH chemistry in the overall practice of industrial hygiene.

Editor's note: This article was edited Dec. 21, 2023, to remove references to the "CIHC" abbreviation, which the National Registry of Certified Chemists does not use. For more information about the Industrial Hygiene Chemist certification, visit the NRCC website.
C.R. (Gus) Manning, PhD, CIH (certified under the Chemical Aspects rubric), FAIHA, is an NRCC board member and the founder and chief technical officer at Assay Technology, a manufacturer of personal monitoring badges that operates several ISO/AIHA-accredited laboratories.
Mark O’Mara, CIH, FAIHA, started as an analytical chemist before moving into field work as a CIH (certified under the general CIH rubric), then migrated back to IH lab analysis later in his career at Eli Lilly, a major pharmaceutical company. He is also an NRCC board member.
Comment on Proposed ERPGs
The Emergency Response Planning Committee of the AIHA Guideline Foundation seeks public comments on newly proposed Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPGs), which are air concentration guidelines for single exposures to agents. The committee is proposing ERPGs for hydrogen peroxide. According to NIOSH, workers in many industries may be exposed to hydrogen peroxide, including healthcare workers and workers in poultry plants that use hydrogen peroxide in chemical disinfectants.
The proposed ERPGs are available in a PDF download from the AIHA Guideline Foundation’s website under the subheading “Call for Public Comments.” In addition to comments, the committee encourages individuals to share additional references or resources for consideration. Feedback will be accepted until close of business on April 10.
ERPGs are intended for use as tools to assess the adequacy of accident prevention and emergency response plans, including transportation emergency planning, community emergency response plans, and incident prevention and mitigation.
New “Healthier Workplaces” Website Launches A new website launched by AIHA is intended to help employers, workers, and consumers manage exposures to a variety of hazards at both work and home. The “Healthier Workplaces” website provides free resources developed by occupational and environmental health and safety professionals focused on worker health and well-being, including information about keeping workplaces safe from infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. Consumer users can also learn how to address health risks in their homes arising from natural disasters such as wildfires and floods.
The Healthier Workplaces website comprises three sections: consumer health and safety resources, which address topics such as indoor air quality, disaster preparedness and response, and young worker safety training; workplace resources, including guidance documents for employers and employees grouped by industry and job role; and a video podcast series, which covers timely, informative topics on industrial hygiene and OEHS issues.
Visit the new site at healthierworkplaces.org.
L’Oréal Pledges Support to Commit to C.A.R.E. Program A public education initiative called Commit to C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity) is helping employers who commit to pledge their support to this effort by providing them with free tools and resources to address the transmission of infectious diseases. The beauty brand L’Oréal is the latest global employer to sign on as a Commit to C.A.R.E. partner. The initiative was launched by AIHA in partnership with IBEC, the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium.
Businesses as well as public health and occupational health and safety organizations continue to join the Commit to C.A.R.E. initiative. These include the National Safety Council, the Society for Critical Care Medicine, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, ABSA International, and the Indoor Air Quality Association Australia, among others.
Read more in AIHA’s press release.
In Memoriam Geoffrey Braybrooke, PEng, CIH, passed away on Jan. 13. He was 68. Braybrooke worked for the Defense Centers for Public Health in Maryland for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of an achievement medal for civilian service from the U.S. Army for his work under hazardous conditions in response to the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Read his obituary online in The Baltimore Sun.
AIHA is also mourning the deaths of former member Micah Kendrick and his colleagues Gunter Beaty, Kyle Bennett, Sean Sweeney, and Glenmarkus Walker. All five were on board a small aircraft when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Feb. 22. All were employed by Little Rock-based environmental consulting firm CTEH.
“All of us at AIHA extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families, friends, and colleagues,” AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan said in a statement.
Notice of Annual Business Meeting AIHA’s annual business meeting will be held at AIHce EXP 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona, at 5 p.m. Phoenix local time on Wednesday, May 24, to introduce incoming officers and directors and address other association business. In order to establish a quorum for this meeting, a call for proxy votes will be made electronically.
AIHA Supports Relief Efforts for Türkiye-Syria Earthquake In response to the devastation caused by the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria in early February, AIHA donated $5,000 to support the relief efforts of the humanitarian aid organization UNICEF in the two countries. AIHA encourages members and partner organizations to make donations to organizations administering relief services for people affected by this disaster. Read more in AIHA’s press release.
Give Back to the Profession The mission of the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF) is to advance the profession by awarding scholarships for funding education and professional development in industrial hygiene and related disciplines. Since 1982, AIHF has distributed more than $2 million in scholarship funds to students pursuing degrees in industrial hygiene or occupational and environmental health and safety.
Donations to AIHF help ensure that deserving students preparing for careers in IH can pursue their educational goals. Information about making a donation to the Foundation can be found on the AIHF website.
Dates and Deadlines April 10 Deadline to submit comments on proposed ERPGs for hydrogen peroxide.
April 13 Florida AIHA 2023 Spring Conference in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
April 25 AIHA University webinar: “Strategies for Effective Risk Communication.”
May 22–24 AIHce EXP 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
May 24 AIHA’s annual business meeting.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.