Workshop Explores Uses of IH Exposure Data for Occupational Risk Assessment
Last August, AIHA held the first in a series of planned workshops on occupational risk assessment. That workshop was developed to facilitate discussions on changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that require EPA to evaluate and manage risks posed by existing chemicals in commerce, including chemicals used in the occupational environment. To fulfill this responsibility, EPA has been requesting occupational exposure data from affected industries. However, because of the differences in the traditional IH approach and the EPA risk assessment process, the available facility IH data sometimes does not address the range of exposures or processes of interest to EPA. A better understanding of IH exposure and risk assessment practices will benefit all stakeholders in the risk assessment community of practice.
The second workshop in the Many Paths – One Goal series, which was held on April 20, elaborated on the many reasons why IH data are collected and how approaches vary depending upon the objective of the exposure assessment. For example, because OEHS professionals are often concerned with addressing potential occupational overexposures, they divide workers into similar exposure groups (SEGs), and through exposure prioritization efforts, focus direct measurement efforts on the SEGs with the highest expected exposures. Speakers and panelists discussed, for example, the fact that IH data sets often reflect high-end exposures to particular substances, rather than a randomized assessment of the range of exposures for all workers. Moreover, in some cases, extensive exposure assessment and data collection is not feasible.
In TSCA risk evaluation, EPA must assess potential health risks from exposures for all workers within defined conditions of use (COUs), not just those with the highest exposures or for a specific facility or site. For this reason, IH data from an individual site or small set of sites—while still useful to EPA—might not be representative of the totality or variability of exposures among workers throughout the United States. EPA’s risk evaluations group industry sectors into COUs (for example, manufacturing, processing) and further define specific “occupational exposure scenarios,” or OESs, associated with that COU. A COU can encompass multiple OESs; similarly, an OES can be mapped to multiple COUs. Gaining an understanding of the intended uses of data and risk decisions to be made ensures that data are grouped and analyzed in a manner that meets the objectives of the risk assessment.
As discussed in the workshop, an EPA TSCA risk evaluation is intended to characterize potential human health risk, while a traditional IH assessment typically seeks to assess potential exposures for regulatory compliance purposes or to manage specific workplace risks. Further, the metrics used in IH risk assessments and EPA assessments can differ by duration (full-shift exposures or short-term exposures); the type of hazard (chronic or acute); and the objective of the risk assessment (for example, to comply with regulations or to verify the effectiveness of controls).
Three workshops remain in the series, which is being organized by AIHA and the Foundation for Chemistry Research & Initiatives (FCRI). The next workshop, to be held June 29, 2023, will focus on exposure modeling. None of the workshops will be recorded, so anyone interested in occupational risk assessment should plan to attend. Registration for the series is required. To register, visit the workshop series home page.
Ed Rutkowski is editor in chief of The Synergist.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in longer form on the SynergistNOW blog.
AIHA Accolades Congratulations to AIHA member Amy Liu, CIH, of Sound Testing Inc., who was recently appointed as a member of the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health. The committee advises OSHA on issues related to the health and safety of workers in the maritime industry that will result in more effective enforcement, training, outreach programs, and streamlined regulatory efforts. Read more in OSHA’s press release.
Longtime AIHA member James R. Thornton, CSP, CIH, FASSP, FAIHA, will serve as the president of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) for 2023–2024. He previously served as president of AIHA in 1999. Thornton is the 2003 recipient of the Distinguished Service to AIHA Award, and in 2012 he received AIHA’s Henry F. Smyth Jr. Award. Read more in ASSP’s press release.
Call for New AIHA LAP Volunteers AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs (LAP) is seeking qualified volunteers to fill positions on the Analytical Accreditation Board (AAB) and the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to serve terms beginning in March 2024.
The AAB is responsible for approving laboratories for accreditation and reaccreditation once site assessments are conducted. AAB members are also responsible for approving policy changes and participating on ad hoc task forces formed to address certain policy matters that may arise. TAP members advise the staff and AAB on technical laboratory matters and review accreditation packages for the major programs: industrial hygiene, environmental lead, environmental microbiology, food, and unique scopes.
AAB and TAP applications are available from the AIHA LAP website. Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2023.
For additional information, please email AIHA LAP Managing Director Cheryl O. Morton. More information about AIHA LAP is available online.
AIHA Announces 2023 Hamilton Club Members In April, AIHA announced the 2023 members of the Hamilton Club, an exclusive partner program comprising industry partners that bolster AIHA's initiatives on the highest levels and across many platforms, through sponsorship, advertising, support for the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation, and other methods.
The 2023 Hamilton Club members include the following industry partners, categorized in tiers by their respective financial contributions: Amazon (Platinum Level); EMSL Analytical, SGS Galson, and SKC Inc. (Diamond Level); Casella (Gold Level); and AccuTec, Assay Technology, the Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BGC), DuPont Personal Protection, OHD, Sensidyne LP, TSI Incorporated, and VelocityEHS (Silver Level).
“As always, we’re very proud to collaborate with such an esteemed group of industry partners and of all that we've been able to accomplish together so far,” said Laura Cilano Garcia, AIHA’s director of strategic partnerships.
More information about the Hamilton Club is available from AIHA’s website.
Noise Manual Wins AIHA Critics’ Choice Award AIHA’s Content Portfolio Advisory Group has selected the sixth edition of The Noise Manual as the winner of the 2022 Critics’ Choice Award. This publication addresses noise-related issues in workplaces and communities, with a focus on hearing-loss prevention strategies, and is also the association’s 2022 bestseller. The new edition includes chapters dedicated to topics such as the global burden of noise-induced hearing loss and the complex interactions of noise and chemicals. The sixth edition editors—Deanna K. Meinke, PhD, CCC-A; Elliot H. Berger, MS, FAIHA; Richard L. Neitzel, PhD, CIH, FAIHA; Dennis P. Driscoll, PE, FAIHA; and Kathryn Bright, PhD—were recognized at AIHA’s Mark of Excellence award ceremony, which was held during AIHce EXP 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Critics’ Choice Award recognizes publications that are noteworthy for their originality, quality of work, and impact on the OEHS profession. Read more in AIHA’s press release.
Workplace Violence Legislation Proposed AIHA supports the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which was reintroduced in April by Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Joe Courtney. If passed, the bill would require OSHA to issue a standard requiring healthcare and social service sector employers to create and implement workplace violence prevention plans to meet the needs of their workforces. Read more in AIHA’s press release.
New IAQ Tools for Workplaces
New free public education resources are available from AIHA’s Commit to C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity) website thanks to continued funding provided through a cooperative agreement with CDC/NIOSH. In late 2022, CDC awarded AIHA $110,000 to develop additional materials that help businesses and communities address the ongoing public health threat from COVID-19 and be better prepared for future pandemics and epidemics. Further details are available in AIHA’s press release.
Reminder: Sign Up for JOEH Email Alerts
Readers who wish to be notified when new papers are available from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene can sign up to receive email alerts from JOEH publisher Taylor & Francis. Instructions and information regarding how to sign up for email alerts can be found on AIHA’s website. Steps to access the digital version of the journal are also available.
Dates and Deadlines June 14, 21, and 28 Three-part AIHA University webinar series: “Preparing for and Controlling Biological Hazards.”
June 29 Free workshop on exposure modeling organized by AIHA and the Foundation for Chemistry Research & Initiatives.
July 27 AIHA University webinar: “Implementing and Sustaining an EHMR Program.”
Aug. 23 AIHA University webinar: “An IH and a Data Scientist Swap Perspectives on Big Data.”
Oct. 17–19 PSX 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.
For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.