AIHA Comments on Proposed Revisions to EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule In January, AIHA submitted comments to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan regarding the agency’s proposed improvements to its lead and copper rule. The rule, which was published in the Dec. 6, 2023, issue of the Federal Register, would require nearly all water systems in the United States to replace lead service lines within 10 years. EPA estimates there are approximately 9.2 million lead service lines in use across the nation. The rule would also lower the action level for lead in water from 15 µg/L to 10 µg/L.
The proposed rule contains requests for comments on several issues, including the suitability of the lower action level, the feasibility of the 10-year timeframe, and other elements of the rule. Water systems would be required to regularly update their inventories of lead pipes, create a publicly available plan for replacing them, and identify the materials of service lines whose composition is currently unknown. In addition, water systems found to repeatedly exceed the action level would need to provide consumers with filters that are certified to reduce lead.
In its comments, AIHA recommends adding a requirement that laboratories used to test lead in drinking water should participate in and comply with a lead laboratory proficiency testing program. AIHA supports lowering the action level and states that the current action level of 15 µg/L is not health based and that lead in drinking water should be established at the lowest possible or lowest achievable concentrations. AIHA notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that governments require drinking fountains in schools to maintain concentrations of lead in water below 0.001 mg/L, or 1 ppb.
The comments argue that the timeliest cost-effective approach to replacing lead service lines is needed and that shorter deadlines will be difficult to meet. But AIHA is skeptical of the rule’s deferred service line replacement plan, which would allow water systems unable to comply with the 10-year deadline more time to replace lead service lines. EPA estimates that one to four percent of water systems may need more time, and the rule proposes eligibility criteria for the deferred plan.
“AIHA believes that deferred system line replacement may result in continued unacceptable lead exposures,” the comments read. “EPA should implement a system where the worst lead-containing systems are addressed first.”
AIHA’s comments are available as a PDF. EPA’s proposed rule is accessible in the Federal Register. For more information about the EPA rule, visit the agency's website.
AIHA Connect: Student Posters, Presentations Due March 13 Submissions for student presentations and student posters for AIHA Connect 2024 are being accepted through March 13. Presenting at AIHA Connect is your opportunity to advance the OEHS profession by introducing attendees to the latest information, trends, technology, and best practices.
High-priority topics for AIHA Connect include human capital/ESG, climate change hazards and risks, Big Data and sensor technology, Total Worker Health, communicating OEHS concepts, and serving the changing workforce.
Supplementary information is available to help with the submissions process. On the conference website, students will find explanations of the poster and presentation formats and worksheets that can help them prepare their submissions.
AIHA Connect will be held in Columbus, Ohio, May 20–22. To get started with the submissions process, visit the conference website.
A Fond Farewell to Jim Myers For nearly 34 years, Jim Myers has been an integral part of AIHA. Jim started in 1990 when the organization was based in Ohio. He worked on the earliest issues of The Synergist magazine as it transitioned from a newsletter format, and he was one of a few staff who relocated with AIHA when it moved to the Washington, D.C., metro area in 1992. Since then, Jim has had more responsibilities than we have space to recount, using his knowledge of graphic design, project management, IT, printing, website publishing, and AIHA itself to support every department and staff member.
But even as his career evolved and his role changed, The Synergist remained a constant. For the magazine staff, he has been a trusted mentor and friend, setting examples in professionalism and courtesy—not to mention saving innumerable deadlines through exceptionally fast turnarounds on page proofs. In this, the last issue that bears Jim’s name on the masthead, the Synergist team thanks him for … well, everything, and wishes him the very best as he moves on to new challenges.
— The Editors
Updated Framework on Exposure Risk Assessment and Management Now Available AIHA has published a new version of its “Technical Framework: Guiding Principles for Exposure Risk Assessment and Management.” The update includes simplified figures and the addition of a table that lists relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities for professionals who will conduct occupational exposure risk assessment and management activities.
Exposure risk assessment and management is a decision-making process to systematically evaluate potential exposures, identify risks and benefits, and determine possible courses of action for given situations. Exposure risk assessment and management enables OEHS professionals to help maximize operational capabilities while limiting risks through application of a simple, systematic process appropriate for all personnel and functions. The updated framework can be accessed from the AIHA website.
Volunteers Needed for Three Committees The following AIHA committees are seeking volunteers and have application deadlines that close this month:
Content Portfolio Advisory Group. CPAG provides input and advice to the AIHA Board of Directors and staff regarding the association's body of content on industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety. It guides content development, reviews existing content, and identifies emerging topics for which new content may be needed. CPAG comprises six to 10 members who serve staggered terms. The application deadline is March 15. For more information, visit the AIHA website.
Continuing Education Committee. The CEC comprises 12 members who serve four single-year terms. The CEC’s mission is to ensure the highest possible quality for AIHA training programs and educational opportunities for professionals in occupational and environmental health. The committee provides one of the levels of technical peer review of AIHA’s professional development courses, or PDCs. CEC members are also asked to audit new educational offerings, which provides an opportunity for them to earn CM hours at no cost. Selection of new CEC members will be completed in the spring, and terms will begin with AIHA Connect 2024 in Columbus, Ohio. Applications are due by March 18. Prospective volunteers are asked to submit a current resume or CV and fill out an application listing their experience, knowledge, and primary areas of interest. The application is available from AIHA's website.
Conference Program Committee. The CPC is responsible for reviewing and selecting education sessions for AIHA Connect. The CPC’s goals include developing an innovative program for AIHA Connect that meets the educational needs of the profession and long-range planning for continuous improvement of the technical quality of the annual conference. The committee is intended to be representative of the AIHA membership and the AIHA Connect audience and to bring subject matter expertise and the conference attendee's perspective to the deliberations over which session proposals to choose. Applications are due by March 18. More information about the CPC and how to apply is available on the AIHA website. AIHA Accolades Congratulations to Phillip Rauscher, MPH, CIH, CSP, who was appointed executive director of ACGIH in January. Rauscher joined ACGIH in July 2020 as head of the Science and Education Department and has served as the organization’s interim executive director since 2022. In Memoriam Andrew L. Bryson, CIH, passed away Jan. 14 at the age of 87. An AIHA member since 1975, Bryson served on the AIHA Indoor Environmental Quality Committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree from what is now West Virginia State University in 1957. During his military service, he was deployed to Chile as an emergency responder following the 1960 earthquake. He later served as a munitions expert before becoming an industrial hygienist. He also taught industrial hygiene courses at San Diego State University, the University of California San Diego, and National University. A remembrance of Bryson is available on Legacy.com. Browse the Vendor Directory AIHA's Vendor Directory for OEHS Professionals, released in print annually in November, is the most comprehensive publication for sourcing industrial hygiene, safety, and environmental products and services. The online Vendor Directory allows users to search by product, company name, or industry. Subscribe to SynergistNOW The SynergistNOW blog offers ideas, insights, and perspectives on important topics affecting industrial and occupational hygiene professionals, written by and for experienced IH/OHs, researchers, academics, and AIHA leaders. The blog is available to everyone, but even AIHA members must subscribe. Visit SynergistNOW via AIHA's website. Dates and Deadlines Feb. 6–April 4 Virtual Comprehensive Industrial Hygiene Review course. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12–2 p.m. ET, cosponsored by the University of Michigan and the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Society. March 4–8 AIHA University's virtual “Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene” course. March 12 AIHA University Webinar, “Revisiting the Worst Plant: A Virtual H&S Audit Version 2.0.” March 13 Proposal deadline for AIHA Connect 2024 student presentations and student posters. March 17 Last day to register for AIHA Connect 2024 at advance rates. March 18 Deadline to submit applications to join AIHA’s Continuing Education and Conference Program Committees. March 20 Free Synergist Webinar, "Designing Better Controls for Ergonomics." May 20–22
AIHA Connect 2024 in Columbus, Ohio. May 23–26 "Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene" in Westerville, Ohio. For a complete list of events, visit AIHA's website.