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Synergist201012 dl

  1. 1. THE Synergist ®12/10 www.aiha.orgImprove Your Graphics Does your data show the forest or the trees? 8 Building IH Capacity in the U.S.22 Do “Zero-Risk” Exposures Exist?27 ISO’s Social Responsibility Standard29 The Business Case for OHS Databases
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  3. 3. Synergist ® THE Features 24 Extreme Makeovers A longtime EHS pro shares simple tips for making your data come alive. By Ed Rutkowski 27 Contentious Consensus Input from a diverse group of stakeholders will add to the credibility of ISO’s new standard on social responsibility. By Jeffrey Hogue 29 Streamlined Management How to build a business case for OHS databases. By Monica Melkonian24274 The Synergist I December 2010 29
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  5. 5. ® THE Synergist Volume 21 I Number 11Columns & Departments Editor in Chief Constance Paradise, CAE: Managing Editor Ed Rutkowski: Assistant Editor Brooke Morris: Senior Manager, Periodicals and Technology James Myers: Creative Services Associate/Designer Billy Stryker: Advertising Representative8 President’s Message Network Media Partners Building Industrial Hygiene Ben Ledyard: Capacity in the United States By Michael T. Brandt Executive Director Peter J. O’Neil, CAE: poneil@aiha.org10 Letters The Synergist ® is a copyrighted publication of the American Revisiting the Haiti Earthquake Industrial Hygiene Association, 2700 Prosperity Ave., Suite 250, Fairfax, VA 22031; (703) 849-8888; e-mail synergist@12 NewsWatch No part of The Synergist may be reprinted without the express written consent of AIHA. Submission of articles OEHS AND INDUSTRY NEWS or letters to the editor are welcome, but AIHA and The Syn- ergist will determine what to publish and reserve the right20 Insight: Exposure Assessment to edit all submissions for content, style, length and clarity. The Synergist (USPS #009-332) is published monthly ex- Time for Modeling cept a combined June/July issue by the American Industrial By Steven D. Jahn Hygiene Association, 2700 Prosperity Ave., Suite 250, Fairfax, VA 22031 for $50 per year for members; nonmembers may22 Insight: Risk Assessment subscribe for $275/yr. International nonmembers may subscribe for $375/yr (U.S. funds). Periodicals postage paid at Fairfax, Crossing a Threshold Virginia, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send By Frank Mirer address changes to The Synergist, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Attn: Customer Service, 2700 Prosperity Ave., Suite 250, Fairfax, VA 22031. ISSN 10667660.32 Community Publications Mail Agreement No. 40039445. Return AIHA NEWS undeliverable Canadian addresses to PO Box 503, RPO West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill ON L4B 4R6.35 Opportunities Editorial Advisory Board Members EDUCATIONAL EVENTS FOR Jeff Behar, California Institute of Technology OEHS PROFESSIONALS Wendell Britnell, LMI Patricia Crawford, Consultant36 Product Features M. Cathy Fehrenbacher, U.S. EPA Don Garvey, 3M Co. Stephen Hemperly, Hitachi GST37 Advertisers’ Index/ John Mazur, MACTEC Inc. Synergist Fax-Back Card Hank Muranko, Muranko & Associates Doris Reid, Saxe Colman Consulting Group38 Introductions 12 John Rekus, John F. Rekus & Associates Ltd.COMING IN JANUARY I Wood-dust Exposures I Survey of OEHS Professionals I Smart Phones: Data Security and Privacy Concerns The Synergist’s mission is to provide AIHA members with news and information about the occupational and environmental health and safety fields and the industrial hygiene profession. The Synergist focuses on industry trends and news, government and regulatory activities, key issues facing the profession, appropriate technical information and news on association events and activities. The Synergist’s objective is to present information that is newsworthy and of general interest in industrial hygiene. Opinions, claims, conclusions and positions expressed in this publication are the authors’ or persons’ quoted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, AIHA or The Synergist.6 The Synergist I December 2010
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  7. 7. COLUMN | PRESIDENT’S MESSAGEPresident’s MessageBuilding Industrial HygieneCapacity in the United StatesBY MICHAEL T. BRANDT, AIHA® PRESIDENTWe are well acquainted with the chal- Impact on AIHA their lesson plans to demonstrate howlenge of replacing current industrial hy- The report’s findings are both alarming science and math are used to solvegienists as they retire. In fact, other and relevant to AIHA. Who will be IHs crimes, remediate disasters such as Katrina,science, technology, engineering, and in the future? How will they be re- protect and rescue workers such as themedical (STEM) professions are experi- cruited? Where can we find qualified Chilean miners, clean up oil spills, andencing the same challenge and searching candidates? Will there be enough quali- prevent accidents.for ways to counter the following trends fied and competent IH practitioners? While K-12 education in America is ain U.S. education: The report contends that if teachers national concern, our system of education are better qualified to teach science and consists of 14,000 local school systems.• K-12 education lags behind that of math, then the number of students quali- Each of us lives in a community where other developed nations, despite a fied to enter STEM fields will increase. our children attend school. Solving this higher cost per student than any other As AIHA members, we need to ask our- problem begins in our communities. Solv- OECD (Organization for Economic Co- selves, “What have we done to improve ing this problem begins with each of us! operation and Development) country. STEM education in our communities?” If we are to achieve our mission of• Junior and senior high school stu- Opportunities to make a difference are “Creating knowledge to protect worker dents are inadequately prepared in plentiful. Personally, I have volunteered health,” we need to ensure that ours is a math and science. at three graduate schools to teach envi- vibrant profession that attracts well quali-• 78 percent of high school graduates ronmental and occupational health, in- fied students and early-career profession- do not meet the readiness benchmark dustrial hygiene, finance and other als. Sharing our experiences with young levels for one or more entry-level col- courses. I have also visited middle and minds that are searching for purpose is a lege courses in math, science, reading, high schools in my community to intro- good start. If each of our 10,000 members and English. duce students to industrial hygiene and stimulated just one student to study math generate interest in math and science. and science throughout high school and• Fewer college students are receiving AIHA National has invested member then college, we would increase the talent undergraduate degrees in science or equity over the past ten years to recruit pool for all STEM fields. I encourage each engineering. and mentor early-career IHs. But our of you to get involved with your local new memberships are not keeping pace schools either individually or as a local These statistics are found in the re- with retirements. The report from NAS section with an action plan. Change beginscently released National Academy of is further confirmation that unless we with the first step.Science (NAS) report “Rising Above the reverse current trends, there won’t beGathering Storm, Revisited.” (A free PDF enough qualified IHs to replace retiring Michael T. Brandt, DrPH, CIH, PMP, is technical chiefof the report is available from www.nap. of staff for Operations at Los Alamos National Labo- IHs, let alone grow the This update of the original 2005 ratory in Los Alamos, N.M. He can be reached atstudy assesses the principal ingredients (505) 667-1228 or innovation and competitiveness— Local Outreach I challenge each local section to reach Resources for Outreachknowledge capital and human capital. out to middle- and high-school teachers.NAS research shows that funding of to Students Offer to help them generate enduring in-R&D as a percentage of GDP has de- terest in the application of scientific Visit the AIHA website atclined more than 60 percent in the past principles to solve real-world problems.40 years, and only 4.5 percent of Ameri- Pages/StudentOutreachMaterials. Since the average K-12 student spendscan college students are earning degrees aspx for information related to four hours each day watching TV, wein engineering. conducting outreach to students. could help teachers incorporate IH into8 The Synergist I December 2010
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  9. 9. COLUMN | LETTERSLetttersRevisiting the Haiti Earthquake To the Editor: Hornsby-Myers responds: This is in response to the article “The Next Day, Everything Was Flat” (October I appreciate the comments of LTC Goff issue) in which Managing Editor Ed Rutkowski interviews Jennifer Hornsby-Myers and MAJ Carter of the U.S. Air Force, from NIOSH. Ms. Hornsby-Myers deployed to Haiti with the CDC as a public health and I also appreciate the opportunity to liaison to Joint Task Force-Haiti (JTF-H). While we laud her work, she doesn’t have clarify an off-the-cuff general com- all her facts straight, specifically regarding the military’s capability to provide pub- ment in my Synergist interview that lic health support. While she is correct in saying public health is not the military’s prompted the letter concerning my de- primary mission, she completely misses the mark in saying the military doesn’t ployment to Haiti. I certainly did not have many public health assets. The Air Force takes great pride in its robust public intend to imply that the Department of health, environmental health and industrial hygiene assets. JTF-Haiti was no dif- Defense does not have public health ferent with this support. assets. My comment was intended to When Air Force Special Operations Command personnel landed in Port-au- delineate between the overall mission Prince on Jan. 13, 2010, there was a public health officer and preventive-medicine of the DoD and the CDC, not the spe- physician on the very first plane as part of the team of command and control, cific assets of each group. From my combat controllers, and para-rescue personnel to open up the airport and begin personal experience during my deploy- search and rescue operations. On Jan. 14, 2010, there was an Air Force industrial ment, all of the services that make up hygiene technician on the ground. The three made up what we call a Special the DoD did an outstanding job of sav- Operations Forces Medical Augmentation team and immediately began vector ing lives and providing security post- and rodent control, drinking water sampling, hazardous noise characterizations, earthquake—as did all of my colleagues heat stress monitoring, proper hazardous waste and used oil storage work. in the U.S. Public Health Service. Within a week, and then a month, as more conventional forces arrived (called The intended message of this part of Global Reach Laydown and Preventive Aerospace Medicine teams), more public the article was to highlight the valu- health and industrial hygiene assets came with the rescue personnel and surgeons. able partnership that existed between With them came more air, water, noise, and vector sampling equipment, with the CDC and the DoD through the JTF- which they were very busy evaluating and providing advice to JTF leadership on H (Joint Task Force-Haiti). This was the risk control measures. first time, to my knowledge, that CDC As a force within the Air Force, there are on average 10–20 Public Health Air- had a liaison to a JTF during a foreign men, 10–20 environmental health/industrial hygiene Airmen (the Air Force calls disaster. It proved to be a very benefi- them Bioenvironmental Engineers), and 2–3 physicians trained in occupational/ cial relationship not only for the CDC preventive medicine at each base around the world, and a smaller number at each and the DoD but for the overall mis- deployed location in the Middle East and South Asia supporting our operations. sion of providing vital assistance to the While we can’t speak for the Army, Navy, or Marines (and we hope they comment Haitians who were (and are) suffering on this article), we can say without a doubt that the Air Force has many robust so greatly. I sincerely hope that the public health, environmental health, industrial hygiene, and preventive medicine Haitian relief effort will be a model for assets, both at our “home bases” and our deployed locations. any future foreign disasters, including a CDC Liaison to the JTF. Lt. Col. Philip Goff, CIH, Command Bioenvironmental Engineer for Air Force Special Operations Command, who provided command oversight for JTF-Haiti Air CDR Jennifer Hornsby-Myers, MS, CIH Force preventive medicine forces. CDC Liaison to JTF-H United States Public Health Service Major Rebecca Carter, PhD, deputy flight commander of the 96th Aerospace Medi- CDC/NIOSH cine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, who deployed to JTF-Haiti with a Preventive Aerospace Medicine Team.10 The Synergist I December 2010
  10. 10. The Occupational Environment: Its Evaluation, Control, and Management, 3rd Edition An essential core reference for OEHS practitioners, educators, and students, the newly revised 3rd edi- tion includes information on hazard recognition and evaluation, physical agents, program management, and more. Most chapters have been rewritten and updated to include the most current information available in a single OEHS reference. Volume 1 focuses on chemical aspects, air monitoring, and exposure and risk assessment strategies. Volume 2 includes content related to the physical hazards, control methods, and management aspects. Several new chapters have been added to cover nanotechnology, ethics, IH issues in construction, the AIHA Value Strategy business model, and more. Complete Set: BIHT10-566 ...............................Member Price: $229 ..............Nonmember Price: $309 Volume 1: BIHT10-765................................Member Price: $129 ..............Nonmember Price: $209 Volume 2: BIHT10-766................................Member Price: $129 ..............Nonmember Price: $209Be among the first to pre-order this book. Visit or callCustomer Service at (703) 849-8888, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET. ® AIHA Publications—Reliable References for OEHS Professionals Globally
  11. 11. SPECIAL TO THE DIGITAL EDITION THE Synergist ®Preparing for January 10/11 www.aiha.orgWashington InsiderBy Aaron Trippler, Director, AIHA® Government AffairsThe voters have spoken, and Washington is prepar- OSHA Reforming for another session of a Congress that will look Under a Republican-controlled House, OSHA is unlikelymuch different from the one about to conclude. to receive additional authority to impose regulations onThe ramifications of the midterm elections will affect employers. Republicans have hinted they are unwilling tolegislative action in Congress and occupational health consider substantial changes to the way OSHA operatesand safety activity at the agency level. At the very and have already announced there will be more oversightleast, changes in legislative leadership will affect the of regulatory agencies. Of course, industry hopes theOHS agenda. House will go even further than simple oversight and stop several activities within OSHA. The following issues may come up for discussion duringLeadership the new Congress:Leadership in the Senate will likely remain as is: Expect Mine Safety and Health. Republicans may sit down withSenator Tom Harkin to remain chairman of the Health, Democrats and work out a bill that would provide addi-Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and tional health and safety measures in the mining industry.Senator Patty Murray to remain chairwoman of the sub- Whether this bill will go as far as the bill introduced incommittee that oversees OSHA. Senator Mike Enzi is also 2010 is unclear.likely to continue as the Republican leader on the HELP Injury and Illness Prevention Program Rule. IndustryCommittee. may work with House leadership to stop OSHA’s effortsThe House leadership will experience considerable to enact an injury and illness prevention program rule.change. Rep. George Miller is out as chairman of the The most obvious way to stop agency efforts is throughHouse Education and Labor Committee, with Rep. John the appropriations process.Kline the likely successor. Who might chair the subcom- MSD 300 Log Addition. Industry will also work to enlistmittee with OSHA oversight has yet to be determined, the support of Republicans to stop OSHA from movingbut Rep. Lynn Woolsey is out. forward on this proposal, which industry views as a “back The Synergist | December 2010 DE 1
  12. 12. SPECIAL TO THE DIGITAL EDITIONdoor” approach to ergonomics. However, adding an MSD on OSHA and its efforts to regulate employers. Bothcolumn on the OSHA 300 log has numerous supporters groups are probably wrong. In the last two years, no leg-who will argue that OSHA should be allowed to continue islation to address workplace health and safety was en-its efforts. acted, so it’s not like the Republicans have anything to repeal. And the Republicans will likely be unsuccessful inVoluntary Protection Program (VPP). Republicans may many attempts to limit agency to enact legislation that would codify and perma-nently fund the Voluntary Protection Program. This ap-proach enjoyed bipartisan support in the previous session What about OSHA?of Congress. OSHA had hoped to convince Congress thatthe VPP should be user funded. Expect any OSHA appro- OSHA will continue to pursue its agenda, but this won’tpriations measure to include continued funding for VPP. be quite as easy as before the election. Industry is much more empowered to oppose OSHA efforts and will at-NIOSH. What the new Republican leadership might do tempt to stop, or at least slow, agency activity. Most no-with NIOSH is unclear. While some Republicans believe tably, OSHA will have even more difficulty addressingthese types of agencies need to be shut down, just as anything remotely related to ergonomics. The Injury andmany recognize their value. AIHA® has been meeting Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) rule may also facewith other stakeholders to discuss possible efforts to en- problems from industry, which has already approachedsure that NIOSH is funded and protected. One possibility members of the House about stopping this program,is to have the Government Accountability Office study most likely through appropriations.the pros and cons of keeping NIOSH within the organiza-tional structure of the Centers for Disease Control and Agency activity on other issues will continue but likely atPrevention (CDC). AIHA believes there is support for such a slower pace. OSHA will have to consider whether an ac-a study within the GOP and within NIOSH. In a recent dis- tivity has a reasonable chance of success before it movescussion, AIHA learned that CDC has appropriated nearly forward. Issues such as VPP, changing the on-site consul-$300 million of the NIOSH budget for CDC expenses over tation program, and updating the PELs will all be morethe past 18 years. difficult to achieve.Appropriations. Republicans in the House will certainlyattempt to control spending. Some possibilities include What about the States?cutting federal employment by 10 percent, federal dis- A considerable number of states saw a switch in partycretionary spending by $100 billion per year, and agency control of the governor’s office, and many of the statespending by 22 percent. Another possibility is to cap legislatures also saw a switch to the Republican party. It’sspending at 2008 levels. All of these actions will be con- hard to tell how this might impact occupational healthsidered, but the Senate is unlikely to allow such drastic and safety in 2011. I expect states to continue to be morechanges. inclined than the federal government to address specificHowever, Republicans may place language in many of the OHS issues. Look for the same involvement in the statesappropriations bills that limits where the dollars may be on issues such as mold abatement, methamphetaminespent. For example, they could adopt an OSHA budget laboratories, Chinese drywall, and other issues that di-that prohibits spending money on advancing an injury and rectly impact workers and consumers.illness prevention program rule. Any threats to agency ac-tivity are likely to come from actions such as this. Aaron Trippler directs government affairs for more than 70The bottom line: many stakeholders say the new Congress local sections and serves as AIHA’s chief liason with Congresswill be devastating for occupational health and safety, and federal agencies. He can be reached at (703) 846-0730 orwhile many others predict that Congressional limitations The Synergist | December 2010 DE 2
  13. 13. NewsWatch OEHS NEWS I GOVERNMENT NEWS I INDUSTRY NEWSSTANDARDS are issued only when they cost less than a hearing conservation program and PPE is ineffective. In the proposed amendment toISO Releases Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility its noise enforcement policy, the agency intends to sanction theOn Nov. 1, the highly anticipated ISO 26000:2010 standard, issuance of citations requiring the use of administrative and en-Guidance on Social Responsibility, was unveiled in Geneva, gineering controls when feasible as noted in the interpretation.Switzerland. The standard provides guidance to business and “Since 1983, when the current interpretation was in place,public sector organizations on social there has been a somewhat unrealistic reliance on hearing pro-responsibility concepts and imple- tection,” says AIHA® Noise Committee Chair Joe Cissna, CIH,mentation elements. MHS. “So we support OSHA for bringing engineering controls Development of ISO 26000:2010 more to the forefront. It follows the hierarchy of controls prin-lasted more than eight years. AIHA® ciple that underpins the industrial hygiene approach.”participated as a D-Liaison organiza- OSHA is accepting comments through Dec. 20, 2010. Com-tion, which enabled the association to ments can be submitted at, by mail, or bytake part in the formal standard pro- fax to (202) 693-1648. Individuals who mail or deliver com-ceedings and contribute to the drafting ments must submit three copies to the OSHA Docket Office.process. Faxed submissions may not exceed 10 pages. Unlike other management interna- The OSHA proposal is available attional standards, ISO 26000:2010 contains voluntary guidance, To readnot requirements, and is not intended for certification pur- OSHA’s press release, visit “The key purpose of the standard is to encourage organiza- RESEARCHtions to integrate social responsibility throughout their deci-sions and activities,” states Jeffrey Hogue, who represents AIHA Workplace Noise Increases Risk of Heart Disease,as D-liaison expert to the ISO Working Group on Social Re- Study Findssponsibility (WG/SR) and on the U.S. Technical Advisory Group A new study conducted by the University of British Columbia’s(TAG) to ISO Technical Committee 26000 on Social Responsibil- School of Environmental Health in Vancouver suggests that aity. “Best practices include making social responsibility integral noisy work environment can lead to heart disease. The studyto an organization’s policies, culture, strategies and operations.” was published on the website of the journal Occupational andFor more information, see Hogue’s article on page 27. Environmental Medicine. The standard can be purchased from the ISO website, reports that, according the study, workers exposed to a noisy environ- ment are two to three times more likely to de-NOISE velop heart disease than those who work in quieter environments. Authors of the studyOSHA Proposes New Interpretation for Noise Standards classified persistent loud noise as unwanted,OSHA is proposing to issue a reinterpretation of the phrase intrusive sound resonating from manu-“feasible administrative or engineering facturing processes.controls” in occupational noise exposure Researchers analyzed data from 6,300standards and to revise its current policy subjects who were at least 20 years reflect this interpretation. In the The subjects were given physicals and bloodOSHA proposal, “feasible” will retain its tests and answered questions regarding their health andcommon meaning of “capable of being lifestyle. Researchers found that loud noises elicit stress and thedone” in order to enforce compliance release of chemicals that constrict coronary arteries and canwith current noise standards. cause additional heart-related illnesses. The existing noise standards stipulate that feasible adminis- An abstract of the study is available at or engineering controls must be used to abate noise, and content/early/2010/09/06/oem.2010.055269. To read the Empow-PPE, such as earplugs or earmuffs, are to be worn when admin- article, visit or engineering controls are insufficient. Currently, cita-tions for failure to use engineering and administrative controls12 The Synergist I December 2010
  14. 14. NEWSWATCH | DEPARTMENTMINING SAFETY investigation, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The 33 miners were trapped more than 2,000 feet under-Following Mine Rescue, Chilean Government Vows to ground for 69 days.Better Protect Workers To read the Wall Street Journal article “Chile, in Mine Res-The rescue of 33 miners from a collapsed mine in Copiapo, cue’s Glow, Vows Labor Reform,” visit TheChile, in mid-October has caused the Chilean government to article “After a Final Day Together, Miners Begin toreevaluate its worker health and safety protections, according Disband” is available at an article posted Oct. 15 After meeting with the miners,Chilean President Sebastian Pinera MINING SAFETYpledged to strengthen labor laws andimprove work environments. He also Proposed Rule Would Reduce Exposure to Coal Dustvowed to see that Compania Minera In October, MSHA released a proposed rule that would lowerSan Esteban Primera, the company mine workers’ exposure to respirable coal dust in all under-that operated the mine, would cover a ground and surface coal mines. Part of MSHA’s “End Blackportion of the millions spent on rescue Lung–Act Now” campaign, the pro-efforts. posed rule would blend previous reg- quotes Pinera as saying, “Never again in our coun- ulatory actions and implementtry are we going to permit work in such an unsafe and inhu- recommendations in the 1995 NIOSHmane environment as the San Jose mine. We are going to report “Criteria for a Recommendedcreate a culture of respect for life, health and dignity of our Standard: Occupational Exposure toworkers.” Respirable Coal Mine Dust” and the In addition to forcing Compania Minera San Esteban Primera 1996 “Report of the Secretary ofto pay for part of the rescue expenses, the Chilean government Labor’s Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Pneumoco-intends to take administrative action and launch a congressional niosis Among Coal Mine Workers.” [Continued: 14] Circle Fax-back Card No. 6 November 2010 I The Synergist 13
  15. 15. DEPARTMENT | NEWSWATCH[From: 13] The proposed rule would reduce the existing concentration TRAININGlimits for respirable coal mine dust from 2 mg/m3 to 1 mg/m3over a 24-month phase-in period, require the use of continuous OSHA Revises Policy on Trainingdust monitors, enforce the utilization of a single, full-shift sam- OSHA has modified the guidelines of its Outreach Training Pro-ple to verify compliance, and expand medical surveillance so grams to reduce the number of hours students spend each dayminers could better manage their health. The proposed rule also in 10- and 30-hour training classes. Theaddresses extended work shifts and production shifts. new policy limits classes to a maximum of According to data from NIOSH, cases of black lung are on 7.5 hours per day; prior to this change,the rise. Young miners are even developing advanced and de- classes could last up to 13 hours a day.bilitating lung disease due to exposure to excessive amounts of OSHA instituted this policy change to pre-dust, and more than 10,000 miners have died from black lung vent students from being overloaded withwithin the past decade. information in a single day of training. To read the complete proposed rule as published in the Fed- In accordance with the new trainingeral Register, visit Comments are due Feb. policy, 10-hour courses must be conducted28, 2011, and may be submitted via the federal e-rulemaking over a minimum two-day period and 30-portal at, via mail to MSHA, 1100 Wilson hour courses must be given over at leastBlvd., Arlington, Va. 22209-3939, or by fax to (202) 693-9441. four days. OSHA will not accept classes To read the MSHA press release, visit that do not meet all program requirements or exceed 7.5 Videos from per day. The agency has also set up an outreach fraud hotline atMSHA’s “End Black Lung–Act Now” Campaign are available at (847) 725-7810 where the public can report program fraud abuse. NIOSH data on black lung disease can be found at For more information, read the OSHA press release NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=18606. Think all HSE Consultants & 1. Ye ars o Laboratories 2. U. S. lo f exp erien ce are the same? catio ns 3. # o f glo bal l ocati 4. Ac ons Put us to the test. credi ted l abs? 5. # o f cou ntrie s ser 6. # o ved f pro fessi onals 888.357.7020 8. Ded icated client 9. Pr servic ofess e team ional ? Licen ses Circle Fax-back Card No. 714 The Synergist I December 2010
  16. 16. NEWSWATCH | DEPARTMENT NACOSH chlorine, said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA ENFORCEMENT Regional Administrator, Kansas City, Mo.,Labor Department Renews National in an agency press release. OSHA Launches Inspection Plan forSafety and Health Advisory Commit- OSHA claims the garrison willfully vio- High-Hazard Workplacestee Charter lated procedures by supplying workers In August, OSHA began its annual in-In October, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. who were changing chlorine cylinders spection of high-hazard work sites underSolis renewed the with five-minute emergency escape the Site Specific Targeting 2010 (SST-10)charter of the OSHA breathing devices. OSHA procedures for program. The plan is intended to helpNational Advisory working with hazardous chemicals require OSHA channel its enforcement resourcesCommittee on Occu- self-contained breathing apparatus or into workplaces with the highest rates ofpational Safety and supplied-air respirators. injuries and illness.Health (NACOSH). The garrison can comply with the no- “Our goal is to prevent worker injuriesNACOSH advises, tice, request an informal meeting with the and illnesses and save lives,” said Assis-consults with, and OSHA director in Wichita, Kan., or ask for tant Secretary of Labor David Michaels inmakes recommenda- a hearing with the regional administrator an OSHA press release. “The Site Specifictions to secretaries of in Kansas City. Targeting program helps OSHA focus itslabor and the Department of Health and The OSHA press release is available at enforcement resources to high-risk em-Human Services (HHS) on issues concern- ployers who are endangering their work-ing the OSH Act and improvements to ers’ health and safety.”workplace health and safety protections. The OSHA SST program inspects non- “Since OSHA’s inception, NACOSH has RECORD KEEPING construction workplaces with 40 or moreplayed an important role in advising the employees. Based on work-related injury Nonfatal Workplace Injuries andsecretaries of labor and HHS on worker and illness data compiled from a 2009 Illnesses in Private Sector Down insafety issues such as hazard communica- OSHA survey, SST-10 randomly selects 2009, BLS Reportstion, the whistleblower program and establishments from a list of 4,100 manu- According to the Bureau of Labor Statis-providing ideas and input on ways to re- facturing, nonmanufacturing, and nursing tics (BLS) 2009 Survey of Occupationalduce worker deaths, injuries and ill- [Continued: 16] Injuries and Illnesses, nonfatal workplacenesses,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor injuries and illnesses among workers inDavid Michaels in an OSHA press re- private industry decreased to 3.6 cases perlease. “The members’ advice and recom- 100 equivalent full-time employees inmendations are extremely valuable 2009—a decline from 3.9 cases in 2008.because they have a wealth of knowl- Nonfatal occupational injuries and ill-edge and real-world experience on a nesses dropped from 3.7 million cases inwide range of worker health and safety 2008 to 3.3 million cases in 2009. In ad-matters.” dition, the number of private industry in- The NACOSH charter expires in 2012. jury and illness cases reported nationwideThe OSHA press release is available at in 2009 that resulted in the need for off from work, job transfer, or restriction_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES fell from 2.0 cases per 100 workers in&p_id=18609. 2008 to 1.8 cases in 2009. The manufacturing industry reported a 23 percent drop in cases from 2008 toENFORCEMENT 2009—the largest year-to-year decrease inOSHA Cites U.S. Army Garrison for injuries and illnesses since the NorthPotential Chlorine Exposure American Industry Classification SystemOSHA issued notices of unsafe and un- (NAICS) was first published in 2003. Thehealthy working conditions to the U.S. construction industry also saw a signifi-Army garrison at Fort cant decline in 2009 with its incidenceRiley, Kan., on Oct. 15 rate dropping to 22 percent. The com-after an inspection bined decrease in cases reported in thesefound that workers at sectors make up 56 percent of the totalthe garrison’s water private industry decline in 2009 injurytreatment plant were and illnesses.consistently exposed For more information, visitto hazards that in- a potentially 0212010.pdf.dangerous release of Circle Fax-back Card No. 8 December 2010 I The Synergist 15
  17. 17. DEPARTMENT | NEWSWATCH[From: 15]and personal care facilities. The plan ex- data_General_Facts/Crowd_Control.html, standable, and more useful to our part-amines various factors such as the num- provides employers with recommended ners as a tool for protecting workers’ber of injury and illness cases, the elements for crowd management plans. health,” said NIOSH Director Johnnumber of days a worker must stay away “Crowd-related injuries during special Howard. “Although the U.S. has madefrom work, and the number of employ- retail sales and promotional events have great progress in controlling work-relatedees who received job transfers or work increased during recent years,” Michaels lead exposures since the enactment ofrestrictions because of injury or illness. told the CEOs. “Many of these incidents the Occupational Safety and Health Act, More information about SST-10 is can be prevented by adopting a crowd we must remain vigilant in recognizingavailable at management plan, and this fact sheet and addressing this occupational hazard.”Directive_pdf/CPL_02_10-06.pdf. provides retail employers with guidelines Initiated in 1987, the ABLES program for avoiding injuries during the holiday is intended to build states’ capacity to ini-CROWD CONTROL shopping season.” tiate, expand, or improve adult blood lead In 2008, a worker was trampled to surveillance programs. More informationOSHA Urges Major Retailers to Take death while a mob of shoppers rushed on ABLES is available at www.cdc.Worker Safety Precautions through the doors of a large store to take gov/niosh/topics/ABLES/ables.html.In early November, Assistant Secretary advantage of a Black Friday sales event.of Labor David Michaels sent a letter to For a copy of the letter sent to the CEOs EMERGENCY MANAGEMENTthe CEOs of 14 major retail companies— and a list of the retailers they represent,including Kohl’s, Sears, Target and visit FEMA Encourages EmergencyMacy’s—urging them to take precautions letter.pdf. Managers to Plan for Entireto prevent worker injuries during Black CommunityFriday and other holiday sales events. LEAD In an address to emergency managers inEnclosed with the letter was the OSHA San Antonio, Texas, Federal Emergencyfact sheet, “Crowd Management Safety NIOSH Releases Online Lead Management Agency (FEMA) Adminis-Tips for Retailers.” The fact sheet, avail- Database trator Craig Fugate encouraged attendeesable at A new online resource released by to consider the capabilities and needs of NIOSH in November will help users iden- the entire community, including people tify, monitor, and address harmful over- with disabilities and children, when exposures to lead, the agency stated in a planning for disasters. press release. The web page provides data on cases of elevated levels of lead in the blood of adults, and trends in those cases over time. Daily, weekly, and monthly rentals. Intended primarily for use by occupa- tional and environmental health profes- sionals and researchers, the web page allows users to customize reports by year, U.S. state, age group, type of expo- sure, industry sector, and gender. The “Considering the needs of all members data are drawn from the NIOSH-funded of our community and planning for Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Sur- worst case scenarios is exactly why we veillance (ABLES) program. Exposure in- need a strong emergency management formation from 2002 through 2008 is team—a team that FEMA is only one Your one-stop rental source for... available for 40 states. member of,” Fugate told his audience at Respirator t testing systems The new web page can be found at the 58th Annual International Associa- Air monitoring and sampling pumps Combustion e ciency analyzers tion of Emergency Managers Conference. Gas detection and monitoring “We know government can’t do it HVAC and ventilation test instruments alone—many of the most innovative Indoor air quality monitoring ideas for how we can protect all mem- Particulate monitoring bers of our community from the impacts Sound and noise level monitoring of disasters will come from you.” See our website for the full list Fugate then announced a FEMA- sponsored competition intended to gen- Save an automatic 5% when erate ideas for ways that communities you rent at! can become better prepared for disas- Need help with your rentals? default.aspx. ters. The winning idea will be featured Call 866-RENT-EHS (866-736-8347) “With this new web page, we are on the agency website. For more infor- pleased to make data from the ABLES mation about the competition, visit New instrumentation catalog! program more accessible, more under- Get yours at Circle Fax-back Card No. 916 The Synergist I December 2010
  18. 18. NEWSWATCH | DEPARTMENTENFORCEMENT IH Careers a Hot Topic in the NewsMSHA Asks Court to Temporarily Close From Yahoo! to the Wall Street Journal, media outlets have been giv-Kentucky Mine ing industrial hygiene and related professions a lot of attention lately:On Nov. 3, MSHA filed a motion with the U.S. District • For its video series “Career Paths,” the Wall Street Journal onlineCourt for the Eastern District of Kentucky for a prelim- featured an interview with AIHA® member and EHS Director atinary injunction against Freedom Energy Mining Co.’s Emilcott, Paula Kaufmann, CIH. The video, available atMine No. 1 in Pike County, Ky. This is the first time, shows Kaufmann performing a health andMSHA has used its authority to take legal action of safety audit and discussing what motivates her in her career.this nature. Freedom’s Mine No. 1 is owned by MasseyEnergy Co., which also owns the Upper Big Branch •, in collaboration with, ranked envi-mine in Montcoal, WVa., where 29 miners were killed ronmental health specialist as the 22nd best job in America with ain an April 5 explosion. 28 percent 10-year job growth and a median salary of $71,000. In its brief, MSHA claims Freedom Energy has con- Jobs on the list, which appeared in the November 2010 issue ofsistently failed to investigate and manage crucial ele- Money magazine, are ranked by pay, job growth and quality of life.ments of its mining operations, and To view the list, go to four specific safety areas • Investopedia, powered by Yahoo! Finance, listed IH as one of sevenwhere the mine hasn’t properly jobs employers are desperate to fill. Investopedia reports that IHprotected its workers. According to jobs are expected to increase by 14 percent within the next eightMSHA, Freedom Energy neglected years. Visit to read the clear the mine of excessive accu-mulations of coal dust, failed to Have you seen industrial hygiene in the news? If so, let Themaintain an adequate roof control Synergist know by e-mailing, failed to test and maintainthe safety of electrical equipment to guard against [Continued: 18] Circle Fax-back Card No. 10 December 2010 I The Synergist 17
  19. 19. DEPARTMENT | NEWSWATCH[From: 17]fires or explosions, and neglected to The guidance does not define or re-properly ventilate the mine of hazardous quire a specific control option for a par-and explosive gases. Freedom Energy ticular type of source because BACT isMine No. 1 is located in a coal seam that determined on a case-by-case basis. In-emits excessive amounts of methane and stead, the guidance and resources pro-is prone to roof collapses—there have vide the basic information that permitbeen six major roof falls in the mine writers and applicants need to addresssince Aug. 11, 2010. GHGs. The guidance also provides exam- MSHA issued 1,952 citations and 81 local air permitting authorities identify ples of how permitting requirementsorders during eight standard inspections cost-effective pollution reduction op- could apply.between July 2008 and July 2010. If the tions for greenhouse gases (GHGs) under In January 2011, industries that arecourt grants MSHA’s motion, Freedom the Clean Air Act, the agency stated in a large emitters of GHGs, and are planningEnergy will be forced to temporarily close press release. to build new facilities or make majorits mine until it fixes all dangerous condi- EPA recommends that permitting au- modifications to existing ones, will worktions and institutes an MSHA-approved thorities use the best available control with permitting authorities to identifyhealth and safety management program. technology (BACT) process to look at all and implement BACT to minimize their To read the MSHA press release, visit available emission reduction options for GHGs. This includes the nation’s GHGs. After taking into account technical GHG emitters, such as power plants, re-01103.pdf. feasibility, cost and other economic, envi- fineries and cement production facilities. ronmental and energy considerations, Emissions from small sources, such asGREENHOUSE GASES permitting authorities should narrow the farms and restaurants, are not covered options and select the best one. EPA an- by these GHG permitting requirements.EPA Issues Pollution Permitting ticipates that, in most cases, this process Information about EPA’s guidance isGuidance will show that the most cost effective way available from tools made available by EPA in for industry to reduce GHG emissions will permitting.html.November are intended to help state and be through energy efficiency. In Brief John Funk, a former Nevada Test Site worker who helped lead the fight for com- pensation for work-related illnesses, died Oct. 13 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. (“Funk, ad- vocate for ex-test site workers, dies at 69,” Oct. 29.) Indiana OSHA was investigating the death of a 20-year-old student at the Univer- sity of Notre Dame who died while filming a practice of the Notre Dame football team when the scissor lift he was in tipped over from high winds. (“Declan Sullivan, Notre Dame videographer dies in accident, OSHA launches probe,” Washington Post.) The makers of Brazilian Blowout, a chemical hair-straightening treatment, stated in November that they would initiate legal action against Oregon OSHA following an agency alert that said the treatment contains dangerous amounts of formalde- hyde. (“Brazilian Blowout Formally Initiates Legal Proceedings Against Oregon OSHA,” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called for an EPA probe of toxic diesel pollution in Chicago’s two major rail stations and inside the cars that carry commuters. In No- vember, the Chicago Tribune reported that riders on the city’s Metra transit system were exposed to levels of diesel soot up to 72 times higher than on the streets out- side the system. (“Metra riders subjected to high amounts of diesel soot,” Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports 152 worker deaths in 2009- 2010, a rate of 0.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers. (“The Health and Safety Executive Statistics 2009/10,” Employees of Ames Laboratory from 1955 through 1960 who developed cancer were granted compensation by the U.S. Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. Ames Lab, a Department of Energy facility, was the site of secret research with radioactive materials, including uranium. (“Ames Lab uranium cause of cancer in workers; compensation claims approved,” Iowa State Daily.) Circle Fax-back Card No. 1118 The Synergist I December 2010
  20. 20. ®Go Green! Renew Your 2011 Membership Online! Continue to receive uninterrupted member benefits Connect with other professionals Receive current OEHS information Members who renew online prior to 12/31/2010 will be entered in a drawing for a $250 gift card!
  21. 21. Insight EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT I RISK ASSESSMENTEXPOSURE ASSESSMENTTime for ModelingToward a Culture Change for Industrial HygienistsBY STEVEN D. JAHNOn a recent trip to my parent’s home in Connecticut, I received a “safe” exposures from our considered “professional judgment”book from my Dad to read on my way back to South Carolina. are grossly in error. The second is laziness. We should be chas-The book contained an appropriate reference for gauging our ing an effective occupational health program with our best ef-progress in the use of modeling tools in exposure assessment. fort, but we cannot muster the energy. The majority of modeling Many of us learned our craft from graduate schools and cor- is done by a handful of practitioners, and often for litigation orporate organizations that expected a professional technical de- regulatory reasons.fense of judgments made to protect worker health. We wereexpected to ferret out hazards that mattered and defend the ex- Attitudependiture of dollars toward controls (whether engineering or ad- So how can we spark a return to our foundation of decisionministrative). Demonstrating the “adequacy” of that posture was making, exposure assessment? By making a professional com-left to the ethics of the individual—and of the corporate auditors mitment to learning and using models. The second edition ofwho looked at the work (and possibly wrote the procedures and Mathematical Models for Estimating Occupational Exposure totrained us as well). Chemicals is ready to guide your schooling. Join us in moving If this description reflects your experience, then your attitude this critical tool to the forefront of exposure assessment.may have been as mine was: I declared myself to be a profes- And that book my Dad gave me? It was titled, Do the Rightsional, short on time to document hazards that didn’t exist, and Thing.long on ethics. If you have read The Synergist or the Journal of Occupational Steven D. Jahn, CIH, is a senior IH technical advisor in Aiken, S.C. He can beand Environmental Health for any length of time, you recognize reached at or (803) 557-3828.that Tom Armstrong and Mike Jayjock have lobbied for yearsfor a transparent defense of our professional judgments throughmodeling. Yet even today, exposure modeling is rarely used. Thisresistance to modeling is cultural; changing a culture is slow Resourcework, and can be measured through what I call the three A’s: at- 1. Logan, P.W., G. Ramachandran, J.R. Mulhausen, andtitude, atmosphere, and acceptance. P. Hewett: “Occupational exposure decisions: Can limited data interpretation training help improve accuracy?”Atmosphere Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 53(4):311–324 (2009).In 1980, OSHA was ten years in existence and I was an indus-trial hygienist in training. Our professional emphasis was onmonitoring data, not models. (By the way, we still don’t have anexposure assessment standard to drive the right monitoring pri- Guidance for Exposure Modelingority.) However, most of our judgments are rendered with no The second edition of AIHA’s Mathematical Models for Esti-sampling data.1 It is the rare occasion when statistically valid mating Occupational Exposure to Chemicals, edited bydata populations drive exposure assessment decisions. Charles B. Keil, Catherine E. Simmons, and T. Renee Anthony, was released in 2009. Members can purchase this resource atAcceptance a discount of nearly 25 percent from the nonmember price.There are two reasons why our profession has not yet accepted Go to modeling. The first is fear of learning that supposedly20 The Synergist I December 2010
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  23. 23. DEPARTMENT | INSIGHT RISK ASSESSMENT Crossing a Threshold Do “Zero-Risk” Exposures Exist? BY FRANK MIRERDo observations of chemical hazards at high exposure levelspredict risk at much lower levels? Or are there reliably “safe”(that is, zero-risk) doses or exposure levels for most chemicalsother than carcinogens? To lay down the gauntlet, this columnargues that the concept of a “threshold” in a population violatesthe principle of the exposure-response relationship. I agreethere are population doses with minimal risk, perhaps practicalthresholds for concern. But assuming a threshold assumesthere is an exposure region where increasing exposure doesn’tincrease risk. Our jobs as practitioners include communicating the riskof a chemical exposure at levels well below those where ahazard has been identified. Paracelsians fondly say that“everything” is a poison at some dose, as a way soft-soapingpeople exposed to a chemical already shown to a be a poison.(I think Paracelsus used that argument to defend using mercuryas a medicine, based on an alchemical theory; probably hesaid or wrote it in Latin.) Opining about causation where oneperson among a larger group of similarly exposed individualsbecomes ill is another side of that coin. In some situations,the illness is clearly associated with exposure to the chemicalin some setting; in others, past evidence of association maybe shaky. As practitioners, we rely mostly on authorities like govern- Defining “Zero-Risk”ment or scientific organizations to tell us the level of exposure We are taught that all chemicals exhibit an exposure-responsewhere there’s a concern or probability of adverse effect. Since relationship: the lower the dose, the lower the risk. Is there aOSHA and NIOSH have done little in the past decade (or more) threshold—that is, the upper bound of zero-risk doses? Ato bring exposure rules or recommendations in line with threshold dose implies a dose region in which there is no expo-emerging science, the main sources of such data are the EPA sure-response relationship—within this region, increasing theIntegrated Risk Information System (IRIS) reference doses and dose carries no increased risk because the risk is zero. This re-concentrations ( and the Agency for Toxic gion is a biological black hole: dose goes in, but no responseSubstances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) minimal risk levels comes out.(MRLs) for hazardous substances ( What evidence is there for a threshold? Proving the thresh-index.html). old (in a population exposure-response relationship) is as diffi- I tell my students to go to IRIS and ATSDR whenever they cult as proving any negative. I teach the concept of “Limit ofhave an identified chemical exposure level to evaluate. IRIS Direct Observation” (LODO)—the power of various methods tocalculates a unit cancer risk for carcinogens, based on linear see the toxic potential of an exposure, if it were there. Thelow-dose extrapolation, and generates reference doses and con- LODO for laboratory studies is a risk of about 1 in 10 against acentrations for non-cancer endpoints by applying uncertainty zero background, the risk at the NOAEL or the benchmark dose.factors to a no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) as a point A background risk in control animals—for example, liver cancerof departure. Some of these values are aggressive (5 mg/m3 for in mice—moves the LODO upward. Some special designs (dis-toluene), and some are very aggressive (0.1 mg/m3 for xylenes). cussed below) might do a little better. (Remember that theThis column provides arguments for applying these aggressive Supreme Court-derived border of “significant risk” is 1 in 1,000,limits in the occupational setting. or 0.1 percent.)22 The Synergist I December 2010
  24. 24. INSIGHT | DEPARTMENT For studies in people, the LODO is the population rate of the Important laboratory (and possibly human) carcinogens such astarget condition. The population rate of lung cancer in Ameri- perchloroethylene (see “Percs at the National Academy” in thecan men is about 5 percent, so the LODO is whatever excess is May 2010 Synergist) have not been shown to cause mutationsconvincingly exposure-related. Maybe a 6 percent risk would in short-term statistically significant, but it would be difficult to get this Maybe the most prominent and troubling “non-genotoxic”accepted for hazard determination in a single study. Epidemiol- carcinogen is dioxin. The consensus is that dioxin acts by bindingogy can be more sensitive to elevated risks than laboratory to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). This interaction leads tostudies, but has many other barriers and obstacles. effects on a host of organ systems—immune, reproductive—and at Plenty of known human carcinogens—like sulfuric acid mist— very low levels of exposure. AhR was not known when I was aare unregulated even after direct observation. But, at 10 percent real toxicologist back in the 1970s. EPA’s interminable update ofexcess, we are extending knowledge below the LODO—that is, the risk assessment for dioxin—the last draft went from EPA to thelaboratory studies cannot confirm that a risk is less than 1 in 10. National Academy of Sciences in 2004—was sent back with com-It’s like the dark side of the moon before the Apollo missions— ments in 2006; EPA’s most recent response was released in Maywe knew it was there, but hadn’t seen it. 2010. EPA found low-dose risk for non-cancer endpoints as well Sometimes we get a window to test high-to-low-dose conti- as cancer (see of risk. Environmental tobacco smoke is classified as keyword=Dioxin). Honestly, the hundreds of pages, dozens of“known to be carcinogenic to humans.” I voted for this classifi- calculations, and, I assume, hundreds of references were toocation in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Car- much for me to digest.cinogens sometime around the year 2000. This determination is Every two years the Institute of Medicine, by law, updatesbased on multiple epidemiologic studies in people, mostly com- the list of conditions suffered by veterans exposed to Agent Or-paring lung cancer rates among non-smoking spouses of smok- ange and presumably caused by dioxin. Vietnam veterans whoers with those of non-smoking spouses of non-smokers. The suffer these diseases get compensation. Many organ systems arelower rate of lung cancer among non-smokers extended the implicated beyond cancers, including diabetes and nervous sys-LODO downward. Cigarette smoke is a very low-potency car- tem disorders (see (µg per µg), and the exposure gradient between direct _id=12662). The important point is that low-dose effects forand environmental exposures depends on which component of non-cancer endpoints are prominent in the risk assessmentsmoke is considered and which environmental exposure levels based heavily on laboratory results and are also found in theare assumed for the studies. But it could be 1,000-fold. assessment of people with dioxin exposure. The gradient between occupational and take-home asbestoslevels also must be very large, so family mesotheliomas also Acceptable Riskprovide evidence for high-to-low-dose continuity, and therefore There’s no doubt that a “significant” risk (in occupationallack of a threshold. The consensus is that the risk of cancer terms) persists at the NOAEL, whether cancer risk or other. Thefrom ionizing radiation is also present at low doses, although risk assessment task includes extrapolating known effects intothere are still deniers and advocates of the view that low doses the dose region where direct observation is not feasible. Theare good for you (radiation hormesis). risk management tasks include deciding an acceptable risk. It might be useful to convert the extrapolation factors now usedMega-Mouse and Mega-Rat by EPA to calculate the reference concentrations in IRIS to riskIn the mid-1970s, the “mega-mouse” study was planned to con- rates—I think the EPA benchmark dose software will actually dofirm or deny a threshold. Part of the Pine Bluff Arsenal, a bio- this. The distance of extrapolation from the point of departurelogical and chemical warfare facility in Arkansas, was dose to occupational levels is usually many factors of 10 lessreconfigured as the National Center for Toxicological Research, than those in the general environment. The task is feasible, andwhich housed the study. The agent chosen was acetylaminoflu- it needs to be accomplished. Practitioners waiting for authorita-orene, an amine to which few humans might be exposed. Here tive results can look up the IRIS RfC, multiply by 3 to accountis the abstract of an early mega-mouse report: for 24/7/365 exposures compared with occupational, and theyAlthough bladder neoplasms exhibited a minimum effect level would be in the ballpark.(or a nonlinear response) for specific conditions, the total re-sults were consistent with a “no threshold concept.” The late- Franklin Mirer, PhD, CIH, is a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Urban Public Health Program at Hunter College School of Healthappearing liver neoplasms displayed a nearly linear-type Sciences in New York. He can be reached at (212) 481-7651 orresponse that extrapolated directly to zero dose.1 A similar mega-rat study in England produced similar re-sults. Subsequent reinterpretations—by industry-associated sci- Resourceentists—have claimed evidence for a threshold. Overall, theparadigm-testing experiment was like the tree that burned in 1. Farmer, J.H., D.W. Gaylor, and W.G. Sheldon: “Effects of Dose and Time in a Long-term, Low-dose Carcinogenicthe forest with no one to smell it. Did it give off smoke? Study.” J Environ Pathol Toxicol 3(3 Spec No):17–34 (1980). The next stage of the debate was to concede the plausibilityof linear low-dose extrapolation for “genotoxic” carcinogensbut to argue a threshold for agents that did not cause mutations CONNECT for CREDITin short-term bioassays but did cause cancer in whole animals. December 2010 I The Synergist 23
  25. 25. FEATURE | Extreme MakeoversEXTREME MAKEOVERS Tips for Improving EHS GraphicsBY ED RUTKOWSKIBBob Emery talks about data theway a novelist might discuss verbs.Currently vice president for Safety,Health, Environment and RiskManagement at the University ofTexas (UT) Health Science Center atHouston, Emery has worked inOEHS for 25 years, and he’s certainthat the main reason why his OEHScolleagues struggle to win the ap- campus, one of the university’s major buildings flooded, rendering the bottom floor unusable. In the days following re- occupation of the upper floors, Emery’s team at the Health Science Center cre- ated graphs of indoor air quality data and posted them by the elevators, where University employees were sure to notice them. Instead of simply listing the data, the graphs clearly showed that air qual- ity measurements were within ASHRAE guidelines for IAQ. information. His lectures incorporate the ideas of American statisticians Edward Tufte and John Tukey, who have made important contributions to the field of in- formation design, and he often presents on the topic at conferences. Emery’s dual role allows him to chal- lenge his students with examples straight from his inbox. His assignments require students to create new presentations of existing data, and some of their makeovers are startlingly good. (A stu-proval of management is a seem- “When they were waiting to go to dent’s re-creation of BP exposure moni- their floor, they could actually see what toring data from the Gulf oil spill appearsingly innate difficulty making the relative humidity levels were, what in Figure 1.)data—the dry essence of exposure the temperature was—and they could see The Synergist recently spoke withmonitoring—come alive. this within the context of these red lines Emery about data presentation. Excerpts “We function largely in the field of that showed the ASHRAE recommenda- from this discussion appear on the fol-prevention, so on a good day, nothing tions,” Emery recalls. “We had hardly any lowing pages.happens,” Emery says. “The problem is indoor air quality complaints, I believethat we’ve got to get better at explaining largely because people could see the data The Synergist: If you were to make ato various stakeholders all of the work within the context of the reference lines.” broad generalization, how would youthat went on behind the scenes to make For Emery, data is more than raw characterize most OEHS professionals’nothing happen. And part and parcel of numbers; it’s part of a narrative. When skills in data presentation?that is showing data.” his employees show him a problematic Bob Emery: Im struggling to find a po- The event that crystallized the impor- graph, he’ll say, “You’ve got a good story lite term for “atrocious.” I don’t meantance of data presentation for Emery was to tell, but this sure ain’t telling it.” He that in a bad way; it’s just sometimesTropical Storm Allison, which dumped has ample opportunity to share this judg- we’re so focused on the trees that we35 inches of rain on Houston in June ment with UT students, too: 20 percent of miss the forest. And that’s really what2001 and caused $5 billion worth of his appointment is dedicated to teaching drove my interest in graphics, because indamage across Texas. On UT’s Houston a class on communicating public health my field, I see confusing graphics time24 The Synergist I December 2010