Certified Industrial Hygienists Help Prevent New Cases of Occupational Asthma
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the need to address exposure risks to airborne allergens and irritants.
Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help prevent new cases of occupational asthma from occurring and to help prevent exposure to allergens and irritants for those who already have the condition.
Occupational asthma, also referred to as work-related asthma, is the most common occupational lung disease in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “An estimated 11 million workers in a wide range of industries and occupations are exposed to at least one of the numerous agents known to be associated with occupational asthma. Occupational factors are associated with up to 15 percent of disabling asthma cases in the United States.”
Workers in many industries and a wide range of worksites are potentially at risk of being exposed to substances that could cause or worsen occupational asthma. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 250 substances are known or believed to cause or exacerbate work-related asthma. These substances include many chemicals used in manufacturing; paints; cleaning products; dusts from wood, grain, and flour; latex gloves; certain molds; animals; and insects.
Occupational asthma can be controlled and the NIH lists three main approaches for the work environment. They include:
· Preventing the disease by reducing or eliminating environmental allergens and irritants.
· Detecting the disease early, even before symptoms appear, by using surveillance measures.
· Avoiding worsening symptoms by preventing exposure or using something less harmful.
“Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help prevent new cases of occupational asthma from occurring and to help prevent exposure to allergens and irritants for those who already have the condition,” said Ulric Chung, MCS, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at ABIH. “These professionals are trained and experienced in many techniques, including workplace assessments, air sampling, risk analysis, and engineering and exposure controls. These and other core competencies that are central components of the Certified Industrial Hygienist program are critical to establishing or maintaining a safe and healthy work environment that minimizes the risk of exposure to environmental allergens and irritants.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, Certified Industrial Hygienist® (CIH®) program or to locate a CIH to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene
Since 1960, ABIH, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6700 people are certified to use the CIH designation.
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