It's a Bird; It's a Whale; It's AIHCE!

The largest visitors to San Diego are the gray whales, which migrate from Alaska. Swimming approximately 70 miles a day, they complete their journey in the breeding waters off of Baja, Calif. However, another large entity, converging from all parts of the world, will be visiting San Diego June 1-6, 2002, specifically the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHCE).

The San Diego Convention Center is the site of this year's conference for occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) professionals. The Convention Center is close to many hotels and the Seaport Village, with more than 100 shops and restaurants. And outside the temperature will range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while inside the Center, the air will be charged with hot topics, such as terrorism.

As part of AIHCE's response to current world events, a chemical/bioterrorism learning track is included in this year's education program. Highlighted in the technical program section, these sessions will be presented by individuals who have direct knowledge and experience of the September 11, 2001, events.

A new format, "Late-Breaking Issues," will present up-to-date news and issues relative to September 11, 2001, the anthrax threat and other timely and urgent topics affecting industrial hygienists.

In response to an overwhelming number of requests for more case studies and environmental health and safety crossover programs, AIHCE doubled the number of papers that will be presented. Topics include indoor environmental quality, ergonomics, mold remediation and management, risk management, global trends in health and safety management and medical surveillance support for emerging industries, among other topics.

This year, the centerpiece of the conference is the Expo. In addition to products and service for almost every OEHS specialty, time dedicated to visiting the Expo has been built into the week. Indicated as "Expo Only," these non-conflicting hours provide ample opportunity to meet with key industry representatives. Also, there will be daily prize drawings and complimentary coffee on Wednesday morning.

As part of this year's theme, "Powerful Partnerships," there will be three keynote speakers. At the general opening session on Monday, June 3, Ron Hayes, founder and director of the FIGHT Project, Fairhope, Ala. will address partnerships in relation to public awareness. According to his biography, in 1993, Hayes' only son died after suffocating under 60 tons of corn in a grain silo accident. After his death, Hayes established the FIGHT Project, which helps families cope with workplace-related illnesses, injuries and deaths.

On Tuesday, June 4, the Honorable John L. Henshaw, CIH, ROH, Assistant Secretary of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA), Washington, D.C., will discuss partnerships between the government and individual workplaces in order to improve job safety and health.

At the general session on Wednesday, June 5, Kyle B. Olson, Vice President and Senior Associate for Community Research Associates, Washington, D.C., will address partnerships in an international context. According to his biography, Olson is currently a leading authority on high-technology terrorism, the threat of chemical and biological weapons and the challenges of arms control. The first Western expert to investigate the 1994 terrorist use of Sarin nerve gas in Matsumoto, Japan, Olson is presently directing the activities of a team of experts supporting New York City response efforts in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. A breakout question and answer session will follow his presentation.

The exhibit hall is open Monday, June 3 and Tuesday, June 4, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, June 5, 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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This article originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Environmental Protection, Vol. 13, No. 5, p. 16.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2002 issue of Environmental Protection.

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