Thanks for the comments.
Ice is meth; meth is ice. Chemically identical and a good example of the way the law enforcement community has permitted certain myths to continue – there are many myths about “ice” on the street. Those myths are good for us, but bad for the bad guys.
Regarding “Industrial Hygienist.” Many people think the term is a euphemism, and once when I stopped into a tobacconist for some cigars, the shopkeeper asked me what I did. When I told him I was an Industrial Hygienist, he launched into a soliloquy on public toilets. I listened politely for a bit, and then inquired how we had changed the conversation to such an odd topic; to which he replied “Well, you’re an Industrial Hygienist, right? You clean bathrooms, right?”
Actually, no. We don’t clean toilets, teeth, buildings or anything else for that matter. In all other countries, we are referred to as “Occupational Hygienists.” However, both terms are a misnomer. The term “Industrial hygiene” was adopted (if I recall correctly) by Alice Hamilton MD, in about 1890 or early 1900’s, who was probably the first person in the US to specifically call herself an “Industrial Hygienist.”
Industrial Hygiene is the science and art devoted to the recognition, evaluation, anticipation and control of human stressors in the human environment which may cause sickness, impaired health, or significant discomfort among workers or among members of the general community. The human stressors can be manifest as chemical, radiological, physical or biological hazards. The industrial hygienist is an individual who, by formal training or experience, has obtained knowledge of the effects of stressors on humans and is capable of recognizing when those stressors may become hazards and is capable of controlling stressors as hazards.
Some industrial hygienists are strictly administrative (ensuring that a large corporation is in compliance with all pertinent OSHA rules and regulations, for example), some Industrial Hygienists may be certified or qualified in only one aspect of Industrial Hygiene such as noise, or ionizing radiation. Some Industrial Hygienists are merely attorneys or MDs, and don’t practice Industrial Hygiene outside those areas.
Most Industrial Hygienists however, are very like Home Inspectors in that we, like you, are “generalists.” Most of the competent IHs that I know are proficient in toxicology, physics, chemistry, and microbiology.
Assessing exposures to moulds, Bacteria, viruses and such, for decades were traditionally the realm of the professional Industrial Hygienists – a term that is defined by State statutes in most States (including mine). If one does not have the appropriate credentials, one is not permitted, by law, to practice Industrial Hygiene, or call themselves an Industrial Hygienist.
It is primarily for this reason, that so many “certified” mould experts, and “certified” mould inspectors suddenly appeared a few years ago – they could not meet the proper credentials for assessing human exposures to moulds, (since that was practicing industrial hygiene), so they decided to become “mould property inspectors” and a variety of other names in an effort to circumvent the laws of most states.
It is for that reason that when there is a law suit against an home inspector who has produced a mould inspection in an home, the attorneys will hire a real mould expert – an industrial hygienist. In 19 years, I have never lost a case when I have been brought in as a rebuttal witness against an home inspector’s indoor mould report. Home inspectors are easy to beat in court since all the Home Inspectors whom I have gone up against have collected samples, and they cannot defend their samples – poof! Sample results get demolished in court, and the Home Inspector’s case goes down faster than you can say “Ford Edsel.”
In my case, I am a Forensic Industrial Hygienist, simply meaning that I specifically prepare my stuff for courtroom presentation; in my case, I am also a cop, and tie the two disciplines together. So sometimes, I am working on criminal IH projects, sometimes its civil in the private sector. Believe it or not, there is at least one home inspector who is an active cop, and a number of Home Inspectors who follow this forum who are retired cops. (We have infiltrated your ranks…:twisted: )
Here’s an example of some of my current projects – 1) I was hired by a certain entity of the Federal government to search out, and find explosives inside ducts. 2) I am an expert witness for a Colorado city wherein it is my task to evaluate the chemical exposures and toxicological risks associated with a meth-lab they shut down, and to rebut the report of a certified industrial hygeinist who screwed up. 3) A local police department asked me to help execute a search warrant on a restaurant wherein patrons sat down and inhaled oxygen that was bubbled through a liquid (thought to be ethanol); my task was to help execute the warrant, look for evidence, perform sampling and then perform a toxicological “body-burden” model to determine what the blood alcohol content would be of a patron who inhaled alcohol laden oxygen; 4) I am an HIDTA certified clan-lab safety instructor for the State of Colorado, Department of Public Safety (Division of Criminal Justice) who hires me to teach other police officers how to make meth (and a few other drugs), and how to safely respond to clan-labs (including meth-labs), etc.
So essentially, a general practicing Industrial Hygienist is a scientist, and the only toilets I clean are the ones in my own home. I hope that clarifies.
p.s. I am not an Hollywood TV CSI guy - If we acted like that, we would go to jail. Also, I am just a simple road-dog, prowling the dark streets at 2 a.m. and could very well be the guy who shows up at your house to investigate that strange noise in your basement or with flashing red lights behind you handing you a speeding ticket… sorry .
Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
We are the thin blue line between you, and all the money in the world… and no, you can’t have any.
(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)