Industrial Hygiene SHAM SHOWS!
11 years 8 months ago #1
Following up on an older post: Deceptive Practice/Industrial Hygiene Air Studies
An investigation into \"what went wrong\" with an air study my employer had done by a private Industrial Hygienist uncovered some remarkable shenanigans going on in the Private (for profit) Industrial Hygiene industry.
I was getting sick from fumes coming off an open \"floor sink\" drain at work, where I cleaned medical equipment at the end of the day using a powerful industrial detergent which contained a biocide (phenoxyethanol). When a private Industrial Hygienist gave our operation a clean bill of health, I started digging. Here's what I learned.
Volatile Organic Compounds exist at low (and sometimes not so low) levels in all urban environments... Even outdoors! Anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital has experienced the \"hospital smell\" which is in fact VOCs, mostly from the gallons of disinfectant/cleaners spread throughout much of the facility every day.
Problemo is... All the controversy surrounding chemical pollution and its affect on workers, particularly pregnant women (which there are a lot of in hospitals), has created a powerful incentive for many to slip into a fantasy world where VOCs are either \"illegally high\" or \"non-existent\"!
If an Industrial Hygienist dutifully reported actual levels of VOC in his/her reports, he/she would soon be out of business, as employers don't want to hear about ANY VOC existing in their workplace. This has spawned a system of deception that has rendered a disgraceful state of affairs in private Industrial Hygiene... The SHAM SHOW! In my case, which ended a 20 year career with the same group of doctors; the hygienist came around in the morning with the safety officer and did a quick sniff around with an electronic nose while no one else was watching. As I stated above, the problem with the drain occurred only during evening cleanup.
The display of an electronic nose is in digital/numarical parts per million, down to 0.1ppm. To avoid documenting the actual VOC the machine is reading, the hygienist may FUDGE what he/she considers a \"low level/insegnificant\" read into what is logged on the report as \"TVOC Non Detected\". This slight of hand allows an escape for the hygienist if his result is seriously questioned, and gives the employer what he/she is paying for and wants so badly to see... The illusion that there is nothing there at all!
\"Non Detected\" can mean a number of things. Illegal levels of VOC were non detected... Substantial levels of VOC... Dangerous levels of VOC. The hygienist may explain (under pressure) that logging the actual numbers displayed on the instrument would be \"too confusing\" to the laymen, and thus rationalize his fraudulent report. When put on the hot seat, they will state they never use terms like \"absolute zero\" or \"nothing there\" in their reports, yet this is what they appear to state when you read them.
The bottom line is... If a hygienists' report does not state TVOC in a numerical format, he's probably gaming the system. The result is, employers have large stacks of very official looking documents that seem to indicate there are no VOCs anywhere... Sick workers appear as \"sick fools\"... And the private Industrial Hygiene profession has a very profitable business generating misleading documents.
The practice is a disgrace to professional people everywhere and should be corrected at once. This can only happen when enough misleading reports are investigated, and reveal these emperors have no clothes!
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