Big Doings in Dallas

The city rarely hosts a major safety and health meeting, but the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo arrives this month.

Forgive the pun, but attending the 2003 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo this month in Dallas is sure to mold your views of industrial hygiene and allied fields in a positive way. That's because AIHce 2003 has 16 educational sessions on mold spread over six days--"up to 75 hours of an exclusive mold educational track," organizers promise.

May 10-15 are the dates, with an environmental mold symposium set for the first day. Technical sessions begin Monday, May 12, and extend through Thursday; the expo is open Monday through Wednesday. Projected attendance for the entire event is 7,800 people, said Carol Tobin, who is group leader, Education & Meetings, for the co-sponsoring American Industrial Hygiene Association.

This year's AIHce bears the theme "Navigating Uncharted Territory." It meets in the Dallas Convention Center, which was expanded last year to 1 million square feet of exhibit space. Dallas says its center offers the world's largest column-free exhibit hall at 203,000 square feet; new and expanded lobbies; renovated meeting rooms; wireless Internet capability throughout the facility; three shuttle bus staging areas (with the advantage that each is on a different street); an attached heliport; and a commuter light rail station on the grounds of the complex.

Nine of the 13 hotels served by AIHce 2003 shuttle buses are within three blocks of a rail station. A round-trip rail ticket between any downtown hotel and the convention center costs $1.25.

Conference Highlights

Despite its prominence on the schedule, there is much more than mold at AIHce 2003. Co-sponsors AIHA and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists have arranged a robust lineup of sessions on bioterrorism, emergency response, communication and training, gas monitoring, indoor air quality, IH general practice, management, noise, risk assessment, safety, and toxicology, among other subjects. There are more pure safety sessions than previous AIHCE meetings offered, and environmental programs also are beefed up this year, said Tobin.

OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw, CIH, is the keynoter for the Opening General Session at 8 a.m. Monday. The keynote speaker on Tuesday at the same time is Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, who is expected to discuss his agency's expanded research agenda and emergency preparedness initiatives.

Keynoting the final General Session at 8 a.m. Wednesday is Melinda Ballard, president of Policyholders of America, an Austin, Texas-based advocacy group for homeowners affected by mold. Tobin said the mold track came about because "people just can't seem to get enough of it. . . . It's a big part of some consultants' role these days." But slating Ballard as a speaker troubled some AIHA members who feel the issue has been blown out of proportion, so the association scheduled a breakout session immediately after her speech where panelists can debate it directly with her. "It should be real spicy," Tobin predicted.

The Employment Services Job Fair 2003 will include a self-help workshop and mock interviewing at 10 a.m. Monday and on-site interviews with employers Tuesday afternoon, all day Wednesday, and Thursday morning.

Social Tours and Dallas Activities
Downtown Dallas has its charms--but not nearly enough of them, locals agree. One sign of this scarcity is that three of the five "social tours" on the AIHce program aren't in Dallas at all. These are the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, historic Fort Worth, and the American Airlines museum. Lots of attendees are interested in the technical tours this year, Tobin said, especially Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.'s operations in Fort Worth and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.'s main plant in Hurst.

Some attractions located downtown are the Dallas World Aquarium (1801 N. Griffin St., open daily, $10.95 adult admission/$6 children 3-12 years old); the American Airlines Center (a new arena for professional hockey and basketball games, concerts, and other events); Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum (411 Elm St., open daily, $10 adult/$9 children 6-18 years of age), where visitors learn about President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination; the West End's shops and restaurants; Deep Ellum's live music; and the 100-year-old Dallas Museum of Art (1717 N. Harwood, closed Mondays, $6 adult/$4 children 12 and under). If you're searching for the best local food, greater Dallas is renowned for fine steakhouses and delicious Texas barbecue.

Association officials urged attendees to visit the AIHce 2003 virtual expo for more complete exhibitor information at https://s11.a2zinc.net/clients/aiha/aiha2003/.

This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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