Early Fall Timetable for Key AIHA/ACGIH Alliance Actions

TORONTO -- Early fall is shaping up as a milestone point for the planned alliance of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists that was announced during AIHce 2009 here. The plan requires ACGIH bylaws changes that will depend on a two-thirds vote, which is a significant challenge, board Chairman Jimmy Perkins acknowledged Tuesday. ACGIH has about 3,000 members, half of whom hold dual membership in AIHA. No bylaws change for AIHA is needed.

ACGIH would cease to have members under the alliance, which received unanimous approval from both boards of directors. Numerous details have yet to be ironed out. AIHA currently charges $190 annually in dues, while ACGIH charges $175. The goal is to have dual members paying dues only once in 2010, said Lindsay Booher, AIHA's president.

"I think there's a clear case for action. We have core strengths. We know what those are. We want to build on those going forward," Booher said during a session at which he and Perkins answered questions and discussed the alliance with members, including board members from both organizations. "I think we have a clearer and better path forward. . . . We are interested in a shared success."

The two organizations are not changing their names, and they are not merging, both men stressed. But they agreed these moves must be made. ACGIH fought a legal battle for about four years to preserve its ability to issue and update Threshold Limit Values, and a sustainability fund to keep the TLVs and BEIs going for the foreseeable future was launched in the past year. The fund and the alliance are linked, ACGIH Executive Director Tony Rizzuto noted.

"We believe we need to unite the profession in North America," Booher said. Perkins agreed, saying, "I think we're at a critical point for the profession."

AIHA's next board meeting will take place at its PCIH event, while ACGIH's is currently scheduled for November but may be accelerated to early September, Perkins said. Both organizations will work now to communicate with their members about the alliance and obtain their feedback. PCIH 2009 is sheduled to take place Oct. 3-6, 2009, in Vancouver, Canada. For more information, go to www.pcih2009.org.

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