ACGIH Plans Shift to 501(c)(3) Status

The move would require a bylaws change approved by its approximately 3,000 members. Current Chair Lisa Brosseau said May 17 she expects that vote to take place in the first or second quarter of 2012.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The fallout from the lawsuits filed several years ago against the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists over some of its Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) now is leading ACGIH's leaders to plan a shift to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit status, the ACGIH chair, Lisa Brosseau, said May 17 during a press luncheon at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo 2011 taking place here. She said the transformation will require that ACGIH's approximately 3,000 members vote for a bylaws change, with that vote probably taking place during the first or second quarter of 2012.

ACGIH and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) jointly present the AIHce conferences. AIHA's outgoing president, Michael Brandt, spoke during the same luncheon about successes during his one-year term in office, including planning the first AIHA Asia Pacific OH + EHS Conference + Exhibition that will take place Oct. 11-13, 2011, in Singapore. (Visit www.aihaap.org for details.) Both Brandt and Brosseau spoke about the challenges of maintaining their organizations and recruiting young, new members.

ACGIH withstood the lawsuits aimed at its TLVs. But the lawsuits, not the 2009 recession, impelled the leadership to decide to pursue a new format because defending the suits exhausted ACGIH's reserves and caused it to reach its insurance limits, she said. "I see this as an opportunity to really turn this organization into a business," Brosseau said of the 501(c)(3) plan. The change means ACGIH would no longer be a membership organization; members might be donor/supporters under the format. She said there is no plan in the works to combine ACGIH and AIHA.

Brandt said a tiered membership approach is being developed for AIHA in a bid to involve more occupational safety and health professionals with the organization. With NIOSH potentially losing the ability to fund its educational research centers soon, AIHA is looking for ways to provide knowledge and professional development to young professionals and to continue supporting a strong profession, he said.

Incoming AIHA President Elizabeth Pullen focused her remarks on promoting the OSH aspects of sustainability, possibly in partnership with ASSE's new sustainability center, and recruiting/supporting new members. AIHA is forming a Fellows Special Interest Group because its Fellows want to have a systematic way to give back to their profession, she said.

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