American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
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The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) is a professional association of industrial hygienists and practitioners of related professions, with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of its goals is to advance worker protection by providing timely, objective, scientific information to occupational and environmental health professionals.
The National Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (NCGIH) convened on June 27, 1938, in Washington, D.C. NCGIH originally limited its full membership to two representatives from each governmental industrial hygiene agency. In 1946, the organization changed its name to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and offered full membership to all industrial hygiene personnel within the agencies as well as to governmental industrial hygiene professionals in other countries. Today, membership is open to all practitioners in industrial hygiene, occupational health, environmental health, and safety domestically and abroad.
Presently, 11 ACGIH committees focus their energies on a range of topics: agricultural safety and health, air sampling instruments, bioaerosols, biological exposure indices, computer, industrial ventilation, infectious agents, international, small business, chemical substance TLVs, and physical agent TLVs.
TLVs and BEIs
ACGIH establishes the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for chemical substances and physical agents and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs).
Undoubtedly the best known of ACGIH's activities, the Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances (TLV-CS) Committee was established in 1941. This group was charged with investigating, recommending, and annually reviewing exposure limits for chemical substances. It became a standing committee in 1944. Two years later, the organization adopted its first list of 148 exposure limits, then referred to as Maximum Allowable Concentrations. The term "Threshold Limit Values (TLV)" was introduced in 1956. The first Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values was published in 1962. A new edition is now published every year. Today's list of TLVs includes over 600 chemical substances and physical agents, as well as over 30 Biological Exposure Indices for selected chemicals.
The TLVs and BEI are developed as guidelines to assist in the control of health hazards. These recommendations or guidelines are intended for use in the practice of industrial hygiene, to be interpreted and applied only by a person trained in this discipline.
In certain circumstances, individuals or organizations may wish to make use of these recommendations or guidelines if the use of TLVs and BEIs contributes to the overall improvement in worker protection.