Pittsburgh AIHA Historical Committee
The 2021-2022 Executive Committee is pleased to announce the formation of a new committee: the Pittsburgh Local Section Historical Committee.
The purpose of the Historical Committee is to document, preserve and curate information about our rich history and impact on the local community as a local section since our formation as one of the inaugural local sections of AIHA in October of 1939.
Josh Maskrey will chair the committee for 2021-2022.
If you are interested in getting involved the committee, or if you have historical documents, meeting records, photographs, or other information that pertain to our section’s history, please e-mail PittsburghAIHAhistory@gmail.com.
Our initial points of focus will be gathering information on the formative years of our local section (1939-1945) and developing a timeline of significant IH contributions through the present day. However, we welcome any and all historical information!
The Formation of the Pittsburgh AIHA
(Submitted by Josh Maskrey, CIH, Pgh. AIHA Historical Committee)
National AIHA’s Development of Local Sections
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) was officially formed at the June 1939 meeting of the American Association of Industrial Physicians and Surgeons. Our Pittsburgh local section was quick to follow; the original interim bylaws of national AIHA gave their board of directors the power to foster the formation of local groups and admit new members. The fledgling national AIHA appointed a committee, chaired by Gordon G. Harrold, to conquer the task of developing local sections in key industrial centers in the USA. Pittsburgh was one of those key industrial centers, our city was an industrial giant in the steel, coal mining, glass, railroad, and coke industries. Pittsburgh’s scientists had a history of contributing important, practical research to the growing industrial health and occupational toxicology communities. We had a core group of industrial hygienists interested in forming a section. F.R. Holden, H.H. Schrenk, and E.C. Barnes represented the Western PA portion of the local section committee formed by national AIHA.
Those three scientists wasted no time in recruiting interested parties to the new Pittsburgh Section AIHA. On October 18, 1939, a national AIHA meeting was held at the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. Nine members of the inaugural board of directors were in attendance, including the first Pittsburgh local section president H.H. Schrenk. At that meeting, those present voted that one-sixth of each national member’s annual dues (which were $3.00 at the time) should be rebated to the corresponding local section to provide for expenses (AIHA 1940a; Clayton and Clayton 1994). The Pittsburgh local section continued to develop after this October meeting and was officially organized in January of 1940 at a local section meeting.
The inaugural Pittsburgh section officers were as follows:
First Professional Activity of our Section
On December 13, 1939, key members of the developing Pittsburgh local section of AIHA prepared a technical meeting for the Western PA American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) on the topic of respiratory protection. This meeting may have been our first documented professional activity as a local section. There were three presentations:
AIHA. (1940a). Local Sections. American Industrial Hygiene Association Quarterly: 1(1), p. 20-21. Chicago, Illinois.
AIHA. (1940b). Constitution an By-Laws of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. American Industrial Hygiene Association Quarterly: 1(1), p. 21-23. Chicago, Illinois.
Clayton, G. D., & Clayton, F. E. (1994). The American Industrial Hygiene Association: Its history and personalities 1939–1990. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Peter Josef Safar, The Father of CPR
Frank Pokrywka (Pgh. AIHA) shared this information and noted that he met Dr. Safar several times and presented lab safety and bloodborne pathogen training to his research staff.
Peter Safar, a pioneer in critical care medicine and a three-time Nobel prize nominee for medicine, was known as the father of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
During the 1950s, Safar designed a daring experiment, one that he acknowledged could not be repeated in later years—he sedated and paralysed volunteers. Then he would tilt a volunteer's head back and thrust the jaw forward, demonstrating effective airway opening. He also proved that a long forgotten manoeuvre, the “kiss of life,” or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, was far more effective than the then standard chest pressure and arm lift technique.
Safar emphasised that saving the heart and lungs would have little value if the brain were not similarly protected. He promoted cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation, or CPCR, which relied on mild hypothermia to preserve cerebral function. He also performed studies on dogs to examine whether profound hypothermia could induce at least a brief state of suspended animation—something that he hoped could prove useful in cases of severe trauma and exsanguination. “Peter believed if you could buy even an hour or two hours to figure things out in the madness and mayhem that happens in these situations, it might buy the time you need to sort things out,” said Patrick Kochanek, director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research in Pittsburgh. Read more here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC194106/
Did You Know? ACGIH History....
Shared by: Frank Pokrywka, PhD., CIH, Pgh. AIHA Treasurer
On June 27, 1938 John J. Bloomfield combined his efforts with Royd R. Sayers to establish a meeting of the National Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (NCGIH) in Washington, DC. Bloomfield was a US Public Health Service industrial hygienist, whose organization and leadership skills were instrumental to the founding of ACGIH.
One of America's pioneers in industrial hygiene, Bloomfield's outstanding research focused on hazards in the workplace. His studies were conducted in the actual work environments with personnel on-site rather than in laboratory experiments or with computer models.
Bloomfield, also known as "Black Jack," served at the US Bureau of Mines, at the US Public Health Service, and in South America through the Institute of Inter-American Affairs and the Pan-American Health Organization. He was a charter member of both ACGIH and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and served both as Chair and President respectively.
In 1958, Bloomfield published an article in American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal “What the ACGIH has Done for Industrial Hygiene.” – Volume 19, Published 1 August 1958 – Issue 4.
Abstract: John J. Bloomfield, more familiarly known to industrial hygienists as “Jack”, was a pioneer in the development of industrial hygiene in the United States, and has been a leader and “sparkplug” in the field since those early days. He has transferred his pioneering and “sparkplugging” to South America, but continues to be a leader even here. This year, “Jack” was the recipient of the Cummings Memorial Award at the A.I.H.A. annual dinner. On the preceding evening, he was the honored guest and speaker at the Twentieth Anniversary Banquet of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Your Editor and the Editorial Committee believe that the text of his talk at the A.C.G.I.H. dinner will be of interest and value to A.I.H.A. Journal readers for the historical background, and the ideas and concepts for the future. (Click HERE to view entire article. John J. Bloomfield (1958) What the ACGIH has done for Industrial Hygiene, American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 19:4, 338-344, DOI: 10.1080/00028895809343600)
In 1979, the FIRST John J. Bloomfield Award was presented. This award is presented annually to a young industrial hygienist who has made significant contributions to the profession by pursuing occupational health hazards, primarily through fieldwork. The recipient must have at least three but less than ten years of experience in occupational health and must spend a minimum of 50 percent of his/her time conducting industrial hygiene studies and documenting the data involved. From 1978-1988, four women and six men have merited this award.
Read more about ACGIH Awards, previous recipients, and acceptance videos from current awardees.
AIHce History - In 1961, AIHA® and ACGIH® jointly sponsored the first wholly separate conference and exposition for industrial hygienists (now known as AIHce). Up to that point, AIHA had been invited, since its founding in 1939, as a participant organization in a joint conference lead by the American Association of Industrial Physicians and Surgeons (AAIPS). The program pictured here was from the 1941 event held in Pittsburgh at the William Penn Hotel.
Mellon Institute was the incubator for IH in Pittsburgh. Scientists from Union Carbide, Dow, Pitt, Carnegie Tech and others started this institution, Later on came the Industrial Health Foundation as a commercial tox lab and IH testing lab. Before Pitts Graduate School of Public Health came researchers from Gulf Oil, Westinghouse, Koppers, US Steel, etc. Some of the Pittsburgh names who made IH famous included Henry Smyth, John Braun, Howard Bumstead, YYves Alarie, Nurtan Esmen, Joe Zatek, check out this link https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/mellon-institute.html#mellon_institute_history
Interesting Historical Stuff:
The True Story of Old Overholt Rye (found in Whiskey Advocate)
January 4, 2018 –––––– Sam Komlenic
Old Overholt rye has had a steady presence on the bottom shelf of your local liquor store for decades, its founder's face glaring at you from the label of every bottle—but it wasn't always that way. In fact, Old Overholt was, at one time, one of the most respected and highly regarded whiskeys in the United States, said to have once been the preferred tipple of notables like Ulysses S. Grant and John Henry “Doc” Holliday. It is the only American whiskey brand that retains undeniable ties to the “Old Monongahela” (muh-non-guh-HAY-luh) style of rye.
So how did this once-lauded whiskey go from top of the heap to bottom-shelf bottle? It all started over 200 years ago.
Learn what makes Old Monongahela rye unique and where you can find it today
Jonas Salk Legacy Exhibit at Pitt Public Health
The Salk Legacy Exhibit is open to the public! Visit during regular Public Health Building hours and watch for updates to the growing exhibit.
"I LOOK UPON OURSELVES AT PARTNERS IN ALL OF THIS, AND THAT EACH OF US CONTRIBUTES AND DOES WHAT HE CAN DO BEST." - JONAS SALK
At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio was killing or paralyzing more than a half million people worldwide each year. Frequent epidemics among children led polio to become a highly feared disease. Survivors often faced lifelong consequences. In 1947, the University of Pittsburgh recruited Jonas Salk—an expert in influenza whose flu vaccine is still in use today—to develop a virus program at Pitt. For more than seven years, his team worked tirelessly to develop an effective killed-virus vaccine.
The April 12, 1955 announcement that the team's vaccine was proven to be effective was met with jubilation and called "a summit moment in history" by Newsweek. The Jonas Salk Legacy Exhibit at Pitt Public Health celebrates this public health milestone and achievement of Salk and his Pitt team.
Read more here: www.sph.pitt.edu/about/history-mission/salk-legacy-exhibit