Industrial Hygiene is defined as the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of the work environment. Staff at both Coralville and Ankeny locations assist in recognition, evaluation and control by analyzing samples collected in occupational settings for the measurement of chemicals, silica and asbestos.
Equipment and instrumentation used in the analysis depends upon the type of exposure in the work environment. For example, asbestos analysis is conducted using microscopy; silica analysis is conducted using x-ray diffraction; organic chemical analysis utilizes gas or liquid chromatography; and metals such as lead are analyzed using inductively coupled plasma with optical emission spectroscopy or mass spectrometry detection.
The Hygienic Laboratory also tests for asbestos in building materials for private clients and fire departments. When fire departments are preparing for a practice burn on a building, samples (including floor tile and pipe wrapping) are collected and analyzed for the presence of asbestos. Conducting this testing allows for asbestos removal prior to the burn and prevents asbestos fibers from becoming airborne during the burn.
- The Industrial Hygienic section successfully retained accreditation by the American Industrial Hygiene Association Laboratory Quality Assurance Programs. The Hygienic Laboratory is one of a select group of laboratories that have been accredited since the Industrial Hygiene program began in 1975. This program is now internationally recognized by International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, which is increasingly required by several federal agencies.