Preventive Medicine and Biometrics

Labs and Resources

Division of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences- Industrial Hygiene Laboratory

The PMB Industrial Hygiene (IH) Laboratory serves as the learning hub for the hands-on technical aspects of occupational hygiene at USU. The laboratory serves as one of the three USU research laboratories committed to studying the effects of chemical, physical and biological hazards encountered in occupational and industrial settings, as well as in the environment proper. The laboratory is also the designated location for the instruction of PMO550 (Industrial Hygiene I), PMO552 (Industrial Hygiene II), and PMO555 (Industrial Ventilation) laboratory courses. Laboratory instruction emphasizes the art and science of exposure assessment through fundamental and modern sampling and monitoring techniques while instructing students on professionally communicating lab findings to commanders. To achieve the course and laboratory objectives, students focus on the use of lab-grade and direct-reading, field-portable instrumentation for analysis of particulates, bioaerosols, gases and vapors, industrial noise, radiation and illumination. The instruments are used to assess the processes that cause or contribute to these various chemical and physical hazards.

Analytical Environmental Health Laboratory

The PMB Analytical Environmental Health Laboratory serves as one of the three USU research laboratories committed to studying the effects of chemical, physical and biological hazards encountered by military, public health, environmental, emergency response and law enforcement agencies in all environments in which DoD operates. The laboratory is also the designated location for the instruction of PMO605 (Analytical Instrumentation in Environmental Health) and PMO607 (Environmental Chemistry) laboratory courses. The emphasis of the research conducted in this lab is real-time exposure assessment, focusing on the use of existing, novel and experimental instruments and methods. Working in the lab provides graduate students the opportunity for hands-on experience with powerful orthogonal technologies commonly used for definitive analysis of environmental samples, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), as well as GC combined with other detectors such as flame ionization and electron capture detectors. Real time, field friendly techniques, inspired by the need to deliver rapid and accurate results to on-scene commanders in civilian and military settings, are at the heart of research in the EH Lab given the relevance to military applications and missions. Rapid GC separation (capable of up to 200 °C per minute heating rate) capability has been studied in the lab and is currently available for method development and teaching purposes. Given its utility in field settings, it is the primary GC approach used in several research projects. Field ruggedized and portable instruments employing GC/Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry are also available for teaching and research purposes. Ongoing projects include the development and evaluation of airborne detection and quantification methods for the pesticide DDT and related pyrethroids, in collaboration with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the Navy Medical Research Center and the USU Entomology Department. The main focus of these projects is providing for improved force health protection and support for COCOMs such as AFRICOM by better characterizing the effectiveness of pesticides both spatially and temporally. Currently, the effects of UV (sunlight), temperature, wear (number of washings and duration of use of pesticide-impregnated material), different fabric types and fabric mesh sizes, application concentration and surface area, as well as the potential differences in spatial repellency offered by the varying chemicals are items of study. Additional ongoing projects of note involve the development of new miniaturized and rapid sampling and analysis methodologies for acute and long-term occupational monitoring of hazardous airborne pollutants as listed by OSHA.

In addition to the commands already mentioned, research collaborations include work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Counterterrorism Forensic Science Research Unit (CFSRU) laboratory, USMC Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) National Response Team (Salt Lake City, Utah), the U.S. Army Public Health Center and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI), among others.