Joseph H. Guth, PhD, CIH

Joseph H. Guth, PhD, CIH

"I have been in scientific research since 1959. Along the way, I completed a BS in Chemistry and a PhD in Biophysics and Biochemistry. I first worked in cancer research, went into the U S Army and was schooled in Chemical-Biological-Radiological Warfare and as a Chemical Laboratory Specialist, worked in chemical warfare research on antidotes for such chemical agents. After leaving the service with a full education in toxicology, I opened and operated commercial testing and R & D laboratories from 1978 to 1997. During that time, asbestos and lead paint became very important and we became heavily involved with all aspects of industrial hygiene. We had Certified Industrial Hygienists and former OSHA compliance officers on our staff and I learned much about the application of my background to bring it into a new context and application, that of industrial hygiene. For many years I went into the field, walking through various kinds of installations, interviewing workers, learning to detect all manner of potential hazards and then sampling to determine where the real hazards occurred. Even during that time of extensive field and laboratory work, I always found that there were many things that still needed to be tested for and applying my extensive research background, began to develop methods specific for industrial hygiene applications in the field and laboratory. Our laboratory became well-known for its cutting edge research findings. I shared those with any who requested such information. The EPA and NIOSH were regular guests over a number of years in requesting our research findings.

I took my CIH exams in 1987 as a result of this continuing activity. But what stands out for me most, when I think of the greatest benefits it has bestowed upon me, are the massiveness of the field of industrial hygiene that I ultimately found when preparing for my CIH exams. I took a number of IH courses over several years, took one month off work to study every aspect of industrial hygiene in depth, and then took the exams. It was a major revelation. The preparation and exams provided me with the necessary reason to complete my synthesis of knowledge and become a much better, broader-based industrial hygienist that I am today, more than 25 years after.

The CIH designation also provided me with the bona fides to be taken seriously by others, whether they were government procurement officers seeking expertise for government contracts, employers who had need for highly qualified industrial hygiene services, or testifying in various kinds of legal proceedings regarding some aspect of industrial hygiene or toxic exposure. I was also gratified to see the field broaden its applications into non-traditional settings, such as large-scale hazardous spills, post-fire scene toxicology, indoor air quality, mold exposures, and emergency first responders. My work continues to this day in industrial hygiene. I really love the field and do not plan to ever retire as long as I remain healthy enough to continue."