Magazine article American Scientist

Meet Your Fellow Companion: Holly Haberstroh Loset

Magazine article American Scientist

Meet Your Fellow Companion: Holly Haberstroh Loset

Article excerpt

Sigma Xi promotes companionship among researchers so we highlight our members through the Meet Your Fellow Companions series. Flolly Fiaberstroh loset is a secondgeneration Sigma Xi member. She joined the Society in 1977 and currently works for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a compliance officer in North Syracuse, New York.

Please explain your field, which is industrial hygiene.

It's not a very well-known field, it's a specialty field in the family of environmental studies. An industrial hygienist focuses on the health of the worker, not the environment. So we're focused on what the exposure is to a worker relating to everything from dust, silica, noise, respiratory hazards, radiation, biological hazards. One of the specialties of an industrial hygienist is monitoring and measuring the contaminants to really determine what the hazard is to the worker.

What made you want to get involved in this field?

I came across it through my hometown of Midland, Michigan, the home of Dow Chemical. After I finished my bachelor's degree in biology, I worked in the toxicology lab at Dow Chemical and was surrounded by a group of very interesting scientists. There, I came across this field of industrial hygiene which I thought was neat because it involved the science of toxicology, research investigation, but you also get out into the real world. You go to the workplace to do these investigations so it's not really a lab job, usually.

You helped at the World Trade Center after the September 11,2001, attacks. Can you talk a little bit about that?

I had just started with OSHA. I had previously been with Syracuse University for many years as an industrial hygienist and the month after I switched to OSHA, the World Trade Center was attacked. I had the opportunity, as did many of the compliance officers, to go and serve at the World Trade Center as health and safety monitors. We did air testing, we trained people on how to use protective gear and respirators. We walked out there on the pile and advised people doing testing, hands-on out there where people were working on the recovery. And it was a life-changing event. It helped me understand that we, the United States, had been attacked and that truly was a war zone. The devastation was amazingly huge beyond what you can imagine until you've walked across that pile of rubble. …

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