AIHce 20135,000+ professionals from the occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) world convene in Montreal starting today (Monday, May 20) for 74th annual American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce). The conference and trade show takes place at the Montreal Convention Center until Thursday, May 23.

Actually, some attendees have been in Montreal since Saturday taking full-day courses professional development courses aimed specifically at product stewards and sustainability professionals.

Stewardship and sustainability are twin, inter-related themes at the conference. All told, more than 30 technical sessions will cover related topics.

OSHA boss Dr. David Michaels will make an appearance tomorrow (Tuesday), in a joint “Meet the Press” discussion with the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labor, Human Resources and Skills Development in Canada. Former OSHA chief John Henshaw will moderate.

The exhibit hall opens this morning and runs through Wednesday. It features a cyber café, daily prize drawings and technical and student posters.

A Clandestine Drug Lab Special Exhibit put together by the Clandestine Laboratory Working Group will display a mock clandestine drug lab focusing on hazards associated with producing methamphetamine and indoor marijuana grow operations.

Many of the attendees, being health and safety professionals, are into fitness, if not necessarily having the time to be “ironmen” or “ironwomen” fitness freaks. For them there is the 27th annual 5K “Fun Run” tomorrow. You have to be dedicated. The run starts at 6:30 am at the Science Center at the Old Port. All “Fun Run”entry fee proceeds benefit the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation  Scholarship Program.

Interestingly, the AIHce attracts about 50 percent of the members of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). AIHA total membership is about 10,000. That’s down several thousand from the all-time high membership of more than a decade ago, when industrial hygienists were in high demand and made U.S. News and World Report’s list of hottest jobs in the nation.