|From the Director's Desk
Violence Once Again in the Spotlight
to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, 639 homicides
occurred in the workplace in 2001 (excluding the 2,886 on 9/11/2001).
The vast majority of workplace homicides occurred during the course
of a robbery or another crime, but there were also incidents of
clients, customers and patients becoming violent, co-workers assaulting
co-workers, as well as domestic violence carried out in the workplace.
Additionally, an estimated 1.7 million workers are injured every
year in non-fatal workplace assaults. Preventing work-related
traumatic injuries, including workplace homicides and assaults,
is a priority research area for NIOSH and its partners under the
National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).
Following a Congressional mandate in 2002, NIOSH developed the
Workplace Violence Research and Prevention Initiative. The new
funding for the initiative has greatly enhanced the intramural
and extramural research program, including a strong outreach component.
In 2002, NIOSH awarded five research grants to universities and
organizations across the country for new research on workplace
violence. Four studies focus on identifying risk factors for workplace
violence in diverse occupational groups and the fifth focuses
on research to increase the identification of domestic violence
in the workplace. Intramurally, NIOSH is currently analyzing data
from a special survey on workplace risks that was conducted in
conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime
Victimization Survey, conducting in-depth telephone interviews
with workers treated in a sample of U.S. hospital emergency departments
for a workplace assault injury, as well as evaluating state-based
approaches to workplace violence prevention, and carrying out
collaborative research with the Veterans Health Administration
NIOSH has taken the lead in creating the Federal Interagency Task
Force on Workplace Violence Research and Prevention with partners
from the Departments of Labor and Justice and representatives
from more than twenty federal agencies. The Task Force provides
a forum for sharing information and identifying opportunities
for collaborative efforts. The Task Force met for the first time
in January of this year and the next meeting of the group is scheduled
for September 9, 2003 in Washington, DC.
Another outreach effort is a series of stakeholder meetings. Representatives
from federal agencies, industry, labor, professional organizations,
advocacy groups, and academia have been assembled to participate
in forums to share information and identify pressing research
and prevention needs in four specific areas of workplace violence.
To date, forums on violence in health care settings and domestic
violence in the workplace have taken place and NIOSH is planning
forums related to violence in retail trade and violence against
security and law enforcement professionals in the next few months.
has recently updated the violence topic page. For more information
on workplace violence, visit the website Violence web page http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/traumaviolence.html.
|Severe Acute Respiratory
Director Testifies on SARS and Aircraft Indoor Air Quality
Recently, NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, testified before the
House Subcommittee on Aviation concerning aircraft cabin environments.
The aircraft cabin represents a unique occupational setting
given its high occupant density, low ventilation rates per occupant,
reduced air pressure, and shift lengths for flight crews that
may exceed fourteen hours.
the need to study the potential health effects from exposures
in such a setting, NIOSH has played a key role in working with
other federal agencies and industry to identify areas of concern
and make recommendations for their resolution. Currently, NIOSH
is working on several studies related to cabin air quality and
assisting CDC in the development of computer simulations to
determine how diseases are transmitted in cabins, the creation
of an informative video on SARS to be shown on flights from
affected areas, and the effects of cosmic radiation exposure
on flight crews.
of the NIOSH Response to SARS
NIOSH played a key role in the international response to SARS.
NIOSH researchers were detailed to Taiwan and Toronto while
others supported the CDC Emergency Response Center in Atlanta.
We asked NIOSH scientists to describe their experience and have
captured a few of their stories…
Ken Wallingford, CIH, was deployed to Taiwan from April 29 to
May 11, 2003. Working closely with environmental scientists
from the Taiwan CDC, the Taiwan Institute of Occupational Safety
and Health, and the Taiwan University School of Public Health,
he assisted with the design of isolation rooms, hospital inspection,
and infection control. His group was charged with increasing
the isolation room capacity in Taiwan by approximately 1,500
beds as quickly as possible.
Max Kiefer, CIH, was deployed to Taiwan from May 29 to June
13, 2003. Max and his team were responsible for evaluating eleven
“SARS hospitals” in Kaoshiung, Taipei, Hua Lien,
Taidong and Taichung. The team assessed each hospital’s
isolation room design and ventilation systems, personal protective
equipment and infection control practices, health care worker
training and patient/health care workers pathway isolation.
Eric Esswein, MSPH, CIH, CIAQP, was deployed to Southern Taiwan
from May 16- June 2, 2003. Eric and his Taiwanese colleague
Lukas Lee evaluated eleven health care facilities in southern
Taiwan (Kaohsiung, Tainan, Chai-Yi) evaluating negative pressure
isolation control on SARS wards, use of personal protective
equipment and infection control practices for health care staff.
Eric's team was responsible for developing the design for converting
an abandoned Taiwanese military barracks into a working SARS
hospital. While under enormous time constraints, Eric was instrumental
in developing the design plan for the hospital within 24 hours
and the transformation was completed in less than 6 days.
Even though they had important tasks to accomplish, their own
safety was constantly on their minds.
“While in Taiwan and touring hospital after hospital,
I had a heightened level of anxiety because I knew this was
a serious respiratory infectious disease that someone my age
did not need to acquire.” Ken Wallingford
Their experiences can best be summarized by the following two
"I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to work
with the SARS International Team; the dedication, caring, commitment,
and work ethic of my CDC co-workers and Taiwanese counterparts
was inspiring - a truly incredible once-in-a lifetime experience."
“Working with my extremely capable Taiwanese and US
colleagues to put the brakes on SARS was a deeply rewarding
opportunity and an experience that I will never forget, a highpoint
of my career for certain.” Eric Esswein
NIOSH thanks Eric, Max and Ken and the other researchers for
their extraordinary service during this challenging time.
May 16, 2003 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reports
on a cluster of SARS infections among protected health care
workers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The report follows the
transmission of SARS from three infected patients to their Canadian
physician to health care workers treating the ill physician.
This cycle resulted in nine suspected and two probable cases
of SARS among the health care workers treating the physician.
Possible causes of the transmission to the health care workers
included the lack of formal respiratory protection training
and individual workers not being properly fit tested. Additionally,
Health Canada recommendations, although similar to those of
CDC, differ from the CDC guidelines which specify the use of
respirators approved by NIOSH rated at an N95 level of protection
or greater. Health Canada recommends use of "N95 equivalent"
respirators. The respirators used in this hospital, although
compliant with Canadian public health reccomendations, were
view the complete MMWR article, visit the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5219a1.htm.
For more information on SARS, visit the NIOSH website
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Positioning System Pinpoints Worksite Hazards
NIOSH researchers are adapting Global Positioning System (GPS)
technology to pinpoint locations at outdoor worksites where
employees may be exposed to hazardous levels of dusts, gases,
fumes, noise and heat. This past year the prototype was successfully
developed and pilot tested.
creates a Local Positioning System (LPS) that links GPS with
other instrumentation. The prototype system works this way:
an additional study to test the operation of the system with a
monitor designed to measure sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide,
carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other gases that may pose
an occupational hazard. To learn more about the GPS prototype,
please contact Jennifer Hornsby-Myers at
orbiting GPS satellites, the unit receives signals that
track the movements of the person wearing the unit.
Measurement devices simultaneously provide data on position,
exposures, time, In the NIOSH field tests, the unit
was attached to a temperature sensor and a sound-level
meter that measured heat and noise at a highway paving
site. The ensemble was mounted on a belt for convenience.
The data from the LPS are downloaded to a computer,
which generates maps and graphs that show levels of
exposure at specific work locations. The program also
can filter the data specifically to show "hot spots."
Identifies Lead Poisoning Cases
Occupational tracking systems recently assisted in identifying
persons with lead poisoning associated with taking Ayurvedic
medications. The first case was identified to CDC by researchers
at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. Additional
cases were found in Massachusetts, California and New York because
of reports posted on the Adult Blood Lead Surveillance and Epidemiology
Program (ABLES) listserv which were seen by all the states as
well as CDC researchers. For more information on ABLES, visit
the NIOSH website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ables.html.
For more information on the NIOSH coordinated activities for
this incident, contact Robert Roscoe at
Reports Findings on Glioma and Pesticide Exposure
Results of two analyses reported recently by NIOSH researchers
as part of the larger NIOSH Upper Midwest Health Study found
no positive association between pesticide exposure and the incidence
of glioma, a brain cancer. The study was prompted by research
in the U.S. and Europe that began to show an excess in brain
cancers in farmers in the early 1990s. NIOSH scientists reported
their findings at the conference of the American Association
for Cancer Research and NORA Symposium 2003.
NIOSH is now exploring
other possible causes of the increased incidence of brain cancer
in farmers, including nitrogen fertilizers and infections from
farm animals. Also, NIOSH is studying DNA from 350 cases and
600 controls to assess potential genetic factors in the glioma
cases. The NIOSH study was reported in BioMedNet News, an online
science journal and news service, on July 14, 2003.
information on this research, please contact Avima Ruder at
A NIOSH-led study reported in the July 11, 2003 Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) focuses on the investigations
of illnesses associated with exposures to insecticides between
1999 and 2002 used to control mosquito populations in nine states.
During that time, 133 cases of acute insecticide-related illness
associated with mosquito control were identified, with 36 of
those cases work-related. Over 70% of the 133 cases were associated
with organophosphates, primarily malathion. Malathion is classified
by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an acute
toxicity category III compound, with category IV being the least
toxic. The majority of cases reported respiratory (66%) or neurologic
dysfunction (61%) and were characterized as low (65%) or moderate
(34%) in severity. Thirty-nine percent of the work-related cases
occurred among insecticide applicators; the remaining cases
occurred among workers whose jobs did not involve pesticide
for reducing the risk of negative health effects from insecticide
exposure include: 1) providing public notice of application
times and locations, 2) ensuring that insecticide handlers and
applicators meet state-mandated training and experience requirements
to prevent insecticide exposure to themselves and the public
and 3) implementing integrated pest management control strategies
that emphasize mosquito larval control, reduction of mosquito
breeding sites, and judicious use of insecticides to control
adult mosquito populations.
the complete MMWR article, visit the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5227a1.htm.
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Analysis System Developed for Monitoring Mine Slopes
University's Center for Engineering Design has completed work
on an image analysis system for monitoring mine slopes. The
NIOSH funded research focused on designing a method for automated
collection and processing of digital images for change detection
in surface mine settings. This method provides a tool for miners
working near mine highwalls to identify more readily places
on the slope where changes had occurred since the last inspection
and to record changes over longer periods of time.
A 3.3-megapixel digital
camera was selected because of its high resolution, low susceptibility
to noise, and the availability of a software development kit
compatible with Visual C++ programming language. The camera
can be programmed to capture an image at intervals up to 12
hours over a period of a week or more. The images are stored
in the camera until uploaded by the user onto a computer.
information on this project, visit the NIOSH website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/projects/sshrf.html
or email Ed McHugh at
Assisting National Academy of Sciences
the deaths of several animals at the National Zoo in Washington,
DC, the National Academy of Sciences was asked by a congressional
oversight committee to establish an expert panel to review the
management practices of the National Zoo. Pesticide exposure
was implicated in the death of one zoo animal and the sickness
of several zoo workers. As a result of this incident, NAS requested
a NIOSH industrial hygienist with animal facilities experience
serve on the panel. Max Kiefer is representing NIOSH in this
information on the National Academy of Sciences, visit the website
Comment Period Extended for MSHA Rule
The comment period has been extended until further notice for
the proposed rule "Verification of Underground Coal Mine
Operators' Dust Control Plans and Compliance Sampling for Respirable
Dust (Plan Verification)." The Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA) has extended the comment period in order to obtain further
information on Personal Dust Monitors (PDMs), a new technology
currently being tested by NIOSH.
the proposed rule, go to http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a030703c.html
and scroll down to "Mine Safety and Health Administration."
If you would
like to comment on the proposed rule, you can do so in one of
Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances
1100 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington VA 22209-3939
Fax: (202) 693-9441
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NIOSH Diversity Project
NIOSH and Johnson and Johnson Associates (JJA) Consultants co-sponsored
the Greater Cincinnati Area Diversity Solutions Forum in May.
Forum speakers included members of the private, public and non-profit
sectors each contributing unique ideas and perspectives. Following
an overview of diversity, topics included the need for diversity
and how it increases productivity, how agencies can recruit
and retain employees, and addressing the challenges surrounding
diversity. Currently, NIOSH is planning to pilot test some of
the ideas presented at the forum.
of Applied Research Technology (DART)
has developed a new method to measure exposure to Bacillus
anthracis (anthrax) using a fluorescence covalent microbead
immunosorbent assay (FCMIA). This assay, which uses smaller
samples and can measure more than one analyte simultaneously,
was able to identify anti-PA antibody to B. anthracis
in both pre-entry and follow-up sera of two workers who had
received recent anthrax vaccine. The new method is useful in
detecting exposure to multiple bioterrorism agents, but also
has application as a tool to determine the effectiveness of
personal protective equipment (PPE) and prophylactic antibiotics.
more information on this new method, contact John Snawder at
of Respiratory Disease Studies (DRDS)
Filios was awarded the Public Health Service (PHS) Commendation
Medal for outstanding leadership, contributions, and commitment
to the nationwide advancement of the ongoing "State-based
Lung Disease Surveillance" project. The goal of the project
is to foster and support state-based surveillance and intervention
programs for silicosis and work-related asthma (WRA) by facilitating
states' capacity to identify cases, take direct action to eliminate
the cause, and prevent further disease. The program currently
provides direct or indirect support to fourteen states to address
of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (DSHEFS)
to the following DSHEFS employees:
Hall, Robert McCleery and Jane McCammon, along with
G. Scott Earnest and Kevin Dunn from DART, were honored
with the 2003 Public Health Service Engineering Professional
Advisory Committee's Literacy Award for the publication
"An Evaluation of an Engineering Control to Prevent
Carbon Monoxide Poisonings of Individuals on and around
Jane McCammon was nominated for the 2003 Charles C.
Shepard Science Award Outstanding Scientific Contribution
to Public Health for her work on carbon monoxide exposure
and recreational boating.
John Cardareilli was nominated for the 2003 Charles
C. Shepard Science Award in the Assessment and Epidemiology
category. He was the lead author for the scientific
article "Significance of radiation exposure from
work-related chest X-rays for epidemiological studies
of radiation workers." To learn more about this
project, contact John at
NIOSH employee Mark Mendell and colleagues received
the 2003 Kenneth Rothman Epidemiology Prize from the
journal, Epidemiology, for the paper entitled "Indoor
Particles and Symptoms Among Office Workers."
of Safety Research (DSR)
DSR has entered
into a "Letter of Agreement" with FEMCA, a Rollover
Protective Structure (ROPS) manufacturer, to work together on
the NIOSH AutoROPS. The AutoROPS, developed by NIOSH for tractors
used in low clearance areas such as dairy barns and orchards,
is a Rollover Protective Structure for tractors that automatically
deploys when a sensor detects an imminent rollover. This technology
transfer effort will focus on manufacturability of the AutoROPS
and the associated costs, as well as improvements to the AutoROPS
structure and sensor device. FEMCO has agreed to fabricate AutoROPS
for testing and evaluation. DSR will perform static testing
of these devices as well as field upset testing at the Pittsburgh
Research Laboratory (PRL). The NIOSH/FEMCO partnership will
assist transferring of NIOSH developed protective technology
into the marketplace.
more information, contact John Etherton at
or John Powers at
and Information Division (EID)
NIOSH West Nile Virus (WNV) topic page has been updated for
the 2003 season. The topic page will be updated periodically
and can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/westnile
New to the
WNV topic page this season are fact sheets that provide recommendations
for outdoor workers and laboratory and field workers. Recommendations
in the outdoor worker fact sheet focus on eliminating mosquito
development sites and ensuring that workers are provided with
and trained in the effective use of personal protection against
mosquitoes. To view the fact sheet, go to the NIOSH website
fact sheet provides recommendations to laboratory and field
workers who may be exposed to the WNV by means other than a
mosquito bite. These workers may be exposed to WNV infected
humans, animals, or their blood or other tissues. Workers have
been infected with the WNV when their skin was cut while performing
necropsies of infected birds. Recommendations to these workers
include the provision of appropriate training, appropriate personal
protective equipment that provides a barrier protection to the
virus, the safe use of sharp instruments, the reporting of any
incidents or accidents, and a medical surveillance system that
monitors possible WNV exposures. The fact sheet can be viewed
Effects Laboratory Division (HELD)
The Advanced Biomechanical and Cardiopulmonary Assessment Suit
(ABACAS) project brings together new technologies from both
the biomechanics and exercise physiology worlds to form a fully
instrumented suit of clothing. The goal of the project is to
create unobtrusive garments that can be worn discretely under
clothing to assess the stresses that workers undergo during
their daily routines and activities. By monitoring both spinal
and limb locations and the associated ground reaction forces
during the subject's movements, researchers hope to quantify
the stresses experienced by the muscles and the spine during
work activities that pose higher risks, such as lifting. By
the integration of physiological measures into the suit, researchers
will be able to examine the metabolic demands of the activities.
provide feedback to individuals and companies on ways work activities
or work stations can be modified to reduce the risk of work-related
injuries. The use of an instrumented suit in this fashion will
enable objective, better integrated measures to be obtained
more readily from workers performing their normal daily functions
within real and familiar work settings.
information on this project, contact Ian Fairweather at
Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL)
announces the following new employee promotions:
Research Laboratory (PRL)
Boord has been named Deputy Director for NPPTL. Les
has nearly 30 years experience in the field of safety
equipment, including respiratory protection, with
extensive experience in the technical and administrative
aspects of personal protective equipment
Roland BerryAnn has recently been selected as the
Respirator Branch Chief for NPPTL. Roland has 10 years
of experience with NIOSH, working primarily with respirator
certification and the development of regulations and
standards for respirators.
Ron Shaffer has been selected as the Technology Branch
Chief for NPPTL. Ron holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry
and has extensive experience and knowledge in the
area of sensor technology for chemical and biological
for Dust Control in Mining, covering 30 years of research
findings and experience in dust control, is now available. The
first chapter deals solely with dust control methods, irrespective
of the application. It serves as a brief tutorial on mining dust
In the subsequent
chapters, dust control methods are described for specific mines
and mining equipment, dust sampling, practical engineering control,
and respirators. The dust control methods described are both
practical and cost-effective for the majority of mine operators.
To access the online version, visit the NIOSH website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/pubs/pubreference/outputid20.htm.
Research Laboratory (SRL)
was the only federal employee invited by the National Science
Foundation (NSF) to serve on a panel of international rock mechanic
experts. Tom served as the health and safety expert for the
panel. The panel evaluated proposals based on their technical
and economical feasibility for building the required large excavations
needed for the physics experiments. The accepted proposal will
be used for the planned National Underground Space and Science
Laboratory to be funded by NSF. For more information on the
National Science Foundation, visit the website http://www.nsf.gov
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WoRLD Surveillance Report 2002
The Work-Related Lung Disease (WoRLD) Surveillance Report
2002 is now available
in print or online. The sixth in a series of documents on work-related
respiratory diseases and associated exposures in the United
States, WoRLD provides disease occurrence and frequency data
from 1997 through 1999. The latest edition includes new sections
on malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and “other”
interstitial pulmonary disease, as well as smoking status by
industry and occupation. To access the online version, visit
the website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2003-111/2003-111.html.
A new brochure
highlighting the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
(NPPTL) is now available. The mission of NPPTL is to prevent disease,
injury and death for workers who rely on personal protective equipment.
The brochure describes NPPTL’s surveillance, research, intervention
and communication and training activities. To access and print
the brochure, visit the NIOSH website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2003-127/2003-127.html.
For additional information on NPPTL, visit the NIOSH website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl.
list and description of the 2002 National Occupational Research
Agenda (NORA) research projects is now available online. The data
from the print version of the NORA Research Projects has been
extracted and incorporated into a user friendly website. Projects
can be searched by project name or by NORA Priority Area. The
website is http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2003-143/
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NIOSH Announces September Workshop on Fire Detection Technology
NIOSH will hold a workshop on September 4, 2003, at the Pittsburgh
Research Laboratory (PRL) in Bruceton, Pennsylvania, to discuss
fire detection technology for underground coal mines that utilize
mine-wide monitoring systems.
The workshop will focus on current research efforts in mine
fire detection technology and identifying ways to increase collaborations
between mine operators, sensor manufacturers, the United Mine
Workers of America (UMWA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration
(MSHA), state mine agencies, and NIOSH.
more information on the workshop, contact Chuck Lazzara at (412)
386-6628 or email
To register for the workshop or for directions to PRL, contact
Rose Ann Crotsley at (412) 386-6609 or email
more information on NIOSH fire detection technology research
and other mining health and safety issues, visit the NIOSH website
for Safety and Health in Construction Conference
for Safety and Health in Construction Conference” will
be held in Portland, Oregon on September 15-16, 2003. NIOSH
is co-sponsoring the conference along with the University of
Oregon Labor Education and Research Center, the Center to Protect
Workers’ Rights, the Oregon State University Construction
Engineering Management and Industrial Design and Construction.
The conference brings together experts in design and construction,
researchers and policy makers to assess current practices and
identify future safety-in-design needs in the construction industry.
For more information on the conference, go to http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~lerc/.
Fishing Industry Safety and Health Conference (IFISH II)
International Fishing Industry Safety and Health Conference
(IFISH) will be held in Sitka, Alaska on September 22-24, 2003.
IFISH is an opportunity to learn the latest developments in
commercial fishing safety and injury prevention research, help
build an international fishing safety coalition and promote
action to prevent injury in the commercial fishing industry.
A stimulating program will include keynote speakers, the presentation
of scientific papers and posters, and workshops. To learn about
the conference, visit the IFISH II website http://www.uaf.edu/seagrant/amsea/ifish/.
Future of Rural Peoples: Rural Economy, Healthy People, Environment,
with the University of Saskatchewan, is co-sponsoring the fifth
international symposium on the future of rural peoples on October
19-23, 2003 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The symposium
will bring together researchers, policy makers, practitioners
and rural people to look at current science and best practice
approaches to achieving and maintaining healthy people, economies,
environments, and communities in rural areas. To learn more,
visit the conference website http://iareh.usask.ca/symposium2003/index.php
association with its public and private sector partners, will
host the third National Occupational Injury Research Symposium
(NOIRS) on October 28-30, 2003 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This symposium is a means of implementing the National Occupational
Research Agenda for traumatic occupational injuries. Additionally,
NOIRS will be a great source for developing collaborations,
identifying best practices, and sharing innovative technological
approaches to injury research and prevention. The symposium
will consist of contributed oral presentations in concurrent
sessions, organized sessions around topics of special interest,
and poster presentations. For more information on NOIRS 2003,
visit the NIOSH website http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/noirs/noirsmain.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Conference
National Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Conference
will be held in November 13-15, 2003 in Arlington, Virginia.
The goal of the conference is to provide scientific and societal
background concerning COPD to further education, awareness,
and improved care in the United States. The conference will
provide an opportunity to meet and to actively participate in
state-of-the-art workshops, lectures, and meetings. For more
information, visit the conference website http://www.uscopd.com/index_confer.html
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