I have mentioned Dr. Mitch Sauerhoff so often in this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a little bit about him and the importance of his contributions to the carpet industry.
One of the things I have enjoyed most about my time here at the Carpet and Rug Institute has been the opportunity to work with Dr. Mitchell Sauerhoff. Mitch is a well-known toxicologist who works as a private consultant focused primarily on safety evaluation, drug development, and occupational and environmental health. He has worked for individuals and companies all over the world, and he also serves as an expert witness in toxic torts litigation cases, testifying over 600 times.
Dr. Sauerhoff received his PhD in Toxicology from the University Of Cincinnati. He spent the early years of his career in the toxicology laboratory at Dow Chemical Company, where he was primarily interested in “the use of pharmacokinetics and mechanistic data to extrapolate animal toxicity data to humans." He later worked at the nationally-recognized Environmental Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut.
In addition to his consulting work, Dr. Sauerhoff has faculty appointments in Medical Toxicology at the University Of Connecticut Schools Of Medicine and Pharmacy. He volunteers at a weekly Medical Toxicology clinic where patients are examined and evaluated for suspected or confirmed poisonings, and he helps train Emergency Room physicians in the principles of medical and industrial toxicology. He also serves on the Connecticut Poison Control Center Medical Advisory Board and lectures at the University Of Connecticut School Of Law. Dr. Sauerhoff is Board Certified in Toxicology and a member of the Society of Toxicology.
I actually met Mitch a few months before I came to work at CRI. I attended a CRI Technical Conference where Mitch was presenting his paper, Carpet, Asthma and Allergies, Myth or Reality? The paper is a comprehensive review of scientific studies and other research examining carpet and its purported link to asthma and allergies. Dr. Sauerhoff undertook the project at CRI’s request, and his research included an examination of over 23 different studies, some provided by CRI and others uncovered in his own research, encompassing scientific investigations performed in 8 different countries over a period of 19 years.
One of my first assignments after coming to CRI was to write a one-page summary of Dr. Sauerhoff’s paper that would be quick to read and easy for anyone to understand. I worked on and off for weeks, and finally produced the version here.
Mitch traces his interest in toxicology back to his time as a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, when one of his professors, the renowned toxicologist Dr. Eula Bingham, told him he should consider entering the field. Although he says he knew nothing about toxicology at the time (“This was way before the first Earth Day,” he said), Dr. Bingham, who later served as director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, made a lasting impression on Mitch. He was so inspired he decided to make the area his life’s work.
I spent several days with Mitch this spring when he and I manned the CRI booth at the national meeting of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology. He was very professional, engaging the doctors and others who came by in discussions of his report detailing how clean, dry carpet was a beneficial floor covering for asthma and allergy patients. He was also very pleasant and helpful – a gentleman and a scholar.
Something else I know about Mitch is that he is an avid bread baker, and he and his wife have been known to travel long distances to find a good loaf.
Thank you, Mitch, for all you do for the environment (and CRI)!
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