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In Memoriam: Professor Steven P. Levine

LevineSteven P. Levine, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, died in Jupiter, Florida, on March 29, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

With degrees in chemistry from City University of New York (BS, 1965) and in analytical chemistry from the University of Colorado (PhD, 1972), Levine joined the Veterans Administration Hospital Research Center in Denver as a postdoctoral research scientist in 1971. A distinguished career in industry followed at the Stauffer Chemical Company, Ford Motor Company, and Oil and Hazardous Material Corporation. Levine joined the U-M faculty in 1982 and was named Professor Emeritus of Industrial Health in 2003.

Early in his teaching career, Prof. Levine researched the determination of very small amounts of chemicals in complex matrices and in environmental media, including air. This was his introduction to the field of environmental and occupational health, which became his primary interest. He later extended his interests to the monitoring of gaseous contaminants in working environments, with special emphasis on the development and application of advanced infrared detection and quantitation techniques. Prof. Levine was among the first to apply Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy for vapors in the workplace, and he researched applications of “fast GC” methods. He graduated M.S. and Ph.D. students at U-M on these topics including Mark Puskar and H.K. Xiao. In the 1990s, Prof. Levine began to study and develop management systems for the protection of industrial workers, and became a prominent leader in the field of environmental safety and health management and policy. His U-M graduates in these areas include David Dyjack, Michael Brandt, and Charles Redinger.

In a career that spanned three decades, Levine contributed significantly to the protection of workers at hazardous waste sites, the development of international standards and World Health Organization-legal means of ensuring environmental health and safety-system quality, the international harmonization of management systems, and the relations between U.S. national and applicable international regulations. He published over 100 peer-reviewed works and served on many national and international committees and advisory councils. As examples, Prof. Levine served as the president of the AIHA, and as Chair of the AIHA Gas and Vapor Detection Committee. In the area of Industrial Hygiene, his recognitions included the ACGIH/AIHA Hazardous Waste Committee “Drum Buster Award” (1989), the Outstanding Scientific Presentation Award at the Second International Symposium: Field Screening Methods for Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Chemicals, NV (March, 1991), and the John White Award: for the Best Respiratory Protection Paper (1991).

Some of his publications include:

  • Metrological Recommendations for Air Monitoring Instruments, Levine, S.P., Chair and Author, Gas and Vapor Detection Systems Committee, Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J.,
  • Xiao, H.K., S.P. Levine, W.F. Herget, J.B. D’Arcy, R. Spear,  T. Pritchett. 1991. A Transportable Remote Sensing IR Air Monitoring System. Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J., 52:449-457
  • Cohen, H.J., S.P. Levine and R.P. Garrison. 1991. Development of a Field Method for Determining the Service Lives of Respirator Cartridges: Results of Field Validation Trials. Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J., 52:263-270.
  • Wang, S.A., Stuart, J.D., Ke, H.K., and Levine, S.P. 1991.  High-Speed Gas Chromatography Used with the Static Headspace Method to Analyze for the Volatile Aromatics in Gasoline-Contaminated Ground Water Samples. J. High Resol. Chromatogr. Chromatogr. Commun., 14:757-761.
  • Levine, S.P., Turpin, R.D. and Gochfeld, M. 1991. Protecting Personnel at Hazardous Waste Sites: Current Issues. Appl. Occup. Environ. Hyg. J., 6:1007-1014
  • International Guidance Document for Portable Instruments for Assessing Airborne Pollutants Arising from Hazardous Wastes. 1990. Levine, S.P., Chair and Editor, Rep. Sec.5. U.S. Natl. Working Group for Measurement of Pollution.  Organization Internationale Metrologie Legale. Paris, FR
  • Levine, S.P.  1990. The Role of Air Monitoring Techniques in Hazardous Waste Site Personal Protection and Surveillance Strategies. Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews. 5(1):109-116.
  • Levine, S.P.  Air Monitoring at Remedial Waste Sites.  In Analysis of Hazardous Wastes, M. Simmons, ed., Lewis Publishers, Ann Arbor, MI, 1990.
  • Levine, S.P.. Health and Safety at Hazardous Waste Sites, Section 3 in Hazardous Waste Cleanup, Lave, L. and Upton, A., Eds., J. Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1987.
  • Levine, S.P., R. Costello, C.L. Geraci and K. Conlin. 1985. Air Monitoring at the Drum Bulking  Process of a Hazardous Waste Remedial Action Site”, Amer. Ind. Hyg. J., 46(4):192-196.
  • Protecting Personnel at Hazardous Waste Sites, S.P. Levine and W.F. Martin, Eds., Butterworth, Woburn, MA (1985)(Second Edition in preparation).
  • Puskar, M., Levine, S.P., and Turpin, R., Compatibility Testing in “Protecting Personnel at Hazardous Waste Sites”, Chap. 6, S.P. Levine and W.F. Martin, Eds., Butterworth, Woburn, Mass., 1985.
  • Levine, S.P., M.A. Puskar, P. Dymersky, B.J. Warner and C.S. Friedman. 1983. Cross-Contamination of Water Samples Taken for Analysis of Purgeable Halogenated Organics,  Environ. Sci. Technol., 17:125.

A number of Prof. Levine’s publications can be downloaded from U-M’s Deep Blue Server here.

As noted, Prof. Levine was President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association in 2000-2001. He continued the tradition of U-M professors and alumni who have served the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Other past AIHA Presidents with University of Michigan affiliations include:

  • Dan Anna (2014) – Alumni
  • Michael T. Brandt (2010) – Alumni
  • Steven P. Levine (2000) – Former Professor
  • D. Jeff Burton (1997) – Alumni
  • S. Z. Mansdorf (1996) – Alumni
  • Henry J. Muranko (1992) – Alumni
  • John L. Henshaw (1990) – Alumni
  • Frederick M. Toca (1989) – Former COHSE External Advisory Board Member, Alumni
  • William H. Krebs (1988) – Alumni
  • Ralph G. Smith (1982) – Former Professor
  • John A. Pendergrass (1974) – Alumni
  • Warren A. Cook (1940) – Former Professor

In 1998, following a motorcycle accident that left him with multiple broken bones and a series of complications, Prof. Levine gave talks to medical professionals and health care organizations about his experience as a patient, and he published “A Patient’s Perspective” in the U-M SPH magazine, Findings. “By giving my own perspective on the health care experience, I hope to shed light on the issues my public health colleagues face every day in our efforts to reduce the cost and improve the quality of the care on which our lives depend,” he said.

Prof. Levine is survived by his wife, Barbara. Contributions in his memory may be made to the U-M SPH Environmental Health Scholarship Fund or Hospice of Palm Beach County.

 Note: Taken from the U-M SPH Findings Alumni Magazine 2015;30(2):49, with additional notes and commentary by Stuart Batterman.