Some of the nation's industrial hygienists chose not to attend or present papers at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference at the Salt Palace because of Utah's new abortion law.

"We regret the loss to the conference," Jeffrey S. Lee, general conference chairman, told the opening session Monday of the weeklong conference that has nearly 8,000 participants."It's difficult to quantify how many may be absent out of this specific protest," said John Henshaw, president of the hygienists' association, which includes managers, scientists and engineers concerned with job safety and health conditions.

Henshaw said no more than 25 colleagues registered misgivings to him about attending or personally offering technical papers at the Utah convention following the abortion law's passage last winter. He said there probably are others not participating who did not make a statement.

The conference officers had discouraged a boycott and, instead, suggested a session be added to discuss whether a state's position on public health issues should be a factor in a conference location.