Should pregnant women who use drugs be charged as criminals or given help? From a public health perspective the choice is clear: provide treatment to help women quit drugs before their use harms their child. Less than a year ago, Tennessee adopted a progressive policy to provide such treatment, but now is on the brink of taking a big step back.

Obama’s regulatory czar, Yoda and black lung disease

Three hours after I wrote this “The US Department of Labor has a plan to eliminate coal mine dust lung disease (a.k.a. black lung.) It’s been stuck in White House review for eight months, under the watch of a reg czar who promised timeliness of reviews,” they announced they were issuing the new rules.

Occupational Health News Roundup

This months marks the fourth anniversary of deadly workplace disasters in West Virginia and the Gulf of Mexico; after coming under pressure from activists, Walmart has changed its policy regarding accommodations for pregnant workers; and two California nurses were stabbed in separate incidents on the same day.

Women aren’t the only ones at risk for depression and in need of screening services when a new baby comes into their lives. Young fathers face significant mental health challenges as well, according to a new study.

Thou shall not steal: Houston’s wage theft ordinance in action

Workers in Houston test the City’s new anti-wage theft ordinance, making a complaint against companies contracted by the City of Houston.

Pulitzer Prizes and public health

The list of Pulitzer Prize winners released earlier this week includes several journalists who addressed public-health issues, from black lung to food stamps.

Don’t be fooled by the safety talk

Two recent incidents reminded me of what a worker said about “safety talks.”

The Washington Post provides in-depth coverage on issues facing veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; an unprecedented release of Medicare data gives reporters a lot to work with; and journalists consider how West Virginia’s reliance on a few industries has influenced the state’s response to contaminated water and drug addiction.

Unfortunately, it’s not too terribly surprising that diseases of the developing world don’t attract as much research attention as diseases common in wealthier countries. However, a new study not only underscores that trend, it actually found zero relationship between global disease burden and health research.

CDC agency chastises USDA for mischaracterizing a report on poultry workers

NIOSH is one of those federal agencies that prefers to lie quietly in the background. But when USDA misconstrued a NIOSH report on poultry worker injuries, the agency took notice and created some waves.