Archives for July, 2007

In the Name of Quality

By Liz Borkowski  An article in the latest issue of OMB Watch’s Watcher newsletter reports on U.S. Chamber of Commerce efforts to get EPA to make changes to its chemical databases. The short story is that the Chamber asked the EPA to correct what it claimed was “inconsistent and erroneous” information about chemicals in the…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Federal officials have arrested three men in Las Vegas, saying they “enslaved more than 20 members of a Chinese acrobatic team, feeding them little, paying them next to nothing to perform, and confiscating their passports and visas,” the Associated Press reports. In the Seattle Weekly, Sarah Stuteville and Alex Stonehill tell the story of one…

Dale Jones, 51 and Michael Wilt, 38 reported to work at the Caledonia Pit, a surface coal mine near Barton, Maryland at 5:30 am on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.  In the 275 feet-deep pit, Jones operated the excavator while Wilt ran the dozer.  By about 10:00 am that morning, something had gone terribly wrong.  The massive highwall collapsed, burying the two coal…

Who’s an Employee?

If you have a job, do you know who your employer is? The answer isn’t always straightforward, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández points out in a recent Boston College Third World Law Journal article, and the implications can be profound. In “Feeble, Circular, and Unpredictable: OSHA’s Failure to Protect Temporary Workers,” García details the disadvantages temporary…

EPA Ozone Proposal Under Scrutiny

A couple of weeks ago, EPA proposed a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone (0.07 – 0.075 ppb) that was lower than the current limit (0.08 ppb) but not as protective as the limit many experts suggested (0.06). The agency also announced that it would be taking comments on alternative standards from 0.06 –…

Remember back in May, when public health advocates sounded the alarm about the fact that EPA’s short list of nominees for its Science Advisory Board asbestos panel included scientists associated with product defense firms? As David Michaels explained, these firms are hired by corporations and trade associations to minimize government regulation, and scientists associated with…

Safe levels of asbestos, by John Henshaw

Cong. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) held a hearing on June 25 on the federal government’s response to the hazardous air contaminants that polluted lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks.  The featured witness was former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who was in the hot seat for her claims that the air in NYC was safe to breathe.  Much less attention was paid…

Friday Blog Roundup

In honor of the 4th of July, Joseph Romm at Gristmill rounds up news of places that have cancelled fireworks displays due to drought, and Janet Stemwedel at Adventures in Ethics and Science explains the chemistry behind firework colors. As always, the U.S. Independence Day is an occasion for bringing up the “energy independence” idea;…

Big Tobacco’s Tactics in Nigeria

Four Nigerian states are suing British American Tobacco and Philip Morris to recover costs of treating smoking-related diseases. The plaintiffs charge that the companies aimed to recruit more smokers by targeting minors, using sponsorship of concerts and sporting events and free cigarette giveaways. Tosin Sulaiman in The Times (UK) reports:

Occupational Health News Roundup

After a contractor was rescued from a collapsed construction trench in Desert Hot Springs, California, Eric Solvig of The Desert Sun reported on how common it is for trench work in California to violate safety guidelines – and for workers to be killed or injured as a result: State officials issued more than 1,400 citations…