Archives for October, 2007

Occupational Health News Roundup

Firefighters have been doing amazing work in California, where destructive wildfires are now largely under control. In the San Deigo Union-Tribune, Tony Manolatos describes daring rescue work by helicopter pilot Mike Wagstaff, while the LA Times’ Janet Wilson relates rookie firefighter Jason Carl’s harrowing experience of being trapped by a wall of flame. CBS reports…

Fightin’ Words from OSHA Fairness Coalition

The OSHA Fairness Coalition weighed in with some fightin’ words yesterday, expressing “unequivocal opposition” to a mine safety bill scheduled for mark-up in the House Education and Labor Committee.  This is the same group that opposed the “Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act” when it successfully moved through Congress in September.  At that time, we wondered what the Messenger Courier…

Pelosi Says CPSC Chair Should Resign

After Consumer Product Safety Commission acting chair Nancy Nord opposed Senate legislation designed to strengthen the agency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for Nord’s resignation. The Washington Post’s Annys Shin has the story:

Weekend Work Deadly for WV Coal Miners

Working a weekend shift has been particularly dangerous for West Virginia coal miners this year.  All seven coal-mining related fatalities in the State have occurred on weekend shifts.  The latest victim was Mr. Charles Jason Keeney, 34, who died on Sunday while working underground at the  Long Branch Energy’s Mine No. 23 in Boone County, WV.  The…

CPSC Chairman: Weakness is Strength

We’ve been following the crescendo of stories illustrating the severe limitations of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (here, here, and here): CPSC lacks the resources to test products adequately, it can’t levy hefty enough fines to deter corporate wrongdoing, and it can announce a recall only through a news release that it negotiates with the…

The US Dept of Justice (DOJ) announced last week an agreement with British Petroleum (BP) on three outstanding criminal cases, with monetary penalities totaling more than $370 million.  Included among the settlement were violations of the Clean Air Act associated with the March 2005 explosion at the firm’s Texas City refinery, which killed 15 workers and injured 170 others.  BP agreed…

Lead’s Lingering Effects

On both sides of the Atlantic, new research into lead and crime is attracting attention. The New York Times and The Independent both reported on a new study by Amherst College economist Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, who found a correlation between blood lead levels and violent crime rates. Jascha Hoffman explains in the New York Times:

Friday Blog Roundup

Andrew Leonard at How the World Works has rounded up posts about the role of climate change in the California wildfires, and concludes that environmentalists are expressing themselves with nuance. Ben at Technology, Health & Development points out that the particulate-matter density in the areas affected by the fires is still less than levels typically…

Chamber and NAM Seek OMB Help on OSHA PPE Rule

[Updated (10/30/07) below] Representatives from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Chamber of Commerce met this week with White House Office of Management and Budget in a last-ditch effort to influence OSHA’s rule clarifying employers’ obligation to pay for workers’ personal protective equipment (e.g., safety goggles, metatarsal boots, gloves). They likely repeated their claims…

Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified on Tuesday at the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works hearing “Examining the Human Health Impacts of Global Warming.” Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Gerberding’s written testimony had been severely edited by the White House, which chopped it from 14 pages…