Archives for October, 2007

Interventions to Improve the Health of the Poor

The Council of Science Editors has organized 235 journals from 37 countries are publishing more than 750 articles on poverty and human development this week. For its theme issue, PLoS Medicine asked a variety of commentators from around the world to name the single intervention that they think would improve the health of those living…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Flight crews from the UK and Australia are warning that engine-oil fumes can contaminate cabin air in certain types of planes. The BBC reports that after two incidents this year in which flight crews experienced problems with fumes, some flight crew members from the Exeter-based Flybe airline are refusing to work on the company’s British…

Raw Sewage and the Chesapeake Watershed

The Chesapeake Watershed in the eastern U.S. covers over 500 miles, reaching north to Otsego Lake, NY and south to Virginia Beach, and traveling west to Blacksburg, VA and east to Ocean City, MD.  It’s been called a “giant, sprawling system of rivers that all drain into one shallow tidal basin—the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.” (map).  It’s home to more than…

What the Topps Recall Says About Food Safety

In late September, Topps Meat Company recalled 21.7 million pounds of ground beef for possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7, which can leave consumers with bloody diarrhea and, in the worse cases, kidney failure and death. The recall put Topps out of business, but the problem goes beyond a single company. In today’s New York…

The High Cost of Cheap Chinese Goods

This week, the Salt Lake Tribune is running a must-read series of reports by Loretta Tofani about the human cost of the cheap goods we get from China. Tofani begins with the story of Wei Chaihua, a 44-year-old former farmer who sought factory work in order to give his children education and a better future.…

OSHA Responds to CSB on Explosive Dusts

Shawn Boone was only 33 years old in 2003 when he was fatally burned from several violent explosions at the Hayes Lemmerz plant in Huntington, Indiana.  The plant manufactured cast aluminum automotive wheels.  These firey blasts, which also severely burned two other workers, were fueled by aluminum dust which had accumulated in the plant.  That same year, chemical dust-fueled explosions at CTA Acoustics in…

The Cost of Superfund Myths

The spin doctors have been hard at work on the EPA’s Superfund Program. The result is that the public and many lawmakers are misinformed about how the program works, along with the continued need for the program. Last week, Professor Rena Steinzor of the University of Maryland School of Law testified at a Senate oversight…

Welcome to The Pump Handle

Since we broke the story of the first “popcorn lung” case in a popcorn consumer, many new readers have visited The Pump Handle. We’ve been writing about the hazards of diacetyl for years (here and here, for example). If this is your first visit, you might want to know who we are, where our name…

Friday Blog Roundup

Drug resistance is a big news topic this week. Tara Smith at Correlations describes MRSA’s move from hospitals to communities; Mike the Mad Biologist has numbers on the toll of that antibiotic-resistant bug; and Theo Francis at the WSJ Health Blog highlights a shortage of infection-control specialists to help hospitals tackle the problem. Also at…

Are OSHA Stats Really Good News?

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao announced that workplace injury and illness rates for 2006 were the “lowest ever recorded” and noted it was the fourth consecutive year of a rate decline for private sector employers. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, showing the lowest rates since the Labor Department began collecting data in 1972,…