Archives for November, 2007

Please Ask Guiliani to Get Specific

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani (R) is basing his presidential campaign on his so-called Twelve Commitments to the American People.  A number of them make me particularly nervous, especially as we learn of the fragile state of some fundamental public health systems.  Problems including lead-laced children’s toys, coal mining disasters, e.coli 0157:H7-contaminated foods and unsafe pharmaceuticals come to mind.  Candidate…

International Union Urges Diacetyl Action

Europe is often ahead of the US when it comes to protecting its people from environmental and occupational hazards, but our public health officials led the way in identifying the hazards of diacetyl, the butter-flavoring chemical that causes severe lung disease in workers. When ten workers from a Missouri microwave popcorn plant were diagnosed with the rare…

Money Changes Everything (Still More Evidence)

Do you still believe the fairy tale that payments by a product’s manufacturer to a scientist (even the most well-meaning, independent-thinking scientist) do not inevitably influence that scientist’s interpretation of the technical data on product’s risks and benefits? If so, this will change your mind.

Friday Blog Roundup

Bloggers have been looking at the numbers related to our health. WSJ’s The Numbers Guy sheds light on the calculations behind global HIV-infection figures, which the U.N.’s AIDS agency has revised sharply downwards, and Mead Over at Global Health Policy hopes that the revision will re-focus attention on the need for cost-effectiveness estimates in the…

BP Texas City Victims Force Judge’s Recusal

In late October, the Dept of Justice (DOJ) announced an agreement with British Petroleum (BP) on three outstanding criminal cases including violations of the Clean Air Act related to the March 2005 explosion at their Texas City refinery which killed 15 workers and injured 170 others.  We wrote here about the disparity in government fines for causing…

Occupational Health News Roundup

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has been in the news again lately. The Labor Department’s Inspector General released a report stating that the agency failed to conduct required inspections at more than one in seven of U.S. underground coal mines last year (budget constraints and a lack of management emphasis on worker safety by the…

FDA Advisory Committees: One Person, One Vote

by Susan F. Wood, PhD  FDA recently announced two draft guidances regarding advisory committees, one on public disclosure of financial conflicts of interests and the other on voting procedures.   

Quote of the Day

While families in eastern Ukraine are mourning the death of 90 coal miners from the Zasaidko coal mine, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said: “This accident has proven once again that a human is powerless before nature.” This disaster was no accident.  This was no unpredictable force of nature.  It was a massive methane explosion that could have–should have–been prevented.  Shame…

New Ads Tout Safe Water and Eight-Hour Workdays

The Center for American Progress has been running some new TV ads in Midwestern media markets as part of “a pilot experiment to begin defining progressivism in the public’s mind” (hat tip to Common Sense). Here are two that are styled after the Mac/PC ads – but in these, the two guys wear stickers identifying…

Butter Flavoring, Bumps, and Barbie Accessories

By Paul D. Blanc The interconnections among toxic butter flavoring, fatal coal mine “bumps,” and tainted Barbie accessories may not be immediately obvious – but they all reflect the failures of an increasingly compromised U. S. regulatory apparatus. In early September, news broke that the artificial butter flavoring chemical diacetyl had caused severe lung disease…