Archives for December, 2007

Happy Holidays

The Pump Handle will be on hiatus for the remainder of the year. We wish all of our readers and friends a healthy, peaceful 2008.

Who’s Looking After the Cooks’ Lungs?

OSHA? No.  It’s Andrew Schneider and his colleagues at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  In “Flavoring Additive Puts Professional Cooks at Risk,” the reporter describes a study commissioned by the newspaper to determine how much of the butter-flavoring agent diacetyl becomes airborne when used in a restaurant cook’s work setting.  Exposure to diacetyl is associated with the severe lung disease bronchiolitis…

Friday Blog Roundup

With so much attention focused on the energy bill, it’s easy to forget some of the other important legislation coming out of Congress these days. Revere at Effect Measure reports on the NIH and CDC funding figures in the latest version of the appropriations bill, and Jake Young at Pure Pedantry goes into detail about…

Looking for caskets instead of holiday gifts

The families of the workers killed at the T2 Lab are now planning memorial services instead of holiday celebrations. “With Christmas next week, we’re not shopping for gifts–we’ve got to go look at caskets,” said a relative of Parrish Ashley, 36, one of the four men killed in the Wednesday explosion.  Mr. Ashley and his deceased co-worker, Karey Henry,…

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson has denied California’s petition to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks—against the advice of technical and legal staff, reports the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin. Governor Schwarzenegger says his state will sue over the decision, and EPA lawyers and staff predict California will win that suit (just as states have…

Tony Mazzocchi Book Events in DC

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi is one of the Pump Handle’s top book recommendations this year (here’s an excerpt, to whet your appetite). On Monday January 7th, the book’s author, Les Leopold of the Labor Institute, will be coming to Washington to read from it…

Explosion Kills 4 Workers at Florida Lab

Updated 12/20: See below  Four workers were killed and at least 14 people were injured in a violent explosion at the T2 Labs in Jacksonville, Florida.  The firm manufacturers Ecotane®, the gasoline additive “methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl” (i.e.,  MMT® or MCMT), which increases the octane rating of gasoline.  The firm says that its Florida facility is state-of-the art, and uses a…

Energy Bill: a little good news for public health

The ”Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007″ (H.R. 6) has passed the House and Senate, and is making its way to President Bush for a signing ceremony today at DOE headquarters.  Richard Simon of the Los Angeles Times reports that the measure is getting mixed reviews from interest groups.  Opponents, like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, say…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Nurses, construction workers, and cleaning industry employees have some new resources available to them: The American Nurses Association launched a “Safe Staffing Saves Lives” website to help nurses become advocates for safe levels of staffing in hospital units (via Occupational Health & Safety) NIOSH has issued “Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Construction Workers,” which includes tip…

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, writes in the latest New York Times Magazine about two stories that “may point to an imminent breakdown in the way we’re growing food today.” The first is the rise of community-acquired MRSA (that’s Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a nasty antibiotic-resistant bacteria) and the growing body of evidence linking…