Archives for December, 2007

The journal Epidemiology has just published new evidence that drinking hexavalent chromium — also called chromium 6 — increases risk of stomach cancer. The study is important for public health purposes, since many drinking water sources are chromium contaminated (including the water in the community in the movie Erin Brockovich). This new study is also…

Black Lung: Enough Study, More Action

Every few months like clockwork, news stories have been appearing to report a rise in incidence rates for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP).  The format goes something like this:  Headline: Black lung on the rise! Lead: NIOSH reports sharp increase in black lung cases Body: How can this be?  It’s so perplexing. You’d think they’re talking about a never-seen-before viral disease.  Instead, it’s all about CWP, a disease that…

In Bush Administration, Public Health Loses Out

Susan Wood (see her past Pump Handle posts here) has an op-ed in today’s Boston Globe: “A public health system defeated at the hands of ideology.” She focuses on the Bush administration’s “failure to staff important health-related positions with qualified individuals willing to provide science-based advice” — a problem that’s particularly glaring when it comes to…

MSHA’s Stickler: Will he stay or will he go?

As the year is winding down, one question on the minds of many MSHA inspectors, managers and staff has to be: Will Stickler be here in 2008?  The MSHA chief, Richard Stickler, received his job from President G.W. Bush on a “recess appointment,” which expires at the end of the current U.S. Senate session.  If the Senate adjourns (as it usually…

Friday Blog Roundup

The Science Debate 2008 initiative (which we blogged about earlier) has prompted Janet Stemwedel at Adventures in Ethics and Science, Coturnix at A Blog Around the Clock, and Zuska at Thus Spake Zuska to suggest questions to be asked at a presidential science debate. I’m sure there are many other bloggers who’ve posed questions, but…

If you live near a facility that releases between 500 and 2,000 pounds of a toxic chemical each year, you may be about to lose your access to important information about what you and your neighbors are potentially exposed to. That’s because EPA has changed its Toxics Release Inventory reporting requirements, raising the level at…

Occupational Health News Roundup

An gas explosion in a coal mine in China’s Shanxi province has killed 105 miners. Xinhua reports on factors that contributed to the tragedy: [Li Yizhong, head of the State Administration of Work Safety] said the number nine coal bed, where the accident occurred, was not approved for mining. However, it had been mined since…

“War on Cancer” Book Elicits Warring Reviews

By Dick Clapp There were two reviews of Devra Davis’s new book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer (Basic Books, 2007), published in Lancet journals last month. One was in the November 24 issue of the Lancet and the other was in the November issue of Lancet Oncology. They are so diametrically opposite…

Time for a Presidential Science Debate

By David Michaels, Susan Wood, and Liz Borkowski We’ve joined with our fellow scientists and citizens to call for presidential candidates to devote a debate to an issue we haven’t heard enough about in campaign appearances so far: science. The “Science Debate 2008” campaign is a nonpartisan effort that states: Given the many urgent scientific…

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao published her semi-annual regulatory agenda yesterday in the Federal Register.  Earlier this month, I’d made predictions about the agenda, but after perusing the document, I’m glad I didn’t put any money down on my guesses. Rather than updating the status of safety and health standards that are in the works, many hazard topics…