Archives for January, 2008

Howard A. Heit, MD and a pain management specialist at Georgetown University offers an informed perspective on “painkiller abuse” among coal miners, in response to the Washington Post’s article “A Dark Addiction.”  He writes: “I don’t believe the majority of these miners have the disease of addiction….[instead they] are seeking medications appropriately or inappropriately as…

Congress Passes Mine Safety Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives debated today the Supplemental Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (S-MINER, H.R. 2768) which would require, among other things, closer review of retreat mining plans, allow independent investigations (outside of MSHA) for multiple fatalities, and update permissible exposure limits.  The White House issued a veto threat, saying the bill would…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Katherine Torres of Occupational Hazards reports that Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) investigators have identified an overheated chemical reactor as the likely cause of the blast that killed four workers at T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville last month (see Celeste’s posts on the disaster here, here, and here). In a separate article, Torres covers…

by Susan F. Wood, PhD  We are excited to be starting up a new research project here at the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy: Scientists in Government: An Examination of their Rights and Responsibilities in Civil Society.  The goal of this initiative is to provoke and shape the public discussion about the rights and responsibilities of…

A quick look at “Chernobyl: Relationship between Number of Missing Newborn Boys and the Level of Radiation in the Czech Regions” by Miroslav Peterka, Renata Peterková, and Zbyneˇk Likovsky´ in Environmental Health Perspectives. As a rule, more boys than girls are born. But in November 1986 in the eastern regions of the Czech Republic, the…

Last month, Andrew Schneider reported in the Seattle PI that the use of diacetyl-containing cooking oils could be putting professional cooks at risk for the same severe lung disease that’s struck workers in microwave-popcorn and flavor factories. Now, Schneider brings us news that the UNITE HERE union is urging manufacturers to remove diacetyl from cooking…

These are the words of Linden High School student Omar Diaz, 17, remembering his father Victor Diaz, 42 who died on December 1 at North East Linen Supply Company.  Mr. Diaz and a co-worker Carlos Diaz, 41, were asphyxiated by chemical fumes while they were cleaning out a 20,000 gallon storage tank at the industrial laundry…

Worker Injuries and Painkiller Abuse

The front page of Sunday’s Washington Post (Jan. 13) featured the blackened face of coal miner Forest Ramey, 24, but the story was not about a deadly explosion or workers trapped underground.  A Dark Addiction, by the Post‘s Nick Miroff, gives us a peak into the lives of coal miners who are struggling with painkiller abuse. “Tazewell County, Va.  The crowd is…

More Disturbing News About the Speaker TB Case

Revere at Effect Measure addresses a troubling article, published in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s handling of the Andrew Speaker tuberculosis case. You might remember the case, because it got a lot of media attention. Speaker was the Atlanta lawyer who was thought to have XDR TB and boarded…

Friday Blog Roundup

Big Pharma is under scrutiny in the blogosphere this week. Ed Silverman at Pharmalot reports on a study (published in PLoS Medicine) that finds drugmakers spend almost twice as much on marketing and promotion as they do on R&D; he also tells us who Big Pharma’s backing for president. Scott Hensley at the WSJ Health…