Archives for April, 2008

FDA Hiring for Public Health

After so many stories about tainted drugs and food, here’s some good news for a change: The FDA plans to hire hundreds of new employees to help it fulfill its responsibilities to assure the safety of food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. They’ve identified a critical need for “medical officers, consumer safety officers, chemists, nurse…

Occupational Health News Roundup

In Congo, an estimated two million artisanal miners account for as much of 90% of the country’s mineral exports. The Washington Post’s Stephanie McCrummen reports on how this unofficial economy works: The diggers usually work in groups of three, heaving out bags of ore. The haphazard tunneling undermines the stability of the earth above, which…

Mining Industry Sues MSHA over Asbsestos Rule

Just as the 60-day deadline approached for filing a legal challenge to a new health standard to protect mine workers from asbestos exposure, mining industry trade associations submitted their petitions in federal court.  MSHA’s rule was published on February 29, and tick-tock, like clockwork, the National Mining Assoc, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Assoc (NSSGA) and…

OMB Slows EPA Chemical Assessments

On the heels of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ report on political interference with EPA scientists, the Government Accountability Office reports that the White House Office of Management and Budget is taking a major and non-transparent role in EPA toxic chemical assessments. At issue is the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), which contains EPA’s scientific position…

Workers’ Memorial Day

Today is Workers’ Memorial Day, when we remember the victims of workplace deaths, injuries, and illnesses. According to the International Labor Organization, 2.2 million people die from work-related accidents and diseases every year, and another 430 million suffer from work-related illnesses or nonfatal accidents. These are preventable deaths, as the ILO Director-General Juan Somavia emphasizes:…

30 Years Ago: 51 Workers Die at Willow Island

On the eve of international Workers’ Memorial Day (4/28), Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette displays again his journalist acumen, particularly on health and safety issues for workers.  Thirty years ago today, at the construction of the cooling towers at the Pleasants Power Station at Willow Island, West Virginia, workers were hoisting up a massive bucket…

Friday Blog Roundup

There’s a lot going on right now with the FDA and drug regulation: The Health Affairs Blog has posts by Scott Gottlieb (a former FDA official now at the American Enterprise Institute) and Jerome Kassirer (a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal now at the Tufts University School of Medicine) giving two contrasting responses…

UCS Reports on Interference at EPA

The Union of Concerned Scientists has released another disturbing report about political interference with government science. For Interference at the EPA, they surveyed EPA scientists from all of the agency’s scientific program offices and 10 regional offices, and from more than a dozen research laboratories, to learn about the extent and type of political interference…

Cong. Woolsey’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee held a hearing today on OSHA’s inadequate enforcement of safety and health standards at large, multiple-facility corporations.  Members of the Committee heard the gruesome details of the death of Mr. Eleazar Torres-Gomez in an industrial dryer at a Cintas Corp. laundry and how the deadly hazards encountered by Mr. Torres-Gomez are standard operating procedure at Cintas workplaces. …

Occupational Health News Roundup

The longer fighting in Iraq continues, the more disturbing news we get about the troops’ mental health. The latest and most comprehensive study on veterans’ mental health to date (by the Rand Corporation) finds that nearly one in five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is suffering from depression or stress disorders, and that half of those…