Archives for May, 2008

Chemical Hearing Pits Senators Against FDA

By Sarah Vogel On Wednesday, May 14 the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee held a hearing on Plastics Additives in Consumer Products to discuss the safety of two chemical compounds, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, in consideration of new legislation and calls for regulatory reform. Both of these chemicals are used in plastics production and…

Getchell Mine: a deadly place to work

For the third time in eight months, workers from the Getchell gold mine* near Winnemuca, NV have seen a co-worker killed on-the-job.  First was Mr. Curtis L. Johnson, 36, a roof-bolter, who was killed on August 28, 2007, when part of the mine collapsed on him.  Next was Mike Millican, 43, who was killed on January 26,…

Using Church for the Public’s Health

By Ally Petrilla I read the Jackson Sun’s (Tennessee) headline “Churches ‘go green’ as they as they aim to protect God’s creation from more harm” and said to myself, “Finally!”  I am not that excited that my home state is catching the Go Green bug (although that’s a great thing, too!); I was more excited to see that…

Occupational Health News Roundup

More than three years after the blast at BP’s Texas City refinery killed 15 workers and injured many others, an independent monitor reports that the company has made “substantial progress” in safety at its U.S. refineries, but that it still has many improvements to make. Kristen Hays reports for the Houston Chronicle: Much of the progress…

Upcoming DC Book Events

For our readers in the DC area, there are two upcoming events featuring David Michaels speaking about Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health: Center for American Progress reading Wednesday, May 28, 12:30 – 1:30pm 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor (You need to RSVP for this one, and they’ll serve…

Nanotubes: The Next Asbestos?

The story of asbestos in this country ought to serve as a cautionary tale: A seemingly miraculous fiber was widely introduced into common consumer products; only after it was already in millions of homes did the general public realize that it causes a particularly terrible form of cancer. Now, treating victims and cleaning up contaminated…

USDA Pesticide Info Disappearing

Over the past few years, it’s become harder to access several sources of useful, up-to-date information about the substances we’re exposed to. There were the EPA library closures; the changes in Toxics Release Inventory reporting requirements; and a dramatic slowdown in the pace of Integrated Risk Information System assessments. Now, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics…

Yes, they are a discount house

At a recent Senate hearing, former OSHA Assistant Secretary Jerry Scannell (1989-1993) described the pressure he often felt, especially from lawyers inside and outside the agency, to settle inspection and fatality-investigation cases by using ”discount factors” to reduce monetary penalties.  He recalled wondering, “What are we, a discount house?”   Reporter Andy Pierrotti with WSPA-TV (Spartanburg/Greenville, SC) has found exactly the…

Miner Electrocuted at Aracoma Mine

Nathan Dove, an underground coal miner, was electrocuted on Friday night at Massey Energy’s Aracoma/Alma mine in Melville, Logan County, WV.  Mr. Dove was 24 years old.  This is the same mine which was given a safety award by MSHA about a month ago (see “Safety Awards Gone Bad” ) and in January 2006, was the place…

Sago and an Ah-Ha! Moment

A fair number of people have “Ah-ha!” moments, but how many actually take those nuggets of brilliance and pursue them?  One man –an inventor of sorts who I came to know because of the Sago disaster—has done just that.  While watching the rescue efforts at the WV Sago mine unfold on television in early January 2006, this man used…