Occupational Health News Roundup

 CBS’s 60 Minutes sent a news crew to Guiyu, China to capture the terrible conditions under which many of the discarded electronics from the U.S. are recycled. Here’s a description from 60 Minutes producer Solly Granatstein:

Through the smoke, workers could be seen dismantling electronic components by hand, or melting them down over coal fires, for the tiny bits of precious metals inside. Some were clearly underage, and most were working with little protection, with neither gloves to protect their hands nor masks to shield their lungs. The salvage operations took place in the same shanties where the workers and their children lived.

The situation turned out to be dangerous for the news team, too. They were followed, intimidated, and then attacked when they started filming conditions in the area. Granatstein reports that they got away with just scrapes and bruises – and an awareness that Guiyu residents are “utterly vulnerable – both to the toxic work and to the gangs who run this place.” Watch the piece on Guiyu here.

In other news:

Washington Post: Russian officials are probing the deaths of 20 people aboard a nuclear-powered submarine; evidently, a firefighting system malfunctioned and flooded some compartments with a gas used to displace oxygen.

EHS Today: Edwin Foulke has left his job as head of OSHA, and been replaced by Thomas Stohler, who had been deputy assistant secretary for the agency.

Boston Globe: As concerns about violence against nurses grows, a nurses’ association is working on legislative solutions, including criminalizing assaults on healthcare workers and requiring hospitals to study and minimize factors contributing to violence.

ABC 7 Chicago: Hundreds of postal employees from across the country say they’re suffering from respiratory problems, and suspect that dust from letter-sorting machines is to blame.

New York Times: Service dogs are helping wounded veterans manage their physical challenges – and providing a boost to their mental health, too.

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