Archives for November, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

This week’s edition is devoted to blogging about election results: the performance of state-level ballot measures, what the new Congress looks like, speculation about cabinet picks, and priorities for President-Elect Obama and the 111th Congress.

FDA and NIH Disappoint on Sweetener Safety

By Myra L. Karstadt, Ph.D   Did you enjoy your acesulfame today?  How much did you eat?  Do you know whether acesulfame is safe to eat?  Those are not trick questions.  Acesulfame is currently one of the best-selling artificial sweeteners in America, but it’s likely that very few people even know that acesulfame is in…

More FOIA Abuse at Labor Department, MSHA

by Bob Snashall, retired Labor Dept employee (Op-Ed Charleston Gazette, Nov 7, 2008) George W. Bush & Company did one thing well – it bagged a lot of public information and taxidermied it into secrets. The shroud of secrecy even spread over mine safety.  Mine safety?  The law envisions everybody chipping in to protect miners from the perils of…

In “DuPont finds high levels of C8 in Chinese workers,” Ken Ward of the Charleston Gazette writes that workers at the Changshu, China plant had average blood concentration of about 2,250 ppb of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), an agent used to make the non-stick compound Teflon.  Ward writes: “DuPont Co. has found high levels of the toxic chemical C8 in…

Occupational Health News Roundup

In Milwaukee, 69% of voters cast their ballots in favor of a requirement for employers to provide their workers with paid sick leave. Milwaukee becomes the third city – after San Francisco and Washington, DC – to adopt a requirement for paid sick days.  Georgia Pabst of the Journal Sentinel explains: Under the measure, a…

Obama Day 1: Unshackle FOIA at Labor Department

In 1966 when the original Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) became law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said he “signed this measure with a deep sense of pride that the U.S. is an open society in which the people’s right to know is cherished and guarded.”  The law’s purpose is “to establish a general philosophy of full…

Lift Every Voice and Sing

In honor of yesterday’s historic election, I’m delighted to share this poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938). Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of…

Feeding a Family on Food Stamps

by Liz Borkowski Tomorrow we’ll know who this country’s next president will be and what the next Congress will look like. Economic stimulus will be at the top of their priority list, so I hope they’ll all take a look at a handy chart from the Economic Policy Institute, which tallies the economic benefit of…

Only 14 days after Gloria McInnis died in an explosion at a Goodyear plan in Houston, her husband Raymond McInnis testified before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security.  At the June 25, 2008 hearing, Mr. McInnis explained why he was present and sharing his grief and pain in such a public forum:…

The Supreme Court’s Influence on Public Health

On the eve of the election, The Nation reminds us that the next president will play a crucial role in determining the makeup of the Supreme Court. Herman Schwartz describes the Court’s current makeup and rattles off current rulings that would be threatened by the appointment of another conserviative justice. Then, other contributors explain how…