Archives for December, 2008

Happy Holidays

The Pump Handle will be on vacation for the remainder of the year. Comments are still welcome, especially on Progressive Public Health posts. We wish all of our readers and friends a healthy, peaceful 2009.

Updated below ( 12/24/2008 ) Here are just some of the reports coming out of Harriman, Tennessee: “Millions of yards of ashy sludge broke through a dike at the TVA’s (Tennessee Valley Authority) Kingston coal-fired plant, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation, and putting environmentalists on edge about toxic chemicals that…

VP-Biden, Families and Worker Safety!!

President-elect Obama’s news release on Sunday, Dec 21 said that VP-elect Joe Biden will be chairing a new White House Taskforce on Working Families.   I was surprised, but thrilled to see that workplace safety standards are part of this group’s charge.   I am not kidding.  Seriously, it says, “Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety.”   Very cool.  I’m encouraged…

USA Today vs EPA on Schoolyard Air

Recently, USA Today published a series of alarming articles about air pollution near schools. It plotted school locations against results from an EPA model, and found that 435 were likely to have dangerous levels of pollution; then, it took air samples near 95 schools and found elevated levels of toxic chemicals outside 64 of them. Although…

Susanne Rust, Meg Kissinger and Cary Spivak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel were awarded last week the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism from Columbia University.  The three journalists close-out their excellent year of reporting with “EPA Veils Hazardous Substances“ explaining how the U.S. EPA allows chemical manufacturers to skirt around disclosure requirements with claims of ‘confidentiality’ and…

COSHs Electrified by Solis Pick

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) is thrilled by President-elect Obama’s selection of Cong. Hilda Solis to serve as Secretary of Labor. “Rep. Solis has been a leader in fighting for healthier communities, a cleaner environment, and economic justice for the most vulnerable in society.  We believe that she will have…

Friday Blog Roundup

Bloggers are anticipating some new activities from the Obama administration´s Health and Human Services team, while still keeping a close eye on what the Bush administration HHS is up to: Jeff Goldsmith at the Health Affairs Blog considers what we can expect from Tom Daschle, who Obama has picked as his “health czar.” Maggie Mahar…

Occupational Health News Roundup

We’ve written before (here, here, and here) about National Guard troops exposed to an orange, sand-like dust at the Qarmat Ali water plant near Basra, Iraq. Soldiers complained of health problems, including burning eyes, nosebleeds, and rashes. They were told that the orange dust was just a mild irritant – but it turned out to…

Dear Leo, Thanks.

I received an email today from Leo Gerard, the Int’l President of the United Steelworkers, the 850,000 person-strong union of men and women employed in Canada and the U.S. who work in the metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service industries.  His email simply read: Excellent video celebrating 60th anniversary of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Please watch and…

FDA wants just a few more BPA studies

On December 12th, the Washington Post reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would not be altering their current stance on the usage of the plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA) in food and drug products.    “The agency has been reviewing its risk assessments for bisphenol A, a chemical used to harden plastic that…