Archives for December, 2008

Popcorn Lung Roadhouse Blues

TO:   All worker health and safety advocates, seekers of justice and protections for working people, and friends of healthy work environments:   The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) OHS Section has not, and will not, forget about the deadly and disabling illnesses caused by workplace exposure to the butter flavoring agent diacetyl.  Our solidarity with workers is demonstrated through our scientific research, teaching and policy…

Dracunculiasis: death of the fiery serpent

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure I vaguely remember a medical school lecture about dracunculiasis, also known as Guinea Worm Disease. Also called the “fiery serpent” these are very long worms that grow in people and then the females get hungry and start to burrow out of them, sort of like Alien but not quite…

Occupational Health News Roundup

In Brooklyn, a bus driver refused to give a transfer to a man who hadn’t paid – and the man responded by stabbing the bus driver to death. Edwin Thomas, 46, had an 18-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. He was driving the B46 route when he was killed. In the New York Times, Robert…

After my post yesterday “More Delays on OSHA’s Overdue Crane Rule,”  I thought more about why OSHA’s decision to extend the comment period really perturbs me.   Some might say “we’re in the middle of the Bush-to-Obama Transition.  It’s not like an additional 45 days will make that much difference.”  Here’s why it does make a difference:

More Delays on OSHA’s Overdue Crane Rule

When OSHA finally published on October 9 a proposed rule to protect workers using cranes and derricks, I thought (maybe) we’d turned a page on at least one inexcusable rulemaking delay.   But no.  OSHA’s acting assistant secretary, Thomas M. Stohler, signed off last week to drag out this rulemaking even longer.  In a Dec 2 Federal Register…

Another Flu Concern: Staph Infections

In case yesterday’s post didn’t convince you to get a flu shot,  you should check out Maryn McKenna at Superbug‘s report on the growing problem of deadly staphylococcus infections hitting flu sufferers. She highlights the sad case of Robert Sweitzer, a 39-year-old man who was healthy until he came down with the flu – and then…

Time for Flu Shots

The CDC has declared this week to be National Influenza Vaccination Week, and is working to raise awareness about the seriousness of influenza and the importance of vaccination. The agency reminds us that each year in the U.S., 5-20 %of the population gets the flu, and approximately 36,000 people die from it. Many of these…

Friday Blog Roundup

The Bush administration’s decision to let mining companies dump their waste into waterways is bad news, but bloggers note a few bright spots on the coal-mining scene. Rob Perks at NRDC’s Switchboard announces that Bank of America “will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal.” Erik…

The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward amazes me with his tenacious attention to worker safety, his watchdog instincts, and his exceptional commitment to follow-up.   One of Ward’s practices that I especially appreciate is his detailed reporting of worker fatalities in West Virginia.  Take for example, the death in March 2008 of Ricky Collins Sr., 44, a truck driver for…

Cholera and Chaos in Zimbabwe

The official figure for cholera deaths in Zimbabwe is 565, but The Independent cites a senior health official’s report that the death toll is closer to 3,000. On Wednesday, riot police in Harare used batons to disperse and beat a group of doctors and nurses expressing anger over the outbreak. Barry Bearak summarizes the country’s…