Archives for April, 2009

Occupational Health News Roundup

McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of potatoes in this country, so anything it does to reduce the use of pesticides on these crops will have a big impact on potato workers (as well as the environment). Thanks to pressure from shareholder advocates, McDonald’s has now committed to: (1) survey its current U.S. potato suppliers; (2)…

Blogger to Lead OSHA

We got some very exciting news today! The Pump Handle has obtained an email sent to OSHA staff announcing that Jordan Barab will be Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA and Acting Assistant Secretary.  Blog readers may be familiar with Jordan because his Confined Space blog was for several years the number-one online source of news…

National Public Health Week

It’s National Public Health Week, and the American Public Health Association is encouraging people to recognize public health’s contributions and get involved in advancing public health. This year’s theme is “the healthiest nation in one generation” – in other words, the U.S. is currently far from being the healthiest nation, but we can turn that…

Popcorn Lung Becomes Butterscotch Lung

The lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans came to be called “popcorn workers lung” because this once-rare disease started afflicting workers from microwave popcorn plants with an alarming frequency. Scientists traced the disease, which destroys sufferers’ lungs, to the butter-flavoring chemical diacetyl. Two unions petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard…

by Alison Bass (cross-posted) Martin Keller is finally stepping down as the long time chief of psychiatry at Brown University. Brown University officials made the announcement in a Dear Colleagues letter dated today from Edward J. Wing, Brown’s new Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences. While Brown officials insist that the decision to step down…

For four days last month, the staff working on OSHA’s cranes and derricks rule listened to testimony and exchanged information with witnesses during the agency’s public hearing on the proposed safety standard.   The hearing concluded on March 20, yet another step in the now five-year process by OSHA to update its crane standards.  The standards on the books date back to 1971.  Troubling…

Ebola and the henhouse

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure When an Ebola virus related lab accident in German occurred, special pathogens researchers girded themselves for bad news. Working with agents for which there is currently no treatment of vaccine requires high containment laboratories, often touted as being virtually fail safe. While engineering and procedural controls can be instituted…

Friday Blog Roundup

There’s new climate legislation in the House (Waxman-Markey), and bloggers have a lot to say about it: David Doniger at NRDC’s Switchboard explains what’s in each of the bill’s four titles. Also at Switchboard, Melanie Nakagawa examines what the bill does for clean technology in developing countries.(And check the blog’s US Law and Policy page…

MSHA said WHAT about asbestos?

The Associated Press is reporting that last month MSHA inspectors found tremolite asbestos at a quarry owned by the Ash Grove Cement Company, part of its Kaiser plant in Jefferson County, Montana.  The article quotes MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere saying that asbestos is present in the pit as “isolated occurrences” due to geologic intrusions in certain zones of the quarry. Isolated occurrences?….of…

Thoughts on Water

by Madison Hardee Studying public health over the last two years, drinking water in the US and in the developing world is a regular topic of conversation.  In my studies, I was surprised to learn that only 1% of the world’s fresh water is available for human use (drinking, sanitation crops, etc.) The rest of the…