Archives for May, 2009

Swine flu: cruise to nowhere

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure As flu season ramps up in the southern hemisphere, the US, Europe and Asia are keeping an eye on it to see what will happen as swine flu finds new pieces of meat to sate its appetite for human flesh. Sorry about the overheated image. I’ve been reading what’s…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Discarded computers, mobile phones, and TVs from consumers in developed countries often wind up in developing world, where workers – some of them children – disassemble the electronic waste to extract metal and other valuable materials. Usually working without any kind of protective equipment, they’re exposed to lead, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants, and other toxic…

By Alison Bass (cross-posted) In order to truly stabilize the economy and rescue Medicare from financial collapse, the Obama administration knows it has to do something about the elephant in the room: ever-rising health care costs. In this week’s New Yorker, surgeon-writer Atul Gawande presents an eye-opening discourse on why American health care costs have…

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure Yesterday New York reported two more swine flu deaths (a 41-year-old woman from Queens and a 34-year-old man from Brooklyn). CDC and just about everyone else who knows anything about influenza have been telling people to expect this. The influenza virus kills people all the time. We don’t know…

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the Waxman-Markey bill), which sets up a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% by 2050. It also includes other provisions to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green jobs. As…

MSHA’s Office of Circumlocution

By Ellen Smith The nation may have a new President with grand ideas about the Freedom of Information Act, but let’s be clear: at MSHA, nothing regarding FOIA has changed. The same people are still in charge of FOIA, offering ridiculous redactions and refusing to divulge information which, previous to 2002, was openly shared with the…

A few days ago, I expressed my annoyance with OSHA about its SBREFA meeting on the  draft proposed rule on diacetyl, the lung-damaging, butter-tasting food additive.   OSHA had announced earlier in the year that this pre-proposal dialogue with small employer would be “open to the public.”  I anxiously awaited public notification about the open meeting, only to find out on Wednesday afternoon…

By Bill Borwegen While the news coming out of California this week has focused on the budget crisis, something else of historic importance in advancing worker protections was achieved by California’s healthcare workers.  Yesterday in a 6-0 vote, the CalOSHA Standards Board adopted the nation’s first aerosol transmissible diseases standard. In 1986 when unions petitioned…

Alison Bass directs our attention to the tragic story of Denis Maltez, a 12-year-old Miami boy who died of serotonin syndrome after being given two anti-psychotic medications (Seroquel and Zyprexa) plus an anti-seizure drug and tranquilizer. Serotonin syndrome occurs when a combination of drugs causes the brain to produce excess serotonin. Denis had severe autism…

IRIS Fertilizer

by Kas The USEPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) will receive nutrient-rich fertilizer that will keep it from becoming obsolete.  IRIS provides an overall characterization of the public health risks for a given chemical in a given situation.  It is the place to go to find noncancer effects (reference doses (RfD), reference concentrations (RfC)) and…