Archives for May, 2009

Solis’ Regulatory Plan for OSHA and MSHA

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis signed off on her first semi-annual agenda of regulations, which was published in the Federal Register on Monday, May 11.  She writes: “This document sets forth the Department’s semiannual agenda of regulations that have been selected for review or development during the coming year.  The Department’s agencies have carefully assessed their…

Reg Czar’s Confirmation Hearing

by Pete Galvin You never learn much from a “wired” confirmation hearing, and that was true yesterday at the hearing for Cass Sunstein to be director of OIRA.  Only three Senators bothered to come (apart from his former student, now the Senator from Minnesota, who introduced him before leaving) and two short rounds of questions were…

Post-Sago Disaster progress, or not?

Early Sunday morning (May 10), I read a news brief from WSAZ reporting that seven workers had been rescued from a flooded underground coal mine in Gilbert, WV, after being trapped for 32+ hours.  As I combed the web for further details, I was struck by the news accounts and audio recordings noting that the trapped miners and their families had spoken…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs save energy, but the mercury in them has to be handled with lots of caution – and that’s not always the case in the Chinese factories that manufacture a large share of the bulbs. Michael Sheridan Reports for the Sunday Times (UK):  In southern China, compact fluorescent lightbulbs destined for western consumers…

The Prez, the Press, and Solis’ MSHA

One trait of a good reporter is providing facts—facts that may make us uncomfortable, but ultimately force us to ask “is this really true?”   That’s what happened to me on Friday when I read the Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward’s piece Solis plays fast and loose on MSHA budget, in which he accused the new Labor Secretary of spinning the data on mine safety enforcement…

By Myra Karstadt Peanuts, pistachios, peppers (maybe tomatoes too), spinach, spices……….The list of produce recalled due to bacterial contamination gets longer, and baleful glances are  cast at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN- say siff-san), the part of FDA charged with regulating the safety of those agricultural products. With any luck, sometime…

Swine flu: features of past pandemics

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure The spate of swine flu articles in The New England Journal of Medicine last week included an important “Perspective, The Signature Features of Influenza Pandemics — Implications for Policy,” by Miller, Viboud, Baliska and Simonsen. These authors are familiar to flu watchers as experienced flu epidemiologists and analysts of…

Libby Verdict: Not Guilty

In a Montana courtroom earlier today, a jury returned a “not guilty” verdict in the government’s case against W.R. Grace and three of its executives. It’s widely known that W.R. Grace’s actions contaminated the entire town of Libby, Montana with asbestos, and that hundreds of Libby residents have died or become seriously ill from asbestos-related…

To Be or Not to Be: Reimagining the EPA

By Kas What happens when Founding Fathers question the existence of the system they helped to create?  No, not those Founding Fathers.  Here we’re referring to William D. Ruckelshaus and J. Clarence “Terry” Davies, two of our environmental policy champions and USEPA bricklayers.  In the April 2009 publication Oversight of Next Generation Nanotechnology from the…

We were delighted in March when President Obama issued a memorandum on scientific integrity, stating, “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues.” The memorandum gave the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy 120 days to “develop recommendations for…