Archives for June, 2009

Occupational Health News Roundup

Two recent studies add the knowledge about the risks associated with on-the-job exposure to pesticides. University of Ottowa researchers analyzed 35 studies on parental occupational exposure to pesticides and childhood leukemia, and found that children whose mothers were exposed to pesticides at work while pregnant have twice the risk of developing childhood leukemia. Researchers at…

Slow going on Labor Dept nominations

We are approaching day 160 of the Obama Administration, yet the Solicitor of Labor is not yet in place,  neither are the Assistant Secretaries for most other DOL agencies, including Employment Training Administration, MSHA, OSHA, VETS and Women’s Bureau.   Attorney Patricia M. Smith was nominated by President Obama on March 19 to serve as the Solicitor, and her confirmation…

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure Crafting a message on swine flu is not easy, and it’s easy to make missteps. I think CDC has gotten it pretty much right over the last two months, but not everyone has. We’ve written here since the beginning (some examples here and here) that describing any flu outbreak…

Climate Bill up for Vote in House

The House is voting today on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the Waxman-Markey bill); at 5:30pm, members of Congress are still taking the floor to speak for or against it. Head over to Grist’s site to check out climatebill@twitter feed, or watch it on C-SPAN. The political compromises that Henry Waxman and…

Global Health Links

A few recent items highlight programs and innovations that are helping improve health in developing countries: Journalist and Nieman Fellow Christine Gorman spent three months in Malawi to learn about a new program that’s tackling the country’s severe nursing shortage with higher pay and more support for nursing education and training.  She’s been writing about…

Pandemic prep teachable moment

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure For years those concerned about the consequences of an influenza pandemic from an exceptionally virulent flu virus, like A/H5N1 (“bird flu”) have despaired about motivating business, government and neighbors to take it seriously enough to make serious preparations. It’s understandable. There’s are a lot of potential catastrophes competing for…

This is a trade secret under FOIA?

I’ve often suspected that some federal agencies apply very broad definitions to the exemptions provided under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Now, thanks to one diligent journalist I can judge for myself whether the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is an offender.  Ellen Smith of Mine Safety and Health News requested records from MSHA and the…

Costs and Benefits of Appalachian Coal

Mining’s environmental costs are high, but many residents of coal-mining communities support continued mining because they rely (directly or indirectly) on mining jobs. Now, reports Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston Gazette, two researchers have put price tags on the economic costs and benefits of coal mining in Appalachia, and found that the benefits don’t…

What’s next for OSHA’s crane rule?

Friday (6/19) was the final day for participants from OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed cranes and derricks rule to submit comments to the agency; by my count, seven organizations responded.  The Edison Electric Institute  offered the lengthiest document (94 pages), and it was peppered with provocative language, such as “…these and many other vexing questions arise from OSHA’s convulated proposed…

Occupational Health News Roundup

In Texas, a construction worker dies every two and a half days. In the Texas Observer, Melissa Del Bosque explains that it’s because of “lax enforcement of labor and safety regulations, too many overtime hours without rest breaks and a lack of safety training and equipment.” The Austin-based nonprofit Workers Defense Project, which helps construction…