Archives for July, 2009

Swine flu: thoughts on social distancing

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure I am thinking out loud here. Since that’s never a pretty sight, you might wish to avert your eyes. With that merest of advance warning, the school closure problem has gotten me to think more generally about social distancing. The term itself is a kind of oxymoron. “Social” emphasizes…

by Kas Approximately 100 people from Washington, DC-area universities, local government, and private industry shared an organic experience at the 2009 Policy Greenhouse held this morning at The George Washington University.  The Greenhouse provided a forum for people to present, in five minutes or less, their ideas for innovative, sustainable solutions for local problems.  The…

Pandemics and research funding

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure I’ll soon be at the end of my career, funding-wise, although I plan to continue as an active scientist for as long as my neurons will process information in a logical order. I mention this so you won’t take this as special pleading. I’m not going to benefit from…

Several months ago, I attended presentation by Michael Taylor, a former FDA deputy commissioner for policy who’d recently become a professor here at the George Washington University’s School of Public Health. Taylor’s presentation, “Building a Prevention-Oriented Food Safety System: FDA’s Challenge and Opportunity,” explained why it’s so hard to ensure that our nation’s food supply…

When Nanoparticles Wash Away

Investigative journalist Carole Bass has written extensively about nanotechnology, emphasizing how little we know about the risks associated with the nanoparticles now used in a wide range of consumer products, from sunscreen to stain-resistant clothing. Her latest piece, in the new issue of E Magazine, includes an exploration of what these particles do when they…

MSHA nominee announced

The White House announced today 10 nominations for senior administration positions, including Mr. Joe Main to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health (MSHA).    The biography provided with the announcement notes that he: “… began working in coal mines in 1967 and quickly became an advocate for miners safety as…

Last week, OSHA’s area office in Wilmington issued citations to Valero Energy Corp’s Delaware City oil refinery, including four repeat* and nine serious violations of process safety management rules.  Because Valero boasts that its “process safety program instills safety and reliabiity at every refinery,” how is it that they have been found with REPEAT violations of OSHA’s process safety…

Occupational Health News Roundup

The Washington Post’s Pamela Constable reports on brickmakers in Pakistan, where a worker might toil from 4:30am to sundown, produce 1,200 bricks, and earn $3.50 for the day’s labor. Brickmakers toil near the bottom of Pakistan’s economic and social ladder, forever at the mercy of heat, dirt, human greed and official indifference. By law, they…

Confined Spaces and Failed Rescue Attempts

At a Queens, New York waste transfer station, investigators read the signs of a tragic story: Harel Dahan, 23, descended a ladder into a stinking well that caught runoff water from the recycling yard, and was overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes. His father, Shlomo Dahan, 49, went down after him but was also overcome by…

Swine flu and Tamiflu resistance

by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure Currently the only antiviral drugs effective against the swine flu (novel H1N1) virus are the two neuriminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir (trade name Tamiflu) and zanamivir (trade name Relenza). Relenza is in active form at the outset and cannot be absorbed orally. It must be inhaled, leading to asthmatic reactions in…