Archives for May, 2010

Should DC Tax Soda?

Earlier this month, the DC City Council passed the Healthy Schools Act, which will raise nutritional standards for school meals, increase the amount of physical and health education students receive, create school gardens, and do all kinds of other commendable things. The difficult part is that it’ll cost $6.5 million annually, and we’re in the…

We’re delighted to welcome journalist Elizabeth Grossman as a new writer for The Pump Handle. Elizabeth Grossman is the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, and other books. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications…

Dr. John M Peters: a gentle, witty and brilliant man

John M. Peters, MD, DSc, MPH, the Hastings Professor of Preventive Medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine passed away at age 75 on May 6 from pancreatic cancer. The School’s dean, Carmen A. Puliafito, said “one of the legends of environmental and occupational health. His work took him from the freeways of Los…

Using Facebook to react to MSHA chief’s latest on Massey investigation

I can’t keep up with Ken Ward Jr.’s coverage of the trouble brewing, battle, strong difference of opinion between Secretary Hilda Solis/MSHA Asst. Secretary Joe Main and the United Mine Workers (UMWA), family members of deceased coal miners and journalists about the Department of Labor’s decision to have closed-door interviews of witnesses as part of…

Puzzled by MSHA’s latest reg agenda

As I noted in “Perplexed by OSHA’s reg agenda,” I’ve made a habit of commenting on the content of the Dept of Labor’s semi-annual regulatory agenda [see links below]. I’ll be the first to admit that our system for protecting workers from well-known hazards with new regulations is onerous and anything but nimble. It needs…

Perplexed by OSHA’s latest reg agenda

Beginning in December 2006, I’ve written five blog post commenting on the content of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulatory agenda for worker health and safety rulemakings. Most of my posts [see links below] have criticized the Labor Secretary and senior OSHA and MSHA staff for failing to offer a bold vision for progressive worker…

Labor Secretary announces regulatory priorities for worker health and safety

Last week Labor Secretary Solis released in the Federal Register on April 26, 2010, her Spring 2010 regulatory agenda for the Department, including her rulemaking priorities for MSHA and OSHA. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act it was published on time in April, in contrast to her Fall 2009 agenda which was six weeks…

Lessons from Exxon Valdez on Worker Health and Safety

A month after the March 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, a small team of public health experts prepared a report identifying the potential health hazards and making strong recommendations for protective action for the cleanup workers. The team included Eula Bingham, PhD (former OSHA chief), Matt Gillen (now at NIOSH), Mark Catlin (now at SIEU), Don…

Nano Vaccination?

We keep writing about the risks involved with nanotechnology, so it’s nice to be able to highlight a potential benefit. Andrew Schneider reports for AOL News that researchers from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a “nanopatch” that can deliver vaccines more effectively than intramuscular injection:

In Yale Environment 360, Sonia Shah highlights a promising trend: communities in Mexico, China, Tanzania, and elsewhere are adopting non-chemical methods to control the populations of mosquitos that transmit malaria. They’ve seen their numbers of malaria cases drop, and dramatically reduced their use of the pesticide DDT. In addition to the environmental health risks that…