Archives for June, 2010

by Eileen Senn, MS It seems obvious to many that respirators are needed to protect cleanup workers in the Gulf from inhaling air contaminants that are making some sick now and may make many more chronically ill in the future. I will describe a combination of political and scientific issues conspiring to prevent the needed…

By Elizabeth Grossman “This is the one thing that could destroy our culture and I don’t want to see it happen,” says Grand Isle, Louisiana resident Karen Hopkins, wiping at tears she’s clearly fighting. Hopkins, a Louisiana native and long-time resident of Grand Isle, runs the office at Dean Blanchard Seafood. Blanchard typically buys 13…

It’s appropriate for BP to dedicate $20 billion to an escrow fund for oil-spill claims, and I hope the fund’s independent administration will allow for quick payment of claims. Nicholas Beaudrot points out that the fund’s structure means BP has an incentive to resolve claims quickly – in contrast to the 20 years that it…

Occupational Health News Roundup

In 1999, two machinists who worked next to each other at a Pratt & Whitney jet engine plant in North Haven, Connecticut were diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare and fatal brain cancer. Their wives started compliling information about other employees at the same company who’d received similar diagnoses, and focused attention on the workers’ illneses…

Senator McConnell’s disappointing response about worker safety legislation

If there was any doubt in your mind that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is detached from the reality of workers, worker rights and safety, he made it eminently clear in a letter he sent to his constituent Ms. Tammy Miser of Lexington, Kentucky. She’d written the Senator McConnell asking for his support for the Protecting…

By Anthony Robbins On 14 June 2010 stories appeared on the BBC and AFP. Google news displayed 70 story links. The European Journal of Epidemiology had published the research article online on 8 June. The very nice study strongly suggests that about 20% of sporadic cases of Legionnaire’s disease in England and Wales may be…

It’s been good to see OSHA adding more Gulf sampling data to its website, but the presentation of the information there isn’t quite as detailed as we were expecting to see. We asked an industrial hygienist colleague for a reaction to the web pages, and got an in-depth response. Here are one industrial hygienist’s recommendations…

by Elizabeth Grossman “The biggest thing we’re going to see in the next month or so is heat. The hottest months are ahead. There’s no shade on the water, on the beach or in the marshes. We’re going to see an increased amount of heat exhaustion and heatstroke,” Dr. James Callaghan, emergency room physician and…

Both OSHA and BP have set up webpages that offer their air monitoring procedures and results related to the Gulf oil disaster. Several worker health and safety experts have examined the data and offered interpretations of the results, including Eileen Senn, a former OSHA inspector. She reviewed BP’s June 9, 2010 Personal Exposure Monitoring Results…

James Surowiecki’s latest New Yorker piece tackles the problem of weakened federal agencies failing to get tough on companies that need it. He notes that leading up to the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster, Minerals Management Service officials “had let oil companies shortchange the government on oil-lease payments, accepted gifts from industry representatives, and, in some…