Archives for March, 2011

New York Times columnist Mark Bittman (famous for his writing on food) reported on Tuesday that he was joining more than 4,000 others who’ve been fasting to call attention to House legislation’s proposed cuts to programs for the poor and hungry. He explains: [The poor] are — once again — under attack, this time in…

Counting work-related injuries, disease and death among U.S. workers: Part 3

If you want to keep all your digits and limbs, you probably want to avoid working at Anheuser-Busch’s Metal Container Corp., in Arnold, Missouri. That worksite was recently cited by OSHA for hazards related to incidents last fall in which one worker lost fingers in machinery, and another worker had a foot amputated because of…

A few of the recent pieces I’ve liked: T. Christian Miller of ProPublica and Daniel Zwerdling of NPR: Aftershock: The Blast That Shook Psycho Platoon Susan Milius in Science News: Backup Bees Deborah Blum at Speakeasy Science: The Radium Girls (Part II, Part III) Frank N. Von Hippel on the New York Times Opinion Page:…

“We found love in a cold, dark mine,” says Upper Big Branch miner

One week from today will mark the first anniversary of the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster where 29 men lost their lives from an enormous and powerful explosion. Those left behind–the parents, spouses, children and friends—have lives that are changed forever. Ken Ward and Gary Harki of the Charleston (WV) Gazette share a touching…

100 years ago today, 146 workers killed in NYC garment factory

The New York Times’‘ headline read: STREET STREWN WITH BODIES; PILES OF DEAD INSIDE. The article went on this way: “Nothing like it has been seen in New York since the burning of the General Slocum. The fire was practically all over in half an hour. …it was the most murderous fire that New York…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Mitsuru Obe reports in today’s Wall Street Journal that three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been exposed to moderately high levels of radiation, due to contact with radiactive water on the ground. Their reported exposures of 170 to 180 millisieverts are less than the new emergency limit of 250 millisieverts, but…

Exactly one year ago, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – the most sweeping change to US healthcare since the legislation that created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The law’s most important achievement is its creation of a system that will slash our nation’s shameful uninsurance rate by an…

Every March 22nd is designated as World Water Day, with the goal of “focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.” This year’s theme is “Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge,” in recognition of the fact that half the world’s population now lives in an…

OSHA cracks down (sometimes) on worker deaths in grain elevators

Monique Harper, 41, had a beautiful smile that family and friends will never forget. “Monique was the most hilarious and free-spirited person you will ever meet,” said one of her sisters. “She was a mother that loved her children, family and friends.” Monique Harper’s contagious smile and free spirit are now only memories. She was…

I was delighted to be a guest on the Skeptically Speaking radio show/ podcast recently – I spoke with host Desiree Schell about why toilets (and other related forms of sanitation) are so great. In fact, the whole episode is dedicated to the topic of “Sewer Science,” and also features University of York’s Alistair Boxall…