Archives for March, 2011

Counting work-related injuries, disease and death among US workers: Part 1

“Death takes no holidays in industry and commerce,” is how Labor Secretary Willard Wirtz described the toll of on-the-job death and disability for U.S. workers. The Secretary’s remarks in 1968 were part of congressional hearings on legislation that ultimately established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He suggested that because most work-related fatalities and…

For today’s celebration of International Women’s Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remarks: One hundred years ago, when the world first commemorated International Women’s Day, gender equality and women’s empowerment were largely radical ideas. On this centenary, we celebrate the significant progress that has been achieved through determined advocacy, practical action and enlightened policy making. Yet,…

By Elizabeth Grossman It’s now almost eleven months since the BP/Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers, and almost eight months since the damaged well was capped. While the emergency phase of this disaster is over, the assessment of and response to its long-term impacts are just now getting underway. On February 28th, the…

Given how many complaints we’ve been hearing lately about wasteful government spending, I thought this might be a good time to highlight some lesser-known, worthwhile government-funded programs that promote public health. (Core agency functions, like EPA’s Clean Air Act enforcement, are also crucial for public health, but I trust this audience is already fairly familiar…

As part of a series on the “penny-and-pound foolish cuts the House Republicans want to impose,” the New York Times editorial board lambastes a proposal to cut federal funding to Poison Control Centers from $29 million (Obama’s request) to $2 million. This federal money only covers about 20% of the centers’ costs, but slashing it…

Earlier this week, the EPA released a report that quantifies costs and benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments – and, surprise, surprise, the benefits substantially outweigh the costs: $2 trillion vs. $65 billion in 2020. Specifically, The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020 evaluates the costs and…

Leave it to a reporter to stir up mine safety oversight

Editors of The (WV) Charleston Gazette had perfect timing. On the morning of a congressional oversight hearing on the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) performance, their front page featured an article by reporter Ken Ward Jr. about incomplete inspections and inadequate enforcement actions in 2009 in at least 25 of the agency’s…

A few of the recent pieces I’ve liked: Deborah Blum at Slate: Bring Back the Poison Squad (“If we look back to a similar crisis of food safety in the last century, we see that federal regulators were willing to risk their lives to protect the rest of us.”) Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News…

In Praise of Cohort Studies

Helen Pearson has just written a fascinating Nature News article about a British cohort study – the National Survey of Health and Development, run by the Medical Research Council – that’s been following more than 5,000 subjects since their births in 1946. Cohort studies take groups of people who share a common characteristic, such as…