Archives for May, 2011

A few of the recent pieces I’ve liked: Charles Ornstein at ProPublica: Cardiac Society Draws Bulk of Funding from Stent Makers Deborah Blum at Speakeasy Science: A Chemical (Battle) Cry Tara C. Smith at Aetiology: Ebola in Uganda: current and past outbreaks Tim Lougheed in Environmental Health Perspectives: Phosphorus Paradox: Scarcity and Overabundance of a…

by Elizabeth Grossman Two industrial accidents – one fatal – that occurred on May 11 within 40 miles of each other are a reminder what a fine line there can be between workplace safety and acute danger. One incident occurred at the Stimson sawmill and hardwood facility in Gaston, Oregon, (about 35 miles west of…

Does asbestos mean something different in Quebec than it does everywhere else?

That’s the question posed by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi in his “Ored to Death” segment broadcast on May 12. Mandvi interviews G. Bernard Coulombe, the general manager of the proposed Jeffrey asbestos mine in Quebec, Canada, who reports the mine will produce 200 TONS annually of chrysotile fibers. In the segment, Mandvi…

by Elizabeth Grossman Far-reaching and ambitious recommendations laid out at a meeting of the United Nations Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM) could significantly reduce occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in the electronics industry – and do so at every stage of product life, from component design and manufacturing to recycling. If implemented, these…

For many years, the public health and environmental communities have been calling for reform of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which governs the use of chemicals in US commerce. Instead of requiring companies to demonstrate the safety of chemicals they intend to use or produce, TSCA puts the burden on EPA to request…

Good data isn’t just important to researchers; it’s also essential for people who want to participate in the governmental processes that affect our environment. The US government makes a lot of environmental data available to the public and provides many opportunities for public participation, but both the information and the engagement opportunities need to improve…

The American Society of Magazine Editors has announced its 2010 award winners, and I found it striking that three of the winning pieces address the issue of cancer. Over the past couple of years, we’ve heard more cautions about the downsides of aggressive screening for breast and prostate cancers – and then we occasionally also…

One reporter from the radio world, Howard Berkes at National Public Radio (NPR), and the other from the print world, Ken Ward, Jr. at The Charleston Gazette have submerged themselves in interview transcripts from witnesses involved in the emergency response on April 5, 2010 at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine. About two dozen transcripts…

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University’s School of Medicine has announced that former NFL player Dave Duerson, who committed suicide at the age of 50 and left a request that his brain go to CSTE, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The disorder is linked to repeated brain trauma, and Duerson’s family…

As Travis Saunders has explained, evidence is accumulating about the unhealthy effects of excessive sedentary time. This isn’t just because sitting burns fewer calories than walking or standing, but because sedentary behavior is associated with changes in triglyceride uptake, HDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. And bouts of intense exercise every morning or evening can’t completely…