Archives for August, 2011

The truth about health, safety and environmental regulations

In a week that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) rallied his Members with a plan to repeal “job-destroying regulations,” the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) provides strong evidence to debunk the House Republican’s rhetoric. In “Saving Lives, Preserving the Environment, Growing the Economy: The Truth about Regulation,” CPR scholars provide concrete examples of profound…

by Elizabeth Grossman On Sunday August 21, a cleaning process designed to make tomatoes safe for customers eating marinara sauce, pizza topping, and canned tomatoes resulted in a release of chlorine dioxide gas that sent 43 workers at the Pacific Coast Producers plant in Woodland, California to area hospitals. According to Pacific Coast Producers vice…

Hurricane Irene wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been. The consensus here in DC seems to be “nowhere near as bad as Isabel” (which hit the Mid-Atlantic in 2003), and many of the New Yorkers who ignored Mayor Bloomberg’s orders to evacuate are probably feeling smug. Nonetheless, millions of people have lost power, and…

OSHA news releases rarely name company’s work comp carrier

When OSHA proposed penalties in January 2011 totaling nearly $1.4 million against two Illinois grain handling companies, I noticed the agency’s news release mentioned the employers’ workers compensation insurance carrier. It was the first time that I’d see this in an OSHA news release, and I wondered if it was the start of something new.…

The costs of lead poisoning

Deborah Blum at Speakeasy Science has put up a terrific two-part post about the early history of leaded gasoline, which bears much of the blame for lead poisoning in workers and the general population. (Paint containing lead is the other main culprit.) Blum’s “At the Door of the Loony Gas Building” and “Of Dead Bodies…

I felt a sense of déjà vu Tuesday morning when I heard NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce reporting on Senator Tom Coburn’s attacks on National Science Foundation-funded research. I realized that the same thing happened last August, and I wrote about it in a post called “Scoring Political Points by Misunderstanding Science.” Last year, the report mocked…

Worker safety rulemaking 101, Part 2

The process of putting a new federal regulation in place to protect individuals from serious hazards at work often takes five or more years. Part 1 of “Worker safety rulemaking” described the steps leading up to OSHA proposing a new rule, to the point where the agency’s chief decides whether to send the draft proposed…

Pseudonyms and public health

As those of you who read other ScienceBlogs are probably already aware, the ScienceBlogs overlords have decided that all bloggers on this network must blog under their own names — no more pseudonyms. I don’t understand or agree with this policy. Some of my favorite ScienceBlogs are written by authors using pseudonyms, and the quality…

By Kim Krisberg Public health director Kerran Vigroux sounds almost matter-of-fact when she talks about having to shut down her department’s screening services for sexually transmitted diseases. As she talks about the prevention and education opportunities that packed up and left along with the testing services, there’s that familiar, barely audible public health tone to…

What new rule did OSHA issue this month? Worker safety rulemaking 101, Part 1

I recently heard an individual who works on Capitol Hill describe the kinds of questions he receives from congressional offices. One that made me laugh out loud was: “What new regulations did OSHA issue this month?” This month? Entire years go by without a single new worker safety regulation, and those that are issued typically…