Archives for April, 2012

by Kim Krisberg Broccoli. A nutritious green veggie of the cabbage family? Or a symbol of the federal government’s over-reaching power grab? Like most things in life, it all depends on your perspective. I’ve been thinking about that word — broccoli — since last month’s Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of provisions within the…

Yesterday, the FDA announced a new program that has the potential to slash the routine use of antibiotics by livestock producers. The routine administration of antibiotics to livestock with no signs of sickness helps animals grow more quickly, but it’s also a significant contributor to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. An estimated 70% of the…

Worker safety rule stuck in White House black hole, disease risk persists

More than 425 days—-that’s 14 months—-have passed since the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) a draft proposed regulation designed to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. The hazard is one of the oldest known causes of work-related…

By Elizabeth Grossman While the US Supreme Court was debating the Affordable Care Act, the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the current federal oversight of cosmetics and personal care product safety. The hearing revealed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency…

Slate has just started a new series by Tom Vanderbilt called “The Crisis in American Walking: How we got off the pedestrian path.” Vanderbilt observes that it’s odd to see things like “Campaign to Get America Walking” when ambulation is one of the most natural activities for our species. Reliance on cars seems to be…

Chamber of Commerce mocks worker safety system, despite endorsement by major Chamber members and National Mining Association

The US Chamber of Commerce had a quaint little game on its website last month, complete with a YouTube video with fake sportscasters. The PR campaign called “Regulatory Madness” keyed off the annual NCAA’s basketball tournament we know as March Madness. The cutesy idea was for business people to use the Chamber’s pick of the…

In the New York Times last week, Gardiner Harris reported on tensions between FDA and the White House over FDA decisions that White House officials fear will be politically problematic for President Obama. Harris reminds readers that “The Bush administration repeatedly stopped the agency from issuing rules to prevent contamination of eggs, produce and other…

At an American Public Health Association annual meeting session a couple of years ago, I learned from the panelists that green jobs aren’t always safe jobs — for instance, energy-efficient buildings and wind turbines can be designed without proper consideration for how workers constructing or servicing them will be protected from falls or assured adequate…

Two years ago today, 29 men died in a West Virginia coal mine

“When the world came to an end” is how Joshua Williams described being inside the Upper Big Branch coal mine at 3:02 pm on April 5, 2010. He knew several crews of coal miners were much deeper inside the dark tunnels than he. An ominous feeling. Coal dust explosions are powerful and deadly. Eight days…

Deborah Sontag’s New York Times piece “Haiti’s Cholera Outraced the Experts and Tainted the UN” is a reminder that while public attention to the earthquake-ravaged country has waned, cholera still presents a major threat to the country’s people. It’s also just a sad story about how one apparently small malfunction can have disastrous consequences for…