Archives for December, 2015

In a recent study, Harvard public health researchers decided to test a few dozen types of electronic cigarettes for diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with a severe respiratory disease known as “popcorn lung.” The researchers found diacetyl in a majority of the e-cigarettes they tested. News outlets jumped on the findings, with some announcing that e-cigarettes could cause the often-debilitating respiratory disease.

ANSI’s Nail Gun Safety Standard ignores safety research, ANSI process criticized

ANSI new safety standard for nails guns ignores a decade of injury research. It’s process largely excluded those directly affected—consumers and workers—and was dominated by groups with an interest in the unsafe status quo.

In 2010, Donna Gross, a psychiatric technician at Napa State Hospital for more than a decade, was strangled to death at work by a mentally ill patient. While on-the-job violence in the health care sector was certainly nothing new at the time, the shocking and preventable circumstances surrounding Gross’ death helped ignite a new and coordinated movement for change. Now, just a handful of years later, California is set to become the only state with an enforceable occupational standard aimed at preventing workplace violence against health care workers.

Recent pieces address how poor single moms survive, harassment of abortion providers, independence for the elderly, and more.

Not an “accident”: Eric McClellan, 55, suffers fatal work-related injury in Chesterfield County, Virginia

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on Wednesday, November 25 in Chesterfield County, VA.

Occupational Health News Roundup

The importance of protecting vulnerable workers in efforts to combat climate change; Dallas officials vote for mandatory rest breaks; University of Chicago’s nontenured instructors vote to form a union; and Cal/OSHA launches investigation into porn production company.

Amazon packages, postal workers, and “being careful”

My neighborhood’s mail carrier is now responsible for delivering packages from Amazon. Did the USPS deal-makers consider how these new demands on postal workers increase their risk of suffering an injury or other adverse health consequences?

Last month, researchers in China reported on a gene that makes bacteria resistant to a last-ditch antibiotic. Now, researchers have found that gene in other countries. Meanwhile, CDC reports findings on “nightmare bacteria” CRE.

Take a quick look around your home and chances are you’ll find at least one product with an ingredient simply described as “fragrance.” But what exactly does that mean and is there anything harmful in the ubiquitous chemical cocktails we refer to as fragrance? Maybe. But the real answer is that it’s hard to know for sure — and that, say advocates, is bad for public health.

Trial of Mining CEO Blankenship: “Guilty” say the jurors

The criminal trial of Don Blankenship ended this week with a guilty verdict on one of the three charges against the former Massey Energy CEO. The reaction from family members and reflections from Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward make up my favorite quotes from this final week of the trial.