Archives for November, 2016

EPA beats Congress’ deadline, names first 10 chemicals for action under new law

EPA met its first major milestone under the new chemical safety law passed by Congress this past June. It announced its list for the first 10 chemicals for which it will prepare risk evaluations. Those evaluations could lead to restrictions on use or phase-outs of chemicals that presents an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment.

The percentage of Americans who reported cost-related barriers to health care dropped from 37 percent in 2013 to 33 percent in 2016 — a change that directly corresponds to insurance expansions under the Affordable Care Act, a new study reports. On the flip side, Americans are still more likely than peers in other high-income nations to face financial obstacles to health care.

A free, two-month course on global supply chains is being offered on-line by the Global Labour University starting on January 12, 2017. The course is being taught in English by Penn State University Professor Mark Anner, one the leading labor-oriented researchers on the global economy.

A new report by four leading workers’ rights group shows just how hard it is to get international clothing brands to fix problems in their global supply chains despite the fact that 1,100 workers were killed in an instant in an unsafe garment factory in Bangladesh.  Three and a half years after the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, five major clothing brands – Walmart, Gap, VF, Target and Hudson’s Bay – were found to have continuing hazards and dangerous delays in fixing them.

New data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics show that the US teen birth rate dropped substantially between 2007 and 2015, but it has declined most slowly in rural areas.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Advocates sound off on whether worker safety will survive under Trump; an intimate interview with a waitress highlights inconsistent income and sexual harassment; a court blocks Obama’s overtime rule from taking effect; and United Food and Commercial Workers pushes for health and safety training for California’s marijuana workers.

An era of racism and xenophobia

Polling data and early appointment decisions suggest we’re looking at worsening racism and xenophobia in the US.

Butterball turkey plant: an “injury-free” workplace yet plenty of walking wounded

Writing for Slate, Gabriel Thompson spent time in northwest Arkansas investigating working conditions in a Butterball turkey plant. You would be wise to disregard the poultry industry’s claims about record-low injury rates.

In 2005, Florida legislators passed the nation’s first “Stand Your Ground” law, expanding legal immunity for residents to use lethal force when they believe they’re being threatened. A decade later, a new study finds that Florida has experienced a significant increase in homicides, while states without such laws have not.

Two reports profile low-wages, grim conditions for workers in the food industry

Oxfam’s “Women on the Line” and the Food Chain Workers’ Alliance’s “No Piece of the Pie” provide more evidence of the low wages, harsh conditions, and disrespect experienced by millions of workers in the U.S. food industry.