Kim Krisberg

Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for more than a decade. You can reach her at kkrisberg@yahoo.com.

Hardly a day goes by lately without another story on companies like Uber and their model of classifying workers as independent contractors while treating them more like traditional employees and sidestepping traditional employer responsibilities. It’s a model that has serious implications for workers’ rights and wages. However, there’s another form of employment that may be even more damaging to hard-fought labor standards: subcontracting.

It’s been 15 years since worker safety advocates in Puerto Rico first began fighting against a proposal to dilute the qualifications associated with being a professional industrial hygienist. As part of their efforts, such advocates developed their own proposal to protect the livelihoods of those with the knowledge and experience to properly protect workers. And after years of work, they may finally cross the finish line victorious.

With near constant news on the threat of Zika virus and a quickly growing evidence base detailing the virus’ devastating impact on fetal brain development, you’d think Congress could get its act together to make sure our public health system is fully prepared and equipped to confront the mosquito-borne disease. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

Workers inside Donald Trump’s Las Vegas hotel speak up about wages and conditions; New York’s governor sides with farmworkers in right to organize; reporters investigate the lack of women coaches in college sports; and Uber agrees to a workers guild with very limited power.

Just in time for Mother’s Day comes more good news from the Affordable Care Act: the rate of uninsured moms caring for kids younger than 19 has dropped to its lowest rate in nearly 20 years.

If you’re pregnant and live in Cleveland, Ohio, it’s likely you’ll pay about $522 for an ultrasound. If you live about 60 miles south in Canton, Ohio, it costs about $183 for the same procedure, a recent study found. Why such a significant price difference? Researchers couldn’t single out one overriding factor. But the study does tell us this: place matters when it comes to how much you pay for health care.

Occupational Health News Roundup

CDC investigates diacetyl exposure in coffee production facilities; Supreme Court rules in favor of workers’ First Amendment rights; Latino workers still face the greatest fatality risks at work; and a job-seeking experiment finds women bear the brunt of age discrimination in the job market.

When President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010, he also ushered in the first major nutrition changes in the school meal program in 15 years. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the changes received a good bit of pushback, with many arguing that healthier foods would mean fewer kids buying school lunches and big revenue losses for schools. But a new study shows otherwise.

Just a few weeks ago, legislators in New York reached a deal to raise the minimum wage to $15. And while that’s certainly a big boost for incomes, it could also turn out to be a literal lifesaver.

Lead isn’t the only toxin threatening the safety of community drinking water. A recent study on water located downstream from a West Virginia fracking disposal site uncovered levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals high enough to adversely impact the aquatic animals living there. And that means human health could be at risk too.