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.

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.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Reveal investigates fraud in California’s workers’ comp system; workers face unnecessary hazards in the recycling industry; anger over union exemptions in Los Angeles’ new minimum wage law; and two miners win their retaliation case against Murray Energy.

You know how opponents of paid sick leave and raising the minimum wage always cite resistance in the business community? Well, in turns out that such resistance might be closer to a marketing gimmick rather than a genuine reflection of employer sentiment.

In debates over air pollution control, it’s always a tug-of-war between the cost to business and the cost to public health. Late last month, a study emerged with new data for the public health column: the cost of the nation’s nearly 16,000 annual preterm births linked to air pollution is more than a whopping $5 billion.

Occupational Health News Roundup

A peek inside the life of Miami’s hotel housekeepers during spring break; a tie vote at the Supreme Court is a win for labor unions; California on track to adopt statewide minimum wage of $15; and Los Angeles nurses go on strike for safer working conditions.

Here’s what states get when they expand Medicaid: more savings, more revenue, more jobs, more access to care for their communities.

A recent study finds vaccine refusals have, indeed, accelerated the resurgence of whooping cough and measles here in the U.S. The findings are making headlines around the country — and comment sections are filling up with vitriol from anti-vaxxers — but it would feel amiss not to highlight the study on a blog dedicated to public health. But first, let’s remind ourselves of the pain and suffering that preceded vaccines.

In another example of the value of investing in public health, a recent study finds that PulseNet, a national foodborne illness outbreak network, prevents about 276,000 illnesses every year, which translates into savings of $507 million in medical costs and lost productivity. That’s a pretty big return on investment for a system that costs just $7.3 million annually to operate.