Liz Borkowski

Reporters investigate the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Texas; a new poll finds widespread support for “family friendly” workplace policies, including paid sick days and paid family leave; and large-scale hog operations raise environmental concerns in Iowa.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Poultry workers travel to Washington, DC to ask the Obama administration to rescind a proposed rule that would allow for faster processing-line speeds; a camera assistant is killed during a railway film shoot; and a Tennessee lawmaker has introduced bills to improve worker health safety in that state.

Collaboration between primary care providers and public health departments is a powerful strategy for addressing the growing health toll of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. A new Practical Playbook offers resources for practitioners — including success stories from many communities where primary care-public health partnerships are paying off.

A new report from Save the Children calculates that improving the distribution of skilled birth attendants worldwide could prevent nearly one million newborn deaths each year.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Anniversaries of two deadly workplace disasters remind us of the hazards of combustible dust and gas blows; a former Cal/OSHA employee warns that the agency is dangerously understaffed; and CDC uses sugar-industry money to fund studies into the epidemic of chronic kidney disease striking Central American sugarcane workers.

After having delivered prime-time telecasts from the Olympic Games since 1988, NBC’s Bob Costas had to step aside due to a pink eye infection. For millions of US workers, missing work due to illness can mean losing pay or even being fired — which makes it hard for them to stay home and spare their co-workers from disease exposure. Several states are considering legislation to assure workers can earn paid sick leave.

Foundations, hospitals, and government agencies work to reduce Detroit’s infant mortality rate, which is the worst among large US cities; newly insured residents of Breathitt County, Kentucky head to doctors to treat long-standing health problems; and an addiction researcher discusses why overdosing is the leading cause of accidental US deaths — and what we can do about it.

Occupational Health News Roundup

A judge questions whether the NFL’s proposed settlement will be enough to meet the needs of former football players suffering from neurological problems; the collapse of two cell towers in West Virginia kills two communications workers and one firefighter; and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health publicizes resources for preventing musculoskeletal disorders.

In last night’s State of the Union speech, President Obama addressed several ways to “make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.” Legislation already introduced in Congress would raise the minimum wage, expand access to paid sick days, and create a social insurance system for paid medical and family leave — but Congress hasn’t voted on the bills. In the absence of federal action, state and local governments are stepping up.

Three articles just published in the American Journal of Public Health address home-visit programs for expectant and new parents. As accumulating research finds these interventions to improve children’s health and development, will the Affordable Care Act’s funding for home-visit programs be renewed?