The Pump Handle

Another day, another study that shows investing in public health interventions can make a serious dent in health care spending. A new study has found that banning smoking in all U.S. subsidized housing could yield cost savings of about $521 million every year.

Eric Rodriguez and his colleagues at the Latino Union of Chicago quite literally meet workers where they’re at — on the city’s street corners. Many of the day laborers who gather there are hired to work construction at residential housing sites. Work arrangements are hardly formal and day laborers are frequently subjected to unnecessary and illegal dangers on the job. Unfortunately, worker safety is often kicked to the curb in the street corner marketplace.

Since the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) began reviewing the Labor Department’s proposed rule to reduce by one-half the permissible workplace exposure to respirable crystalline silica more than two year ago, the US has seen a dramatic increase in industrial sand mining, a major route of workers’ exposure to silica dust. Industry groups claim the more-protective standard would be too expensive.

For Angel Nava, Chicago’s newly adopted wage theft ordinance is particularly personal. Until recently, Nava had worked at the same car wash business in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood for 14 years. The 55-year-old employee did it all — washing, detailing, buffing — for about 50 hours each week. Then, his boss decided to stop paying overtime.

Two new books illustrate how and why the US system for regulating chemicals often fails to adequately protect human health.

If you serve it, they will eat it. That’s one of the many lessons gleaned from a new report on the national Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

In 1975, Samuel Preston published a paper that changed the course of thought on the relationship between mortality and economic development.

In California, a minimum wage worker has to work at least 98 hours in a week to afford a two-bedroom unit at fair market rental prices. In Texas, that worker would have to work between 81 and 97 hours in a week, and in North Carolina it’s upward of 80 hours per week.

Although EPA banned commercially manufactured PCBs in 1979, it still allows PCBs that occur as manufacturing by-products. Recent research has found these by-product PCBs in air and water samples from across the US. Are workers at risk from exposure to these substances?

A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times proposes an end game strategy for ending tobacco use in the U.S.