Chemicals Policy

Category archives for Chemicals Policy

In the U.S., just a tiny fraction of the chemicals used in consumer products have been tested for human health effects. And with the current climate in Congress, it feels unlikely that we’ll see any true reform of the nation’s terribly outdated chemical safety rules anytime soon. In the meantime, scientist Thomas Hartung may have created the next best thing.

Occupational Health News Roundup

State investigations at New York nail salons uncover widespread violations; Oklahoma regulators rule that state law allowing employers to opt out of workers’ compensation is unconstitutional; EPA proposes new safety rules for chemical facilities; and reporters at Reuters investigate labor brokers who recruit and exploit foreign workers.

Manufacturers who market their products as “BPA-free” aren’t just sending consumers a message about chemical composition. The underlying message is about safety — as in, this product is safe or least more safe than products that do contain BPA. However earlier this month, another study found that a common BPA alternative — BPS — may not be safer at all.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Reporters at the Center for Public Integrity investigate the nation’s third wave of asbestos disease; garment workers in Bangladesh continue to fight for safety and dignity in the workplace; Seattle becomes the first U.S. city to allow Uber drivers to organize; and OSHA sends its silica rule to the White House.

In a recent study, Harvard public health researchers decided to test a few dozen types of electronic cigarettes for diacetyl, a flavoring chemical associated with a severe respiratory disease known as “popcorn lung.” The researchers found diacetyl in a majority of the e-cigarettes they tested. News outlets jumped on the findings, with some announcing that e-cigarettes could cause the often-debilitating respiratory disease.

Take a quick look around your home and chances are you’ll find at least one product with an ingredient simply described as “fragrance.” But what exactly does that mean and is there anything harmful in the ubiquitous chemical cocktails we refer to as fragrance? Maybe. But the real answer is that it’s hard to know for sure — and that, say advocates, is bad for public health.

Flame retardants aren’t just found in your furniture. It’s likely you also have detectable amounts of the chemical in your body too, which is pretty worrisome considering the growing amount of research connecting flame retardants to serious health risks. Researchers have linked to the chemicals to reproductive health problems, adverse neurobehavioral development in kids, and endocrine and thyroid disruption. And so the question arises: Do the risks of today’s flame retardants outweigh the benefits?

Occupational Health News Roundup

Investigative series explores worker health and safety on the farm; California enacts toughest pay equity law in the country; OSHA proposes biggest fine in Nebraska’s history; and Labor Secretary Tom Perez stops by Gawker.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Women in the trucking industry face severe sexual harassment, rape and retaliation; advocates call out chemical giant DuPont on their safety consulting business; home health care workers gain new wage protections; and Texas cities take action on living wages.

Occupational Health News Roundup

New investigative series examines the toll of occupational illness and the lack of federal protections; OSHA steps up its efforts to protect nurses; women janitors face sexual assault and rape risks on the night shift; and IKEA reports that raising wages worked so well, the company is set to raise them again.