Environmental Health

Category archives for Environmental Health

Senators pushing TSCA reform bill that’s missing the law’s poster child

Public health researchers, agency officials and scholars describe the Toxic Substances Control Act as a defective, outdated law. They often use EPA’s failed effort to ban asbestos as a poster child for the broken law. A TSCA “reform” bill currently has traction in the Senate, but it’s left behind the poster child.

Today, Maine’s legislature held a hearing on the Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace Act, a proposal to require employers to identify harmful chemicals in the workplace and replace them with safer alternatives. It’s the perfect example of state action on behalf of worker safety and exactly the kind of measure that might no longer be possible under two congressional proposals aimed at overhauling the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Chemicals at work taking their breath away: work-related asthma

A Massachusetts company that manufactures industrial floatation devices for the off-shore oil/gas industry exposed its workers to toxic dust. Nine cases of work-related asthma among its employees were reported to the state health department.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Oregon mill workers describe a workplace rife with dangerous hazards; thousands of fast food and low-wage workers take to the streets for higher wages; labor advocates file worker retaliation complaint against Walmart; and new media workers start to organize.

Labor group outlines significant flaws in chemical reform bill, joins growing list of opponents

The AFL-CIO joins a growing list of organizations which have raised serious concerns—or outright oppose—the Vitter/Udall bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Advocates work to expand consumer concern from humanely treated food to humanely treated workers; workers with children face struggles in Silicon Valley; Texas lawmakers introduce bill aimed at fertilizer plants; Microsoft to require paid leave policies at its suppliers; and the McDonald’s wage hike is too small for too few.

For years, advocates have been calling on policymakers to reform the nation’s outdated chemical safety laws. Today, two such bills stand before Congress — one that advocates say better protects the public’s health and another that advocates warn is a dangerous step backward.

For all you city-dwellers out there, next time you walk by a vacant lot that’s been refurbished with green gardens and budding trees, take note of your heart rate. You might find the pleasantly green view caused a welcome moment of relaxation and lowered stress.

In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that improved air quality in southern California had a direct effect on children’s respiratory health. The findings point to the effectiveness of smart public health policy — in other words, even as southern California experienced increases in traffic and commerce, aggressive air pollution policies resulted in cleaner air and healthier kids.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Workers continue to face dangerous exposures to diacetyl; paid sick leave legislation introduced in West Virginia; home health workers rally for living wages; and the rise of the independent contractor classification threatens worker rights.