Environmental Health

Category archives for Environmental Health

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is no stranger to budget cuts — the agency is already so underfunded that it would take its inspectors nearly a century, on average, to visit every U.S. workplace at least once. In some states, it would take two centuries. Unfortunately, appropriations bills now making their way through Congress don’t bode much better for OSHA.

Superstorm Sandy came ashore nearly three years ago, pummeling the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast and becoming one of the deadliest and costliest storms to ever hit the U.S. This week, the Sandy Child and Family Health Study released two new reports finding that the health impacts of Sandy continue to linger, illustrating the deep mental footprint left by catastrophic disasters and the challenges of long-term recovery.

Recycling our garbage is good for the planet, but a new report finds that the workers who process our recyclable materials often face dangerous and unnecessary conditions that put their health and safety at serious risk.

Even though farmworkers face serious hazards on the job and work in one of the most dangerous industries in the country, most young farmworkers in a recent study rated their work safety climate as “poor.” In fact, more than a third of those surveyed said their managers were only interested in getting the job done as quickly as possible.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Historic agreement reached between farmworkers and agribusiness in Baja California; New York fast food workers testify in support of higher wages; Cal-OSHA to strengthen its heat exposure oversight; and labor advocates say an upcoming visit from Pope Francis could be a boost for workers.

The science on the health effects of fracking is still very much emerging. Oftentimes, the growing body of research can’t make a conclusive link between the drilling technique and negative health impacts, but it certainly makes the case that more research is needed. Earlier this month, another study joined the pack.

Factory farms, manure, and the Empire State Building

Food & Water Watch released “Factory Farm Nation,” a report this week on the dominance of industrial beef, pork, chicken, dairy, and egg production in the US. Besides overuse of antibiotics, foodborne disease, water and air pollution, and loss of local independent farms, the mountains of manure are monstrous and largely unregulated.

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.