Environmental Health

Category archives for Environmental Health

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.

Occupational Health News Roundup

The importance of protecting vulnerable workers in efforts to combat climate change; Dallas officials vote for mandatory rest breaks; University of Chicago’s nontenured instructors vote to form a union; and Cal/OSHA launches investigation into porn production company.

Public health researchers, activists gather for 143rd annual meeting: Highlights from Day 2

As “the water cooler for the public health crowd,” The Pump Handle is in Chicago reporting from the 143rd annual meeting of the American Public Health Association. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s events, including new policy statements adopted by the Association.

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?

Volkswagen’s deceit: public health and my neighbor’s dilemma

My neighbor shares her thoughts about being part of VW’s “clean diesel” charade, while a reporter estimates the premature deaths associated with the corporation’s fraud.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it one of five neglected parasitic infections in need of targeted public health action. And while it’s still considered rare in the U.S., it seems residents of Texas may be at greater risk than scientists previously thought.

For years, scientists have described climate change as a slowly emerging public health crisis. But for many, it’s difficult to imagine how a complex planetary phenomenon can impact personal well-being beyond the obvious effects of natural disasters, which climatologists say will happen more frequently and intensely as the world warms. That disconnect is what piqued my interest in a new study on old infrastructure, heavy rainfalls and spikes in human illness.

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.