Environmental Health

Category archives for Environmental Health

Pictures say a thousand words: OSHA Silica Hearings week #3

OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed regulation on respirable crystalline silica concluded last week. Some of the final witnesses included the American Petroleum Institute and the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund.

This year’s County Health Rankings once again illustrate why geography and good health go hand-in-hand. They’re also a poignant reminder that there may be no better way to improve health for all than by focusing on the social determinants of health.

Thanks to a unanimous vote of California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board last Thursday, workers get to hold on to a robust chemical right-to-know rule that puts their health and safety first. The vote also means that California workers will reap the benefits of more meaningful right-to-know rules than those at the federal level.

Recent US events have highlighted how the use of coal for energy can endanger the health of our rivers.

While the Senate is pressing the EPA to prevent future chemical disasters, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would, if enacted, make it harder for the public to obtain information about chemical hazards, either in industrial storage tanks or consumer products. While state and local governments – and many manufacturers – are responding to growing public is demand for safer chemicals and more information about chemicals used in products – industry trade associations are promoting legislation that appears to counter that progress.

Daylight saving time and public health consequences

Daylight saving time policies data back more than 100 years. What do we know about their effect on health?

“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”

More than a month after the Freedom Industries chemical spill in West Virginia, it remains unclear if Charleston’s water is truly safe to drink and what the health consequences of exposure to these chemicals may be. Legislation has been introduced that calls for more inspections, better tank construction, overflow containment and emergency response. But why not go beyond and also call for safer chemistry?

The quality of public housing is a key determinant of health among low-income populations, but much of the public housing in the United States is in disrepair – unhealthy, unsafe, even uninhabitable. A health impact assessment of San Francisco’s Rental Assistance Demonstration project highlights some of the considerations for local governments working to assure safe, well-maintained housing for their most vulnerable residents.

Most people infected with mosquito-borne West Nile virus don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, the tiny percentage of cases that do end up in the hospital total hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.