Toxics

Category archives for Toxics

Revolving door from chemical industry to EPA: No way to boost public confidence

A chemical industry representative said transparency will boost public confidence in the EPA’s chemical safety program. Trump has now appointed her to that office. How transparent will she be?

Formaldehyde, scientists, and politics

A commentary by CUNY School of Public Health professor Franklin Mirer describes the ongoing interference by Congress on the science behind the designation of formaldehyde as a carcinogen. His commentary, “What’s Science Got to Do with It?” is timed perfectly for this weekend’s Marches for Science.

Bill Maher’s smackdown of Trump on asbestos

While individuals were attending an international asbestos-disease awareness conference last weekend, HBO comedian Bill Maher was skewering Republicans for their defense of asbestos.

Midnight 28 years ago: Exxon Valdez ran aground, 11 million gallons crude oil released

28 years ago today, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground off the coast of Alaska and released 11 million gallons of crude oil.

Occupational Health News Roundup

California farmworkers living in fear of deportation; Ontario health care workers call on officials to address violence in the workplace; West Virginia legislators consider dramatic loosening of mine safety standards; and thousands of workers get ready to strike on May 1.

Last month, California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) proposed revised and stronger regulations for oil refineries in the state after a 4½-year joint campaign by labor unions, environmental and community organizations.  The successful strategic coalition is a powerful example of how health and safety regulations can be improved despite an industry’s wealth, power and political influence.

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report finding 457 fracking-related spills in eight states between 2006 and 2012. Last month, a new study tallied more than 6,600 fracking spills in just four states between 2005 and 2014. But, as usual, the numbers only tell part of the story.

Earlier this month, news broke of a study that found potentially health-harming chemicals in a variety of fast food packaging. Upon hearing such news, the natural inclination is to worry that you’re ingesting those chemicals along with your burger and fries. Study researcher Graham Peaslee says that’s certainly a risk. But perhaps the greater risk, he says, happens after that hamburger wrapper ends up in landfill and the chemicals seep into our environment and water.

A just published book – Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an America City – describes how a decade of local organizing and year-round campaigning has resulted in impressive local victories in a Black, white and Asian town dominated by Chevron corporation.  Richmond, California, has set an example and registered successes by local left wing campaigners that contain important and hopeful lessons about uniting allies and successfully defending health, safety and democratic rights.

A union’s persistence results in new OSHA rule for workers exposed to beryllium

For four decades the United Steelworkers had their sight focused on an OSHA rule to protect workers who are exposed to beryllium. The metal can cause a horrible respiratory illness and is a carcinogen. Last week, the union’s persistence paid off.