Uncategorized

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For eight years, Dora worked at a frozen pizza factory in Romeoville, Illinois, called Great Kitchens. For eight hours a day — sometimes seven days a week — she assembled pizza boxes or arranged cheese and other toppings on pizzas. The consequences of years of such repetitive work surfaced in October 2012, when her hands would go numb and a painful cyst formed on her left wrist. She told her supervisor about the problem, but he said he couldn’t do anything about it — Dora was a temporary worker hired through a staffing agency and so Great Kitchens wasn’t responsible for addressing her injury.

Occupational Health News Roundup

In-depth series investigates worker misclassification; NIOSH observes N95 Day; fast food workers take to the streets; and California moves toward paid sick leave law.

What do these places have in common: Camp Lejeune in North Carolina; Mountain View, California, where Google headquarters are located; Endicott, NY – the birthplace of IBM; and 389 Superfund sites in at least 48 states plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands? All are contaminated by trichloroethylene (TCE), a carcinogenic solvent. TCE’s health hazards are well-documented. So why are Republicans rushing to condemn EPA’s just-completed TCE risk assessment?

When a widely used chemical is identified as an environmental health hazard and targeted for phase-out and elimination, among the most challenging questions for those involved with making such a chemical are: What to use instead? and Will the replacement be safe? The US Environmental Protection Agency’s report identifying alternatives to the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) illustrates how difficult those questions can be to answer.

Today is Workers Memorial Day. This post discusses one of the thousands of occupational fatalities that occur every year around the world. – On Sunday, April 20th, Shayne Daye, a 27-year old electrician and technician, died as a result of an injury sustained while working at Suncor’s Oil Sands site about 15 miles north of Fort McMurray, Alberta in western Canada. Daye’s death is Suncor Oil Sands’ second workplace fatality of 2014. A look at the industry’s record in Alberta suggests an alarming rate of occupational fatalities.

Foundations, hospitals, and government agencies work to reduce Detroit’s infant mortality rate, which is the worst among large US cities; newly insured residents of Breathitt County, Kentucky head to doctors to treat long-standing health problems; and an addiction researcher discusses why overdosing is the leading cause of accidental US deaths — and what we can do about it.

“Millions of Americans use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products. Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” wrote the US Food and Drug Administration…

As Americans prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday and the White House gets ready for President Obama to pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a Rose Garden ceremony on Wednesday November 27 that will “reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving,” let us take a moment to reflect upon the welfare of the men and women…

According to a new report from the Center for Effective Government, American workplace health and safety is suffering from – and as a result of – a serious lack of resources. While the number of US workplaces doubled between 1981 and 2011 and the number of US workers increased from 73 million to 129 million…

Nearly 50 billion pounds of chicken (about eight billion chickens’ worth, or 37 billion pounds of poultry products) were processed in the United States in 2012 by about half a million workers, many of whom handle more than 100 birds per minute. This labor involves standing in chilled processing plant facilities, cutting, gutting, scalding, defeathering…