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Occupational Health News Roundup

Restaurant workers in California experience severe injuries and disability; OSHA pushes back against a judge’s ruling in poultry plant inspection case; Gov. Chris Christie vetoes a $15 minimum wage bill; and the women making Nike products in Vietnam often earn poverty wages and face grueling production expectations.

Two decades ago, President Bill Clinton signed the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” (PRWORA) and heralded the end of “welfare as we know it.” The law lived up to that promise, but the outcomes for families who depend on it have been problematic.

The verdict on whether electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes is still very much out. However, a recent study found e-cigarette emissions contain a variety of concerning chemicals, including some considered to be probable carcinogens.

EEOC sues poultry company for “screening out” injured workers

The EEOC alleges in a lawsuit against Wayne Farms, a poultry-processing company, that its attendance policy results in injured workers being fired. That’s a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On the question of whether a soda tax can actually reduce the amount of sugary drinks people consume, a new study finds the resounding answer is “yes.”

The newly passed Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect those most vulnerable to chemical exposures. Exactly who it will protect and how the EPA will interpret this requirement remains to be seen.

Recent pieces address Congress’s failure to address Zika (by a pregnant Miami reporter), political parties’ different approaches to public health, pregnancy-related deaths in Texas, and more.

Not an “accident”: Rick Simer, 64, suffers fatal work-related injury in Denver, CO

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on Tuesday, August 9, in Denver, CO

While the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act for the 21st Century was signed into law with considerable fanfare, the job of improving U.S. chemicals policy in is far from complete. During two EPA stakeholder meetings this month, we heard a familiar script fom the chemical industry.

A closer look at the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that injury and illness stats for California show the state has worse, not better, rates of worker injuries and illnesses than national levels or the performance of other major industrial states. The “but we have better stats” response from state officials cannot be used to justify the failure of the Department of Industrial Relations and Cal/OSHA to fill 38 vacant field compliance officer positions that have been fully funded since July 2015.