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Reporters investigate the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Texas; a new poll finds widespread support for “family friendly” workplace policies, including paid sick days and paid family leave; and large-scale hog operations raise environmental concerns in Iowa.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Poultry workers travel to Washington, DC to ask the Obama administration to rescind a proposed rule that would allow for faster processing-line speeds; a camera assistant is killed during a railway film shoot; and a Tennessee lawmaker has introduced bills to improve worker health safety in that state.

Collaboration between primary care providers and public health departments is a powerful strategy for addressing the growing health toll of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. A new Practical Playbook offers resources for practitioners — including success stories from many communities where primary care-public health partnerships are paying off.

By Jonathan Heller. Author Nicholas Freudenberg advocates that we “return to the public sector the right to set health policy and to limit corporations’ freedom to profit at the expense of public health.” We should also think specifically about obligations corporations have to their workers, at a time when the minimum wage is inadequate, wage theft is common among low-wage workers, and millions of US workers lack paid sick time.

“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.”

It’s probably no surprise that people who experienced foreclosures during the Great Recession may have also experienced symptoms of depression. However, researchers have found that the mental health effects of foreclosure go beyond the individual to the community at-large.

Poultry workers appeal to White House, USDA must abandon new poultry slaughter rule

The Obama Administration still has time to abandon its ill-conceived new regulation on poultry inspection. We’ll see if the Administration decides to treat poultry workers better than the firms that employ them.

A new report from Save the Children calculates that improving the distribution of skilled birth attendants worldwide could prevent nearly one million newborn deaths each year.

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?

Industry has abandoned the dangerous practice; let’s seal the deal with an OSHA regulation

OSHA says that the power-generation industry has abandoned a deadly practice that led to the February 2010 death of six Connecticut workers. It’s not a heavy lift for OSHA to prohibit the practice once and for all.