environmental health

Tag archives for environmental health

Crystalline silica, hydrofluoric acid and formaldehyde. Those are just three of the dozens of air toxic chemicals that oil companies have used thousands of times in southern California in just the past year.

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.

Building safe ways for children to bike and walk to school is more than just a way of encouraging kids to go outside and get active. According to a new study, it’s also an investment that reaps millions of dollars in societal gains. In other words, smart walking and biking infrastructures for kids make good economic sense.

Childhood lead poisoning is one of those health risks that everyone has likely heard about, but many probably think it’s a problem of the past. However, a recent study reminds us that in just one state — Michigan — the effects of childhood lead poisoning cost about $330 million every year. And that’s a conservative estimate.

Following the deadly April 17, 2013 explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant – and a series of other catastrophic incidents involving hazardous materials – President Obama directed federal agencies to improve chemical facility security and safety. Their report makes recommendations but does not mandate any immediate action. Meanwhile, dangerous chemical releases occur at workplaces around the US almost daily.

Where you live may be hazardous to your health. This is the conclusion of several new reports including one by the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Reform that shows who lives in US communities most vulnerable to hazardous chemical exposures and the CDC’s latest examination of health disparities.

The Huffington Post investigates how the mining industry cheats worker safety; Seattle set to raise minimum wage to $15; and the death of a hummus plant worker could have been prevented with better safety practices.

A investigative Houston Chronicle piece exposes the dangers of the tank cleaning industry; North Carolina lawmakers back fracking secrecy with jail time; and Wal-Mart contractor settles in wage theft case.

California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years but the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. This leaves California’s workforce – the largest of any US state – with the lowest number of inspectors per workers of any state with its own occupational safety and health plan for private-sector workers. California has so few workplace safety inspectors that it would take 173 years to inspect each workplace in the state just once.

In New York, construction is the deadliest industry, with immigrant workers experiencing half of all occupational-related fatalities. In Massachusetts in 2013, it’s estimated that upward of 500 workers died from occupational disease, at least 1,800 were diagnosed with cancers associated with workplace exposures and 50,000 workers experienced serious injury. In Wyoming, workplace deaths climbed to a five-year high in 2012.