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August 24, 2009
As evidence about the health risks associated with smoking accumulated, the tobacco industry responded by funding its own research, which concluded that cigarettes aren't so bad after all. They recruited spokespeople who'd proclaim tobacco's safety without revealing that they were being paid…
August 21, 2009
by Richard Denison, PhD  cross-posted from blogs.edf In June, EPA published a Federal Register notice that included Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) for two carbon nanotubes (as well as 21 other chemicals).  That notice certainly got the attention of lawyers in town (see here, here and here). …
August 21, 2009
Three physicians and researchers from the Capital University of Medical Sciences (Beijing, China) have published a case report in the European Respiratory Journal describing severe lung disease in seven female workers employed at a shop where they applied polyacrylic coatings to polystyrene…
August 20, 2009
An Institute of Medicine task force responsible for recommending protections for healthcare workers from the swine flu/H1N1 virus held a meeting last week, and CIDRAP reporters were there. Robert Roos reports that the first day focused on the efficacy of surgical masks and N95 respirators in…
August 19, 2009
Our colleague Mark Catlin (SEIU and APHA OHS Section) has done it again, finding another amazing collection of historical films with worker safety themes.  The latest were produced by the U.S. Federal Security Agency's Office of Education in 1944, entitled "Problems in Supervision: Instructing…
August 18, 2009
Last year, FDA disappointed us by insisting that there was no cause for concern about the presence of the chemical bisphenol A in food and beverage containers. An expert panel charged with evaluating the FDAâs draft assessment strongly criticized the agency for its severely limited exposure…
August 14, 2009
The Washington Postâs Sholnn Freeman, noting that the last six fatal airplane accidents in the US involved regional airlines, investigated the conditions of regional air crewmembers and found that they struggle to get adequate sleep near the airports from which they fly: At first sight, the…
August 13, 2009
For a lot of us, summer means sitting in air-conditioned offices and complaining to our co-workers about how hot it is outside. For farmworkers, summers mean hours of toil under a hot sun, in conditions that can be fatal. Working in the heat doesnât have to mean death, as long as workers can rest…
August 12, 2009
I'm reading a wonderful collection of public health success stories, in the collection assembled by John W. Ward and Christian Warren entitled "Silent Victories: The History and Practice of Public Health in 20th Century America"  (Oxford, 2007.)  Our colleagues Tony Robbins and Phil Landrigan…
August 12, 2009
In May, the Government Accountability Office issued a critical report assessing OSHA's program for monitoring its designated Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) sites.  There are about 2,200 of these VPP site across the country which have met the written program and on-site evaluation…
August 11, 2009
In a national survey by the Emergency Nurses Association, more than half of emergency-department nurses reported that theyâve been physically assaulted on the job. For many nurses, being assaulted is a recurring problem: Approximately one-fourth of the 3,465 respondents reported experiencing…
August 10, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure Things have been quiet at CDC but apparently they have been changing. First, Dr. Richard Besser, who acquitted himself ably as Acting Director after January 20 until early June when Obama's new appointment, Dr. Thomas Frieden took over, has decided to…
August 10, 2009
In the U.S. Senate last week, between the debate and the vote on judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced  S. 1580, on behalf of Senator Edward Kennedy, a bill to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  As far as…
August 7, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure We've been rather kind to Senator Charles (Chuck) Grassley in the past. Yes, he's a right wing Republican with some really odious ideas, ideas for which he deserves to be criticized. But he's also been a champion of the Federal False Claims Act which has…
August 6, 2009
Today's New York Times editorials include a ringing endorsement of President Obama's choice of David Michaels to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: David Michaels, a research professor and occupational health expert at the George Washington University School of Public Health,…
August 5, 2009
Exactly 2-years after the disaster, the five-member U.S. Chemical Safety Board voted unanimously to adopt its final investigation report on the March 2005 catatrophic explosion at the BP Texas City.  Fifteen workers were killed and 180 others were injured from the blast.  Among the many…
August 5, 2009
More than 1,200 employees at an acrylic yarn factory in Jilin City, China have reported having troubling symptoms â a list that includes nausea, dizziness, numbness, convulsions, breathing difficulties, and temporary paralysis. Workers suspect fumes from a nearby chemical factory of causing their…
August 4, 2009
by Richard Denison, cross-posted from EDF Blogs Today, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) unveiled its "10 Principles for Modernizing TSCA."   Also today, the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition - of which EDF is a member - issued a news release and unveiled its 9-point "Platform for…
August 4, 2009
I'm not one to keep good news under a bushel basket, but in deference to my perception of some Labor Department protocol, I kept waiting for an official announcement.   But, the news is too good to wait any longer:  Secretary Solis has appointed Gregory R. Wagner, MD as the senior official at…
August 3, 2009
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will tour the Federal No. 2 mine on Tuesday, Aug 4, one of a couple dozen mines operated by Patriot Coal.  DOL's press announcement said she'd be joined by officials from MSHA, the UMWA, WV Governor Joe Manchin and Congressman Alan B. Mollohan.  The event includes…
August 3, 2009
This morning, I read MSHA's fatality report for the April 7 electrocution death of Tadd M. Bainum, 36.  Mr. Bainum was a supervisor, and was doing electrical-related work, but had NOT received appropriate training in electrical tasks.  MSHA's investigators noted: "Failure to train [him] in…
August 3, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure There's a swine flu pandemic well underway and efforts are being made to reconstruct how it started. But almost everyone who has been following this knows it's not the first time a swine flu virus has transmitted from person to person. In 1976 in Fort…
July 31, 2009
It's long past time to breathe some fresh air into the Department of Labor's Solicitor's Office (SOL).  I was hopeful when President Obama nominated M. Patricia Smith in April to serve as the Solicitor of Labor, but since her May 7 confirmation hearing, her appointment is languishing in the…
July 31, 2009
by Sidney Shapiro, cross-posted from CPR Blog On Tuesday, the White House announced the appointment of Dr. David Michaels to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  An epidemiologist and a professor at George Washington Universityâs School of Public Health and Health…
July 30, 2009
TIMEâs Laura Blue notes that the U.S. has an appalling rate of preterm births (we were ranked 30th in the world in 2005, behind Cuba and Poland) and that prematurity costs us around $26 billion a year â but, she tells us, researchers donât know why we have this problem. In many cases, thereâs an…
July 28, 2009
President Obama has just announced his intent to nominate our own David Michaels to be Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Congratulations, David! All of us at George Washington University and The Pump Handle will miss working with you, but our loss is the…
July 28, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure CDC wants us to get vaccinated for flu every year. Always for seasonal flu, and this year, if there is a vaccine available, for swine flu. They want us to get vaccinated because they think the vaccine works and they want to prevent people from getting…
July 27, 2009
by revere, cross-posted from Effect Measure CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently rolled out their 2009 Recommendations. It's for seasonal flu, for which a vaccine exists, not for swine flu, for which there is (as yet) no vaccine. There is a lot to say on the subject of…
July 24, 2009
Evidence continues to accumulate that talking on the phone while driving â even with a hands-free device â increases the risk of car crashes. We learned earlier this week that officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been concerned about this problem for years, but…
July 23, 2009
by Garrett Brown On June 5th, 200 babies and small children were dropped off at a private, government-subsidized day care center in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora state in northern Mexico.  A fire broke out next door and soon smoke and fire filled the day care center killing 48 babies and…