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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Weekly E-Newsbrief, February 8, 2013

Weekly E-Newsbrief

February 8, 2013

The E-Newsbrief of the National Clearinghouse is a free weekly newsletter focusing on new developments in the world of worker health and safety. Each issue provides summaries of the latest worker health and safety news from newspapers, magazines, journals, government reports, and the Web, along with links to the original documents. Also featured each week are updates from government agencies that handle hazmat and worker safety issues such as DOE, EPA, OSHA and others.

Subscribing to the National Clearinghouse Newsbrief is the best way to stay on top of the worker health and safety news.

Top StoriesBack to Top

Tsunami Debris on Alaska's Shores Like 'Standing in Landfill.'

Refrigerators, foam buoys and even ketchup bottles are piling up on Alaska's beaches. Almost two years after the devastating Japanese tsunami, its debris and rubbish are fouling the coastlines of many states, especially in Alaska.

National Public Radio   [Author: Annie Feidt]

Colorado Communities Take On Fight Against Energy Land Leases

For a glimpse into the complications of President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy, follow a curling mountain road through the aspens and into central Colorado’s North Fork Valley, where billboards promote “gently grown” fruits and farmers sell fresh milk and raw honey from pay-what-you-can donation boxes.

New York Times   [Author: Jack Healy]

Energy Industry Develops Nontoxic Fracking Fluids

The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic fluids for the drilling process known as fracking, but it's not clear whether the new product will be widely embraced by drilling companies.

Associated Press   [Author: Kevin Begos]

Silica Rule Changes Delayed While Workers Face Health Risks

One of the oldest known workplace dangers is breathing in tiny bits of silica, which is basically sand. The legal limit on how much silica workers can inhale was set decades ago. Workplace safety experts say that limit needs to be cut in half — because otherwise, workers face an increased risk of lung cancer, silicosis and other diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent a proposal for new silica rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The proposal was supposed to get a 90-day review. But almost two years later, it's still under review. Unions are gathering signatures for a petition to force the White House to respond to concerns about the delay.

National Public Radio   [Author: Nell Greenfieldboyce] Petition  

A Living, Lurking Threat in Sandy-hit Homes: Mold

Three months after Superstorm Sandy, mold lurks in once-waterlogged buildings, hiding below subflooring, under foundations, and in door and window frames.   [Eileen Connelly & Katie Zezima]

Arctic Nations' Oil Spill Plans Too Vague

Arctic nations' plans to start cooperating over oil spills are vague and fail to define companies' liability for any accidents in an icy region opening up due to global warming. It does not say what that means in terms of staff, ships, clean-up equipment or corporate liability in a remote region that the U.S. Geological Survey estimates has 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered gas.

Reuters   [Author: Alister Doyle]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

CLU-IN Sessions---FY13 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant

Mark your calendars and let your prospective applicants know that two FY13 CLU-INs will be held on February 28th and March 7th from 3:00-5:00 eastern time. The call-in number is (866) 299-3188 and the conference code is 2025662772#. The CLU-IN will provide prospective applicants an overview of the FY13 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant Application Guidelines/Request for Proposals, including an overview of threshold and ranking criteria, eligible vs. ineligible uses of funds, proposal formatting requirements, and an opportunity for prospective applicants to ask questions.

Grant Information  

NPETE Ready for Disaster Webinar

The Community College Citizen Preparedness Program (3CP2) will host a 50-minute “Ready for Disaster” Webinar, February 21, 2013, 2pm ET, to encourage community college participation in the Homeland Security-funded 3CP2. The Webinar is intended for campus administrators and those responsible for emergency planning and preparedness for all members of the college community. Participants will receive access to the federally-approved course at no cost.


OSHA Sets Meeting on NRTL Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it will hold a three-hour stakeholder meeting about its Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program on March 6 in Washington, D.C. NRTLs are independent laboratories important to end users. OSHA's safety standards requires that they test and certify 38 types of products as safe for occupational use.

Occupational Health and Safety  

EPA Announces Call for Presentations for 2013 EPA Community Involvement Training Conference

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the call for presentations and training proposals for the 2013 EPA Community Involvement Training Conference which will be held July 30 - August 1, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Call for Proposals Application deadline is February 22, 2013. The conference seeks to both inform and train EPA staff as well as Agency stakeholders and partners in best practices to enhance community involvement. The three-day conference features, plenary sessions with guest speakers topical discussions, multiple 90-minute information sessions, and dozens of engaging and interactive training sessions.

Environmental Protection Agency  

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On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Labor Unions Push White House on Stalled Worker Safety Rule

Labor unions and safety advocates are applying new pressure on the Obama administration to issue a long-sought worker protection rule that industry groups say will cost billions of dollars to implement. Decades in the making, the proposal to set new limits on workers’ exposure to harmful silica has languished since February 2011 at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where officials say it is under review. Unions are gathering signatures for a petition to force the White House to respond to concerns about the delay.

The   [Author: Ben Goad] Petition  

Student Contest Takes Aim at Workplace Safety & Employee Rights

The contest challenges students to develop an original video that can be used in social media to illustrate either the importance of working safely on the job or the right to be paid fairly. The contest will run until April 5, 2013 at which time all video submissions will be judged by a review panel.

Sackville Tribune  

Joint Commission Publishes Patient and Worker Safety Monograph

The Joint Commission today released a free monograph, “Improving Patient and Worker Safety: Opportunities for Synergy, Collaboration and Innovation,” to draw attention to the need to create a culture that focuses on both the safety of patients and the healthcare workers who care for them.

Infection Control Today  

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

NIEHS Answers the Call in the Aftermath of Sandy

A special Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allocation is helping NIEHS expand safety training in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

NIEHS [Author: Eddy Ball]

OSHA Hazard Communication; Corrections and Technical Amendment

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is correcting its regulations that were amended by the Hazard Communication Standard final rule, published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2012. The majority of the corrections are to references inadvertently missed in the original publication of the final rule. Other corrections include correcting values or notations in tables, and updating references to terms.

Federal Register Notice  

Federal Register Summary  

New EPA Smart Growth Report Released

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a report called “Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development” that offers low-income, minority, tribal, and overburdened communities approaches to shape development that responds to their needs and reflects their values. The report provides a menu of land use and community design strategies community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, developers, and others can use to revitalize their communities.

Environmental Protection Agency  

EPA Updates Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large Facilities

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the second year of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions data on its website, which provides public access to emissions data by sector, by greenhouse gas, and by geographic region such as county or state.  

Methylene Chloride Exposure in Bathroom Refinishing Hazard Alert Issued by OSHA, NIOSH

Due to recent worker deaths, and workers deaths in the past decade The Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program issued a hazard alert for methylene chloride.The goal is for employers to provide safe workplaces and adhere to the methylene chloride and hazard communication standards.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration  

Methylene Chloride Standard  

Hazard Communication Standard  

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

CPWR Study: Wet Cutting of Concrete Reduces Respirable Silica by 85%

The latest Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) -supported examination of respirable silicia appears in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. Drs. Susan Shepherd and Susan Woskie, with assistance from the New England Laborers Training Center, performed an exhaustive series of tests of airborne silica exposures encountered by workers cutting reinforced concrete pipe with gas-powered portable concrete saws.

Center for Construction Research and Training  

NYCOSH Board Election Results

Board election results for New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health have been announced. A new chairperson and two vice-chairmen have been selected.

New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health  

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Sierra Club Seeks New Labor Program Director

Sierra Club is hiring a Labor Program Director to build and deepen the organization’s ties to the labor community. A dynamic leader is sought who can help expand the program, build a broader climate movement, and create a sustainable and equitable economy. This individual will work closely with senior staff to develop and execute an overarching strategy aimed at strengthening our relationships and campaigns with labor, as well as our work with individual unions. The Director will also be responsible for continuing the internal education of Sierra Club staff and volunteers around issues related to labor unions in general.

Application Information  

Clerical Assistant Position

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) has a two-year, part-time, 13-hours-a-week position immediately available for a person capable of performing primarily database entry and maintenance tasks. The position requires a background in working with databases coupled with general office skills.

New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health  

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