June 22, 2018
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.
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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
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|Top Stories||Back to Top|
OSU Wristbands Reveal Toxins in Houston Area
When Hurricane Harvey swept through the Houston area, it caused devastating floods. Many residents worried those floodwaters had swept toxic chemicals into their neighborhoods. In the weeks following the hurricane, scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) passed out hundreds of special chemical absorbing wristbands to Houston residents. Participants wore the wristbands for one week. The findings revealed the residents were being exposed to an unusually high number of chemicals.
KGW8 [Author: Keely Chalmers]
Nuclear Contamination Found on Worker at New Mexico Weapons Lab
Reports from an independent safety panel show radioactive contamination was found on a worker’s hands and other places at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, the latest safety lapse at the facility as it ramps up work with nuclear material. All pipefitting work was paused after a crew had to be stripped and decontaminated on May 16 because of the discovery at LANL, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, according to weekly briefings from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
Study: Radioactive Dust Found in Homes of Six Hanford Workers
Dust samples from the homes of six Hanford nuclear-site workers in the Tri-City area contained traces of radioactive contamination, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science. The levels are low, but if some microparticles are inhaled or ingested by the workers or their families, the radioactive dust is a “potential source of internal radiation exposure,” writes Marco Kaltofen, a civil engineer.
The Seattle Times [Author: Hal Bernton]
Journal of Environmental Engineering Science [Author: Kaltofen Marco]
WSU Publishes History of DOE's Low Dose Radiation Research
The history of low dose radiation is explored in a new book written by Antone Brooks, research professor emeritus at Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities. Low Dose Radiation tells the story of the Department of Energy (DOE) program’s development, the scientists who made it viable, and the fundamental results, highlighting lessons learned—including how that knowledge might be useful in case of a nuclear event. The book describes the impact on current thinking, summarizing the data and providing a scientific basis for setting radiation standards.
The Next Plague Is Coming. Is America Ready?
On average, in one corner of the world or another, a new infectious disease has emerged every year for the past 30 years: MERS, Nipah, Hendra, and many more. Researchers estimate that birds and mammals harbor anywhere from 631,000 to 827,000 unknown viruses that could potentially leap into humans. Valiant efforts are under way to identify them all, and scan for them in places like poultry farms and bushmeat markets, where animals and people are most likely to encounter each other. Still, we likely won’t ever be able to predict which will spill over next; even long-known viruses like Zika, can suddenly develop into unforeseen epidemics.
The Atlantic [Author: Ed Yong]
As Suspected Ebola Cases Probed, New Treatment Shows Promise
In the latest Ebola developments, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health ministry reported one more suspected infection, as tests ruled out three earlier cases, and researchers reported results from the first human trial of a monoclonal antibody cocktail that has been cleared for compassionate use in the country's outbreak. In an encouraging sign, the DRC hasn't reported a confirmed Ebola case since June 2, 2018, but intensive efforts are under way in affected areas to monitor contacts and identify suspected cases.
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy [Author: Lisa Schnirring]
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
Webinar: Safe + Sound Week 2018: Are You Ready to Show Your Commitment to Safety?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is hosting an informational webinar on Safe + Sound Week, a nationwide event to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces. This webinar will help viewers understand what Safe + Sound Week is, the tools and resources available, and how to participate. The webinar will be held on June 26, 2018, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET.
Webinar Series: Civil Rights in Federally Assisted Disaster Preparedness and Recovery
This Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) webinar will focus specifically on civil rights compliance in the preparation and recovery phase of emergencies and disasters. Addressing the needs of the whole community means consideration of diverse populations (e.g. limited English proficient individuals, individuals with disabilities, the elderly, public-transit dependent etc.) in every phase of emergency management. The goal is to share vital information on what the law requires and offer promising practices to support not just compliance with the law, but to ensure the protection of first responders and communities affected by disasters. The webinar will be held on June 27, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
CERC Webinar: Messages and Audiences
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) webinar on Messages and Audiences provides guidance on how to understand your audience(s) in an emergency, adapt messaging to reach and promote action in different audience segments, and how to use facts to build credibility and trust. Participants will be able to learn how to better understand their audience relative to the emergency and describe how to make facts work in their message. The webinar will be held on July 11, 2018 from 2:00-3:00 pm ET.
Healthcare Challenges After Radiological Incidents
Many resources are available for healthcare, public health, and emergency management professionals planning for a potential large-scale radiological release or nuclear detonation incident, but planning is difficult and few jurisdictions have detailed plans. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) is hosting a webinar with panelists to discuss the impact and potential solutions of different event types and provide guidance and lessons learned related to casualties of radiological and nuclear emergencies. The webinar will take place July 11, 2018 from 2:00-3:15 p.m. ET.
SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) that propose to further the development of Advanced Technology Training (ATT) products for: the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers; waste treatment personnel; skilled support personnel associated with an emergency/disaster; emergency responders in biosafety response, infectious disease training and cleanup; emergency responders in disasters and resiliency training; and ATT tools to assist in research into the acute and long-term health effects of environmental disasters. Applications are due on July 31, 2018, by 5:00 pm ET.
Registration for 2018 National Cleanup Workshop Now Open
Join senior executives and site officials, industry leaders, national and local elected officials, and other stakeholders for the fourth annual National Cleanup Workshop (NCW2018) to discuss the Department of Energy's (DOE) progress on the cleanup of the environmental legacy of the nation's Manhattan Project and Cold War nuclear weapons program. NCW2018 is hosted by the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) with the cooperation of the Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG) and the DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM). The workshop will take place September 11 – 13, 2018, in Alexandria, VA.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
States’ Natural Disaster Spending Largely Unknown
Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more expensive, a trend that is likely to continue. But states – which bear a good portion of the burden of preparing for and recovering from such events, aren't even sure how much they're dedicating to the problem, a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds.
U.S. News & World Report [Author: Susan Milligan]
Partnership for Disaster Health Response Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunity Announcement
The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has announced a funding opportunity for a demonstration project for a regional disaster health response system (RDHRS), called Partnership for Disaster Health Response Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunity Announcement. The demonstration uses FY18 Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) funding that seeks to "address healthcare preparedness challenges, establish best practices for improving disaster readiness across the healthcare delivery system, and show the potential effectiveness and viability of a RDHRS."
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
NIH Releases Strategic Plan for Data Science
The NIH released its first ever Strategic Plan for Data Science to capitalize on the opportunities presented by advances in data science. The plan describes NIH’s overarching goals, strategic objectives, and implementation tactics for promoting the modernization of the NIH-funded biomedical data science ecosystem. Over the course of the next year, NIH will begin implementing its strategy with some elements of the plan already underway. During the implementation phase, NIH will continue to seek community input.
EPA Releases Guidance to Assist Companies, Increase Transparency, and Improve New Chemicals Review Under TSCA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidance to improve transparency with the public and with companies seeking Agency review of their new chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The guidance, titled “Points to Consider When Preparing TSCA New Chemical Notifications,” promotes early engagement and communication, and enhances overall understanding of EPA’s technical review and analysis to better move chemicals through the evaluation process.
The EPA 2018 BUILD Act Comment Solicitation
The Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act reauthorized the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program and made amendments to the 2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. Authorized changes affect brownfields grants, ownership and liability provisions, and state and tribal response programs. As part of this process to develop policy guidance, EPA is soliciting comment on three provisions in the BUILD Act: 1) the authority to increase the per-site cleanup grant amounts to $500,000; 2) the new multi-purpose grant authority; and 3) the new small community assistance grant authority.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning||Back to Top|
Empowering Workers and Fenceline Communities Facing Hazardous Exposures
Linda Delp, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to improving worker health and safety and protecting communities from hazardous exposures. For more than 20 years, she has led the development of health and safety education and research programs for workers in a range of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and goods movement. She directs the University of California at Los Angeles Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (UCLA-LOSH), and serves as principal investigator of the Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC), which is funded by the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP).
CPWR Webinar: The Construction Chart Book
CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training has published the sixth edition of The Construction Chart Book - The U.S. Construction Industry and Its Workers. This new edition continues to present the most complete data available on all facets of the U.S. construction industry: economic, demographic, employment/income, education/training, and safety and health issues. This edition not only offers on-demand access to the charts and data, but also includes interactive features that enhance the user's experience. In an upcoming 30-minute webinar, CPWR's Data Center staff will review selected findings and data sources included in The Chart Book, along with tips on how to access and use the information. Webinar takes place on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, at 2:00 p.m.
|Job Openings||Back to Top|
WJCNY Seeks Executive Director
The Worker Justice Center of New York (WJCNY) seeks a visionary, passionate, and principled Executive Director committed to advancing the rights of farmworkers and other low-wage workers in New York State. WJCNY’s new Executive Director will have the opportunity to guide the organization’s strategic development in the context of significant recent growth.
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