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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: April 5, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, April 5, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

April 5, 2019

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

Flooding Poses Potential Risk for 1 Million Private Wells

Major flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and several smaller waterways has inundated states in the middle of America, from the Canadian border south to Kentucky. More than 1 million private wells that supply drinking water in mostly rural parts of the Midwest could face the risk of contamination from floodwater, posing a health concern that could linger long after the flooding subsides.

Associated Press [Author: Jim Salter]

‘Generation-Long Epidemic’: Compensation Funds Running Out as 9/11-Related Illnesses Rise

In 2011, about 60,000 people were registered as having 9/11-related illnesses. By December 2018, that number was higher than 93,000, according to the World Trade Center Health Program. The September 11 Victim Compensation fund, set up by the U.S. government to provide financial aid for the sick and the families of those who have died from their illnesses, is running out of money faster than expected. In order to ration what's left, future payments are set to be cut by up to 70 percent — a decrease that could mean undue financial stress, in addition to life-changing health challenges, for people impacted by that day.

CBC News [Author: Ellen Mauro]

U.S. Investigators to Begin Hunt for Cause of Texas Petrochemical Disaster

U.S. investigators will enter the site of a massive fuel fire and chemical spill outside Houston to begin the hunt for a cause and determine whether the operator followed safety regulations. The blaze, at Mitsui & Co’s Intercontinental Terminals Co (ITC) storage facility in Deer Park, Texas, began March 17 and released toxic chemicals into the air and nearby waterways. Shipping along the largest oil port in the U.S. remained disrupted on Monday, as did operations at two nearby refineries.

Reuters [Authors: Collin Eaton and Erwin Seba]

Full Reopening of Houston Ship Channel Unclear After Fire

The U.S. Coast Guard says it is unclear when the Houston Ship Channel will fully reopen as crews continue cleaning up chemicals that seeped into one of America’s busiest shipping lanes following a fire at a petrochemical storage facility. Coast Guard Capt. Rich Howes said that cleanup crews are making headway and that more than 2.5 million gallons of an oily water mixture has been removed.

Cleveland Daily Banner [Author: Brett Coomer]

New Chemical Plant Fire Near Houston Kills 1 Person and Forces Lockdown

For the second time in three weeks, a Houston-area chemical plant has caught fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky. At least one person was killed Tuesday at the KMCO plant in Crosby, Texas, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. The KMCO plant is about 25 miles northeast of Deer Park, where an Intercontinental Terminals Co. facility caught fire and burned for several days last month.

CNN [Authors: Holly Yan and Rebekah Reiss]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

HUD Webinar: Lead Paint Safety Field Guide

Join the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in the upcoming lead paint safety webinar. This webinar will discuss important updates to HUD's Lead Paint Safety field guide. This guide was recently updated to include important safety and lead handling practices for painting, repairs, and home maintenance. The webinar will be held on April 1, 2019, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Lead Paint Safety Field Guide

Webinar: Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health

The first in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) webinar series, “Expanding Research Partnerships: Emerging Issues in Occupational Safety and Health,” this webinar will discuss the work of innovative and impactful intramural and extramural research partnerships. This upcoming webinar is on Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health and will delve into three topics from three experts in the field: human-robot collaborations, ergonomic benefits of robot collaborations, and the future of occupational robotics safety and health. The webinar will be held on April 10, 2019, at 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET.

Expanding Research Partnerships

Biodefense Summit: Implementation of the National Biodefense Strategy

The Biodefense Summit aims to engage the biodefense stakeholder community to inform national biodefense enterprise efforts to counter biological threats, reduce risk, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological incidents. The Summit, scheduled for April 17, 2019, will inform implementation of the National Biodefense Strategy.

Registration and Information

EPA Launches State EJ Training Webinar Series

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced training to build the capacity of states to integrate environmental justice into their decision-making process. EPA will conduct a national webinar series in collaboration with state partners. The first webinar “Identifying and Prioritizing Environmentally Impacted and Vulnerable Communities” will provide state management and staff with a basic overview of the factors, data sources, and tools to identify environmentally impacted and vulnerable communities. The webinar will be held on April 16, 2019, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Series News Release

Webinar Registration

Safety Fest TN 2019 Offers More Than 100 Free Safety Classes April 29-May 3

Safety Fest TN announces that registration is now open for Safety Fest TN 2019. The annual community event offers over 100 free safety classes, sessions, and demonstrations to residents and companies. The classes will provide valuable insight and safety training relevant to the region. In addition to safety classes, the Safety Expo will return with safety equipment and training exhibitors. Safety Fest TN will take place from April 29 to May 3, 2019.

Safety Fest TN

Safety Fest TN Registration

2019 National Health Security Award Application

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are pleased to announce the fourth annual National Health Security Award! This award recognizes local health departments that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in implementing health security-related initiatives within their jurisdictions. Applications are being accepted now through April 26, 2019.

2019 National Health Security Award Application

OSHA Public Whistleblower Stakeholder Meeting

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is holding a public meeting to solicit comments and suggestions from stakeholders on issues facing the agency in the administration of the whistleblower protection provisions under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The public meeting will be held on May 14, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., ET. Persons interested in attending the meeting must register by April 30, 2019.

OSHA Meeting Description

OSHA Meeting Registration

International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) Abstract Submission Now Open

Abstracts for the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC), scheduled for May 11 – 14, 2020 in New Orleans, LA are now open. IOSC 2020 brings together the broadest range of global oil spill response professionals to discuss the latest research, technology, and resources impacting our community today. Paper and poster presentations are the backbone of the IOSC’s technical program, contributing to the vast canon of oil pollution knowledge shared between government, industry, and academia.

Abstract Submission

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Face-to-face Workshops Increase Household Preparedness for Disaster

Face-to-face workshops based on the psychology of behavior change and disaster preparedness can be used to prompt households to take action to protect themselves against disasters such as earthquakes, fires, and floods, a new study has found. The study, published in Nature Human Behaviour, found that by engaging households in evidence-based, face-to-face workshops, researchers could engineer change in householders' natural disaster preparedness that would last long-term, potentially saving lives.

Summary []


Two of Wisconsin’s Most Polluted Sites on the Great Lakes Mark Cleanup Milestones

Wisconsin is seeing progress on efforts to clean up its five most polluted sites on the Great Lakes. An official with the state Department of Natural Resources said the Lower Menominee River that runs along the border of Wisconsin and Michigan is set to become the first site in the state to be delisted as one of the most contaminated areas on the Great Lakes. The river is one of five sites in Wisconsin that were listed as Areas of Concern (AOC), which the U.S. and Canada considered the most contaminated sites on the Great Lakes.

Wisconsin Public Radio [Author: Danielle Kaeding]

Women Exposed to BP Spill Have Higher Levels of Post-Traumatic Stress, Study Finds

Women who were exposed to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in mostly rural areas of seven southeastern Louisiana parishes continued to experience symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder three to four years after the accident at levels greater than the national average, according to a study led by researchers with Louisiana State University School of Public Health in New Orleans.

NOLA [Author: Mark Schleifstein]

Climate Change Could Expose 1 Billion More People to Bug-Borne Diseases, Study Says

About a billion more people might be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases as temperatures continue to rise with climate change, according to a new study. As the planet gets warmer, scientists say, diseases like Zika will continue spreading farther north. Europe will probably see some of the biggest increases, the researchers say. The United States, East Asia, high-elevation parts of Central America, East Africa, and Canada will also see large increases in risk for these diseases.

CNN [Author: Jen Christensen]

How Climate Change Is Affecting Resident’s Health in Miami

Residents and workers in Miami, Florida are feeling the effects of increasingly hot days firsthand. The heat itself is causing a range of health effects from a longer allergy season to air quality issues to mosquito-borne illnesses. The increasing heat poses more health concerns for the poor, uninsured, and homeless. Additionally, workers who spend their time outdoors must adapt to the changing temperature.

NPR [Author: Lulu Garcia-Navarro]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

CDC Seeks Input on Firefighter Registry

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is asking for input on how to encourage more than 1.1 million U.S. firefighters’ participation in a voluntary registry. The National Firefighter Registry will help researchers better understand why firefighters are at increased risk of certain types of cancer – including digestive, lung, throat, and urinary cancers. The NIOSH announcement appears in the Federal Register and interested stakeholders will have 60 days to offer comments. NIOSH anticipates that enrollment will likely begin in 2020 when the design and operation of the registry are established.


Federal Register Notice

Tribes Essential to Renewed Cleanup Focus, Assistant Secretary White Says at Summit

The Department of Energy’s Environmental Management (EM) Assistant Secretary Anne White emphasized the invaluable role of American Indian tribes in a renewed focus on completing cleanup across the DOE complex during a keynote address at this week’s Reservation Economic Summit 2019. White said leaders of tribes located near DOE sites help EM make decisions on cleanups that are protective of the environment and that benefit everyone. She described the diverse opportunities for EM and Indian Country to do much together.

DOE Office of Environmental Management

NIEHS Preps for Disaster, Health Research With Derailment Scenario

A workshop on a mock train derailment — with chemical releases into the community — brought together local, tribal, and international key experts to Tucson. The group gathered Feb. 28 — March 1 to explore health effects and medical treatment research in the disaster’s aftermath. The training workshop attracted approximately 135 first responders, health care providers, academic researchers, students, community members, and government representatives.

NIEHS [Author: Kelly Lenox]

A Culture of Safety, A Shared Responsibility

Creating a safe workplace requires the active participation of all employees performing acts large and small, from the careful handling of dangerous chemicals to picking up debris in a busy corridor. Nurturing such a culture of safety at NIEHS is one of the responsibilities of the Office of Management and its head, Executive Officer Chris Long. His passion for safety dates back to his days at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he oversaw the construction of a new campus.

NIEHS [Author: John Yewell]

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Mold and Health Classes Help Hurricane Florence Workers, Residents

In March, NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) grantee the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) delivered mold remediation training in Robeson County, North Carolina. The training built on a partnership between ICWUC and the Robeson County Disaster Recovery Committee (RCDRC) that was established as part of Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts in 2016. After Hurricane Florence struck in September 2018, record braking floods destroyed many homes and businesses, and months later residents still face extensive cleanup.

NIEHS [Authors: Kenda Freeman and Demia Wright]

Webinar: Flood-Damaged Homes: Approaches to Effective Decontamination, Cleaning and Drying

Hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this webinar will focus on safe and effective methods that homeowners can consider for remediating and restoring flood-damaged homes, with special emphasis on antimicrobial use—including gas/vapor phase biocides, hydroxyl-radicals and botanicals—as well as best practices for cleaning and drying materials and surfaces. Dr. Gene Cole will also discuss how to know if mold testing is necessary and what to look for if you need to find a professional for assistance. The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Job OpeningsBack to Top

National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) Regional Organizer

NDLON is hiring a New York based Regional Organizer/Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative (MJWC) Program Coordinator. The Organizer will work to build NDLON’s network of members, activists and leaders, will be responsible for recruiting new members, engaging them in the work of NDLON, and developing leaders. They will implement Workers Rights enforcement through Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative, which include outreach, referrals and case management for workers with wage theft and health and safety issues.


CSB Seeks Chemical Incident Investigator

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is seeking a Chemical Incident Investigator. The position is located in the Office of Investigations. The incumbent serves as an expert in industrial chemical safety and nationwide incident investigation and analysis of major incidents involving the accidental release of hazardous materials and, developing and presenting reports with safety recommendations for adopting by the Board.

Job Description

District Council 37 Seeking Principal Program Coordinator

District Council 37 is seeking a Principal Program Coordinator to serve in the Safety and Health Department. The Principal Program Coordinator will be responsible for the research, development, and implementation of safety and health training programs and materials for union members; research and analysis of technical safety and health information; worksite inspections; the coordination of activities for the join labor-management safety and health committees; and the production of reports of work-related safety and health issues.

Job Description

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