April 12, 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 Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
|Top Stories||Back to Top|
Houston Neighborhood Reckons With Railroad Yard After Decades of Contamination
A concentration of cancer deaths has residents of a Houston neighborhood pointing fingers at the nearby railroad yard, where for decades a railroad company, later acquired by Union Pacific, operated a wood treatment facility, dipping railroad ties in the preservative creosote, a cancer-causing chemical listed as a hazardous substance by the Environmental Protection Agency. The creosote emitted fumes, leached into the soil and ran through ditches when it rained or flooded.
Houston Chronicle [Author: Erin Douglas]
A Growing Problem After California Wildfires: Toxic Chemicals
Fires like the one that razed Paradise in November burn thousands of pounds of wiring, plastic pipes and building materials, leaving dangerous chemicals in the air, soil and water. Lead paint, burned asbestos and even melted refrigerators from tens of thousands of households only add to the danger, public health experts say. Researchers are acting fast to investigate the air pollution aftermath of the recent Paradise wildfires.
The Mercury News [Author: Sharon Bernstein]
Safe at Work? Not in Construction or Driving a Truck
Gig workers, particularly those who hire out to small firms, have several times as many accidents as workers who've stayed on the same job for years. The "gig" economy is causing more accidents and fatalities among Americans who work as contractors, while employers are cutting back on safety and training in key industries like construction. At the same time, a robust economy means truckers are working longer and harder—and getting less sleep. Older workers and those new on a job—often lacking training—are most likely to be injured or killed.
CBS News [Author: Ed Leefeldt]
Congo Ebola Outbreak 'Far From Contained,' U.S. Aid Chief Says
The deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is far from contained, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green said on April 9. The Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 600 people. But as the country grapples with the aftermath of December elections marred by fraud allegations, aid workers have faced mistrust in some areas as they seek to contain the outbreak, the most severe in Congo’s history.
Reuters [Author: Patricia Zengerle and James Dalgleish]
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
Webinar: Correlates of Opioid Dispensing in Workers’ Compensation
A second presentation of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Health (TWH) Webinar Series will focus on new research at the intersection of work and the nation’s opioid crisis. Speakers will highlight the steps NIOSH is taking to assist and protect workers, employers, and first responders on the front line facing the opioid misuse and overdose crisis. The webinar will also provide an overview of the latest research from Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI). The webinar will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2019 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.
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 – 3:00 p.m. ET.
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.
Save the Date! Webinar: Flooding in the Midwest: One University’s Efforts to Reach Out to the Community
After the devastating floods in March 2019, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) stepped up to provide outreach to their community, both in Nebraska and Iowa. A collaborative effort between the UNMC Office of Emergency Management, the McGoogan Library of Medicine, and the Human Resources department led to efforts ensuring that internal students, faculty, and staff, as well as residents of the states of Iowa and Nebraska received updated information on health and safety resources and guidelines. The webinar will be held on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Disaster Relief in an Era of Extreme Weather
Extreme weather such as wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, torrential rainfall and floods have added urgency to disaster relief efforts. In addition to local, state and charitable efforts, Washington plays a critical role in providing disaster funding and resources to affected communities. Join POLITICO for a high-level conversation on how extreme weather is prompting a renewed look at disaster relief and response in Washington and in affected communities. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET in Washington, DC.
Disasters and Health: State of the Science Symposium
The Disasters and Health: State of Science Symposium will be a dynamic event convening the leading disaster experts from the fields of science, academia, government, finance and technology. The objective of the symposium is to identify the important issues enabling and constraining an evidence-based approach to disaster preparedness and response, with a particular focus on health. The symposium will take place on April 25-26, 2019 in Washington, DC.
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.
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.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
The Impact of Climate Change on Our Health
There has been a rapid increase in diseases, including asthma, in the face of climate change. A 2016 report from the World Health Organization said 23% of all global deaths are linked to the environment, representing about 12.6 million deaths per year; 8.2 million deaths caused by the environment are due to non-communicable diseases, and most are attributed to air pollution. It is believed that climate change contributes to more than 100 disease and injury types, and children and older adults are at the highest risk.
DocWire [Author: Kerri Fitzgerald]
Safety Procedures OK'd Amidst Upcoming Chemical Destruction
With the upcoming destruction of the chemical agents at the Blue Grass Army Depot beginning in June, the Madison County Fiscal Court approved a contract of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the depot, as well as approving a CSEPP Incident Specific Plan. Both are safety precautions in case of a chemical leak. EMA Director Dustin Heiser said there was one change in the MOU he wanted to inform the fiscal court of, which noted what the exact levels of a chemical release had to be before the plant would be required to notify the emergency operations center (EOC) as well as Madison County EMA.
Richmond Register [Author: Taylor Six]
Governor Newsom Proclaims State of Emergency on Wildfires to Protect State’s Most Vulnerable Communities
Building on lessons learned from past catastrophic wildfires, Governor Gavin Newsom today proclaimed a state of emergency throughout California ahead of the coming fire season. The Governor is directing his administration to immediately expedite forest management projects that will protect 200 of California’s most wildfire-vulnerable communities. This action follows the release of a report earlier this month by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), which identified 35 priority fuel-reduction projects that can be implemented immediately to help reduce the public safety risk for wildfire.
Pollution From Busy Roads May Delay Kids’ Development
Children who live near major roads are more likely to score poorly on communication tests and experience development delays, according to a new study. The research, published in the journal Environmental Research, suggests that exposure to traffic-related air pollution—such as small particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone—in the womb or during early childhood may leave kids lagging in their ability to communicate, socialize and learn.
Environmental Health News [Author: Brian Bienkowski]
Colorado Lets Oil and Gas Companies Pollute for 90 Days Without Federally Required Permits That Limit Emissions
Colorado state Department of Public Health and Environment allow oil and gas companies to release emissions from drilling and hydraulic fracturing without permits under a decades-old, 90-day window exemption. During this window, companies are expected to minimize their pollution with pollution control devices, but these levels are often not checked.
The Denver Post [Author: Bruce Finley]
Mamakating Mine Contaminating Water With Lead at Alarming Rate
Mamakating, a dormant mine inside the Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest contaminated more than 57,000 gallons of water per day with lead above standard levels for 24 years. The contaminated water still flows from the site today. Samples from the site contain elevated lead levels in the tailings piles, surface water near the tailings and in a sediment deposit in the Delaware & Hudson Canal, a 2012 Department of Environmental Conservation fact sheet states.
Times Herald-Record [Author: Matthew Nanci]
Rebuilding After the Fires: Housing Lessons for All Communities
Communities across the state are struggling to tackle a growing housing crisis, exacerbated by increasing wildfires that impact frontline and surrounding communities alike. Five large wildfires in the past two years have destroyed nearly 21,000 homes across six counties. That’s equivalent to over 85% of all the new housing built in those counties over the past decade, according to the Construction Industry Research Board. The increasing speed, intensity, scope and frequency of wildfires – in addition to sprawling growth patterns that put more homes and residents into harm’s way – is increasing the potential risk and destructiveness of wildfires.
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
EPA Inspector General Reports EPA Data on Sewer Plant Pollution is Inaccurate
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) inspector general (IG) says data released to the public about municipal sewer discharges is not accurate. The IG sent a letter to the head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention warning that some information about hazardous substances released from publicly owned sewer systems is missing from a public database. The letter warned there were “discrepancies” between the total pounds of releases in the Toxics Release Inventory and internal data.
EPA Community Grants Available to Protect Public Health and the Environment in New England
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making grants available for New England communities to support EPA's "Back-to-Basics" agenda to reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health and improve the quality of life. EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program is accepting applications for projects that will benefit one or more New England communities. EPA plans to award about 10 cooperative agreements, for a total of approximately $250,000 under this funding opportunity. The deadline to submit applications is May 28.
EPA to List Nonstick Toxics as Hazardous Substances This Year
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the first time plans to list ubiquitous nonstick chemicals as hazardous substances under the nation’s Superfund law by year’s end, the agency’s top drinking water official said April 9. The agency will issue a proposal to list perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), on the agency’s list of hazardous substances, Jennifer McLain, acting director for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, told participants gathered at the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) spring meeting April 9
Bloomberg Environment [Author: Amena H. Saiyid]
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning||Back to Top|
Amarilla College Facilitates National Hazardous Safety Training for Pantex Employees
Amarillo College, a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) grantee, facilitated a national hazardous safety training for Pantex employees. The hazardous waste operations class is a 40-hour course, and it teaches people how to categorize a potentially hazardous waste location, find and mitigate the risks.
KFDA [Author: Melissa Gaglione]
|Job Openings||Back 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.
|We Want Your Feedback||Back to Top|