April 19, 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.
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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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Spring WTP Awardee Meeting & Workshop Hotel Block Deadline Approaching
Registration is now open for the WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (USW SCEO)/WTP Workshop being held May 14-16, 2019, at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The workshop will explore training interventions to address workplace stress, fatigue, and addiction. The awardee meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 15 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, May 16 (9:00 a.m. – noon). Room reservations in the hotel block at the group rate of $125 must be made by Monday, April 22!
New Safety and Health Issues Emerge as Work Changes
Changes in working practices, demographics, technology and the environment are creating new occupational safety and health (OSH) concerns, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO). Growing challenges include psychosocial risks, work-related stress and non-communicable diseases, notably circulatory and respiratory diseases, and cancers. The report published ahead of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April, reviews the ILO’s 100 years of achievements, and reveals some of the emerging challenges and opportunities in creating better working environments.
Measles Cases in U.S. Surge Nearly 20% in Early April, CDC Says
The number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by nearly 20 percent in the week ended April 11 in the country’s second-worst outbreak in nearly two decades, federal health officials reported on April 15. As of April 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 555 cases of the disease since the beginning of the year, up from 465 cases confirmed by April 4. The cases were found in 20 states spanning the country.
Reuters [Authors: Tamara Mathias and Jonathan Allen]
Storms Leave Deaths, Damage and Injuries in Their Wake
Strong storms, including at least one tornado, swept through parts of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic region, damaging homes and businesses and causing injuries after storms in the South killed at least eight people. The storms followed worse conditions that had swept across the South, unleashing more than a dozen confirmed tornadoes and flooding, killing at least eight people, injuring dozens and flattening much of a Texas town.
Bill Sets Guidelines for Nuclear Waste Disposal
The Legislature is considering a measure that outlines how North Dakota would respond if the federal government were to designate parts of the state as dumping sites for nuclear waste. Senators passed a bill with amendments that explicitly prohibits nuclear waste dumping. But the bill sets the regulatory framework for disposal and storage of the radioactive waste if the state is forced to accept it by the federal government.
‘We’re Not a Dump’—Poor Alabama Towns Struggle Under the Stench of Toxic Landfills
Imports of waste from across the country have turned parts of Alabama into ‘a toilet bowl’. The landfill in West Jefferson, Alabama is permitted to accept waste from 48 US states. It used a nearby rail spur to import sewage from New York and New Jersey. Alabama has a total of 173 operational landfills, more than three times as many as New York, a state with a population four times greater but with just 54 dumps.
The Guardian [Author: Oliver Milman]
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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.
CDC Cultural Competence in Preparedness Planning Webinar
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emergency Partners Information Connection (EPIC) will host a webinar on April 24 at 1 PM ET. When a disaster strikes a community, it affects people of various cultural backgrounds—sometimes disproportionately. Cultural competency can help public health communicators reduce this disparity. Please join CDC EPIC and CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity for this discussion.
2019 National Brownfields Training Conference – Call for Papers
From April 22, 2019 through May 31, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), cosponsors of the 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference, are requesting your support to help guide the conference planning committee fill out the conference. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Communities Start Here.” The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA – Dec 11-13, 2019.
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.
National Environmental Justice Public Meeting with Teleconference Option
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) will convene a public meeting with a teleconference option beginning on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, starting at 6:00 pm., Eastern Time. The NEJAC meeting will continue May 1-2, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland.
Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment Webinar
The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) and esteemed guest speakers will host a webinar on “Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.” CPR Policy Analyst Katie Tracy will begin the webinar with an overview of the resources and strategies explored in CPR’s latest publication, “Chemical Detox for the Workplace: A Guide to Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment.” The webinar will be held on May 8, at 1:00 p.m. ET.
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.
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Opioids Strain Health Workforce
In the mountainous region of Coal Country, long known as ground zero in the opioid epidemic, West Virginia for many years has led the nation in the ill effects of narcotic drugs – from spiraling death rates to fetal addiction. Now comes a new concern: Much of West Virginia's health workforce is exhausted. Years of health care shortages and a rapidly aging population have coarsened many first responders, police and whole communities. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has invested more than $400 million in the state since 2015 – including some $9.4 million in health workforce training and development awards last year alone. West Virginia grantees also received $8.2 million in opioid response funding in 2018.
Chemical Detox for the Workplace: A Guide to Securing a Nontoxic Work Environment
An estimated 50,000 lives are cut short every year in the United States — an average of 137 deaths a day — because of occupational diseases. Most of these deaths result from toxic chemical exposures on the job. Based on this estimate, an individual is more likely to die from a fatal illness acquired at work than from an opioid overdose, a firearm incident, or a motor vehicle crash. This workplace safety guide is intended to assist workers and worker representatives with finding information on chemical hazards and then utilizing that information to achieve a nontoxic workplace.
Center for Progressive Reform [Authors: Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, Rena Steinzor and Katie Tracy]
PFAS Found at Gordie Howe International Bridge Site in Michigan
Michigan’s search for PFAS contamination now touches the Gordie Howe International Bridge, where multiple samples over four months on the Detroit side of the project showed the chemicals in both soil and groundwater. Now officials are ensuring that plans for soil movement and stormwater address the presence of the per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals as pre-construction activity accelerates.
M Live [Author: Paula Gardner]
After a Decade of Research, Here’s What Scientists Know About the Health Impacts of Fracking
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process of extracting oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting a mixture of liquids and chemicals at high pressure. The process has been linked to preterm births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraine headaches, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms, and skin disorders over the last 10 years, according to a new study.
Environmental Health News [Author: Kristina Marusic]
After Record Year for Rain, Advocates and Lawmakers to Point to Mold Problems for Low-Income Renters in Baltimore
After Baltimore’s wettest year on record, housing advocates are seeking more protections for low-income tenants battling mold in their rental homes — and a city councilman is calling for a hearing on the problem. Significant rainfall exacerbated damp conditions, breeding a perfect atmosphere for mold. Such growth had long been a bane to poorer tenants renting older homes in neighborhoods where health data shows residents suffer disproportionately from asthma.
E&E News [Author: Yvonne Wenger]
Frances Perkins Homestead Campaign: Seeking the Public Good
The Frances Perkins Center honors the legacy of Frances Perkins by sharing her commitment to the principle that government should provide all its people with the best possible life, and by preserving the place that shaped her character. Find out more about the Homestead Campaign and how you can help ensure that the saltwater farm where Perkins found respite throughout her life is preserved and shared with students of all ages.
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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Funding for Cooperative Agreements to Assist Veterans and Transitioning Servicemembers Attain Occupational Licenses
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the availability of up to $2.5 million for cooperative agreements with partnerships that will work to increase and expedite attainment of state occupational licenses by veterans and transitioning service members. Through this funding opportunity, the Department expects to award one to three cooperative agreements for between $750,000 and $2,500,000; and the projects will have a three-year period of performance.
EPA Releases Proposed Plan to Complete Butte, Montana Superfund Site Cleanup
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposed plan to complete final cleanup actions at the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) of the Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area Superfund site in Butte-Silver Bow County, Montana. The proposed plan was developed by EPA in consultation with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and is based on recent evaluations of what is needed to complete the BPSOU remedy. This announcement coincides with the start of a 60-day public comment period in which EPA will solicit public comments on the proposed plan. The comment period started on April 11, 2019, and goes through June 11, 2019.
DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2019 Preparedness Grants
On April 12, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.7 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. The closing date to apply is May 29, 2019.
Alliance Program Forum Shares Information and Resources That Help Protect Workers
Representatives from more than 50 current, former, and prospective national alliances met on April 4 for the Alliance Program Forum in Washington, D.C. Participants learned about OSHA's safety and health initiatives from agency leadership and shared information with one another about tools and resources to help employers protect workers. OSHA Chief of Staff Krisann Pearce participated in the event and commended attendees for helping OSHA provide workplace safety and health information to 8.9 million employers and workers during fiscal year 2018.
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Innovative Approaches for Chlorinated Compound Bioremediation in Groundwater Webinar
The webinar: Innovative Approaches for Chlorinated Compound Bioremediation in Groundwater will hear from SRP-funded individual research projects at Johns Hopkins University, University of Tennessee, and University of California, Berkeley. The first session will also include a brief series introduction, highlighting the cohort of awardees funded under “Biogeochemical Interactions Affecting Bioavailability for in situ Remediation of Hazardous Substances. This is the first of NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) Progress in Research webinar series “Biogeochemical Interactions Affecting Bioavailability for in situ Remediation.” The webinar will be held on April 22, May 13, and May 20.
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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.
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