April 2, 2021
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
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
|Top Stories||Back to Top|
Spring 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for the virtual NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop. The Awardee Meeting will be held the afternoon of Tuesday, April 20, and the Workshop will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22. The workshop is tentatively scheduled at 1:00-5:15 p.m. ET both days. Additional information will be published in the coming days, including a meeting agenda.
Are Federal Disaster Policies Making the Harmful Impacts of Climate Change Even Worse?
Over the last year, we have been studying how the physical impacts of climate change might affect the financial markets and Americans’ welfare. We were surprised to learn that even where municipalities know they are in harm’s way, they can readily borrow money for future infrastructure because the market knows that if climate-related disasters happen, the city or county will be bailed out. If true, this is a costly path. Not only will climate change hurt our welfare, but the practice of federal bailouts will amplify those dangers.
Brookings [Author: Sadie Frank, Eric Gesick, and David G. Victor]
Industry Eyeing EPA’s Hustle to Control ‘Forever Chemicals’
Industry attorneys say they’re bracing for a wave of corporate liability and litigation as the Biden administration works swiftly to fulfill a campaign promise to control “forever chemicals.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this month announced it’s working on three water-related regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
Bloomberg Law [Author: Pat Rizzuto]
Report: Radioactive Cleanup at Idaho Nuclear Site Working
Ongoing Superfund cleanup work of radioactive and other contamination at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho has been successful at protecting humans and the environment, U.S. and state officials say. The five-year review by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Environmental Quality and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality also said that potential exposures in areas that aren’t yet cleaned up are being controlled.
Magic Valley [Author: Keith Ridler]
New Mexico Sues U.S. Over Proposed Nuclear Waste Storage Plans
New Mexico sued the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 29 over concerns that the federal agency hasn’t done enough to vet plans for a multibillion-dollar facility to store spent nuclear fuel in the state, arguing that the project would endanger residents, the environment and the economy.
WTMJ [Author: Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press]
Climate Change Has Direct Negative Impacts on Farmworker Health
Research confirms the various ways that climate impacts on food and agriculture are adversely affecting our health: Rising CO2 levels lead to less nutritious crops; increased incidence of diseases and pests may cause some farmers to use more toxic on-farm chemicals; and rising temperatures can lead to upticks of bacteria in the water, making it harder to keep our irrigation-dependent food supply safe.
The Counter [Author: Lela Nargi]
'Who Do They Trust? It’s Their Union.’ Organized Labor Steps in to Convince Immigrant Workers to Get Vaccines
Unions and advocacy groups are racing to convince both documented and undocumented immigrant workers that they should get Covid-19 shots after former President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdowns sowed fears about using government services.
Politico [Author: Eleanor Mueller]
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Three Reasons to Register: Protecting Students and Staff Against COVID-19 in Schools
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Indoor Environments Division is hosting a webinar on indoor air quality (IAQ) ventilation to reduce virus transmission. This webinar will highlight layered risk reduction strategies and IAQ management best practices for building operations to reduce the risk of virus exposure and promote healthy indoor air, which is foundational to student health, thinking and academic performance. The webinar will be held on April 8 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.
The Paindemic: The Intersection between the COVID-19 Pandemic and Deaths of Despair
NIEHS is hosting a webinar that will detail the extent of the problem of deaths of despair and how the COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to the fire. Increased stress related to pandemic conditions and its effect on mental health are important factors driving an increase in alcohol consumption, opioid overdoses and fatalities, and increased suicides. The webinar will be held on April 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Estimating Indoor Transmission Risks of SARS-CoV-2
The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) is hosting a presentation that will explore two case studies where the Wells-Riley model was used to calculate SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk estimates. Based on previously collected data, risk estimates were calculated for nail salons and public schools located in New York City under different exposure scenarios. The webinar will be held on April 13 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.
2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for life sciences in the U.S. There is more than $1.2 billion of seed funding for small businesses who are developing innovative products and services that could potentially save lives. This conference, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will explore the theme Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations. The conference will be held April 26-30.
Understanding and Addressing the Impact of Structural Racism and Discrimination on Minority Health and Health Disparities
NIEHS is interested in observational research examining the role of structural racism and discrimination (SRD) as a significant determinant in environmental health disparities, or evidence-based intervention research that mitigates or prevents the negative health outcomes attributable to environmental SRD. Applicants are strongly encouraged to utilize community engaged research approaches and include letters of support from community partners. Applications are due August 24.
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$1.2 Million Grant to Support Women and Minority Veterans in Construction Trades Announced by NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has announced $1.2 million in available funding through the Helmets to Hardhats for Women and Minority Veterans Program (H2HWMVP). Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) is a national nonprofit program to help reserve, retired, and transitioning active-duty military members connect with career-training opportunities in the construction industry.
‘We Can and Must Do Better’: Report Analyzes Sanitation Worker Deaths
At least 52 sanitation workers in the United States and Canada died from on-the-job injuries in 2020 – a figure that remained steady from the prior year, according to a recent analysis from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). Examining fatality data from industry sources and media reports, SWANA found that almost 70% of the fatalities occurred during collection operations.
Lawmakers Reject Kentucky Governor’s Veto of Work Safety Bill
Kentucky lawmakers overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of a bill that will prevent the state from enacting any occupational safety and health standards more restrictive than those enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. H.B. 475 states that neither the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Standard’s Board nor the state’s Labor secretary may promulgate any workplace safety and health rules more stringent than those of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Business Insurance [Author: Angela Childers]
Oregon Department of Energy Says Illegally Dumped Radioactive Fracking Waste Can Stay in The Ground
A state agency has opted to leave millions of pounds of illegally dumped, radioactive fracking waste right where it is: in an Eastern Oregon landfill. The Oregon Department of Energy’s decision on Wednesday, March 24, comes a little over a year after it issued a notice of violation to Chemical Waste Management, or CWM, which operates Oregon’s only hazardous waste landfill, outside the Columbia River town of Arlington.
Work-Related Asthma: What You Need to Know
More than 300. That’s how many known triggers can be found in the workplace that cause or worsen asthma, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness are some asthma symptoms workers may experience after exposure. These symptoms often disappear when workers are away from the jobsite.
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CDC Adds New Medical Conditions to COVID-19 High-Risk List
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added several new medical conditions to its list of those that predispose adults to more severe COVID-19 illness. Conditions that had previously been categorized as "might be" placing individuals at increased risk, but now are listed as high risk, include type 1 diabetes, moderate-to-severe asthma, liver disease, dementia or other neurological conditions, stroke/cerebrovascular disease, HIV infection, cystic fibrosis, and overweight. Substance use disorders, which hadn't been previously listed, are now also considered high-risk.
Medscape [Author: Miriam E. Tucker]
NIOSH What's New Resources
This week, NIOSH published a COVID-19 research agenda to address occupational health research gaps, launched a new center on work and fatigue, and posted a video on addressing opioid overdose deaths in the workplace.
New Strategic Plan Charts the Way Forward to Advance the Science of Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) is pleased to announce the release of the NIH Minority Health and Health Disparities Strategic Plan 2021-2025. The plan’s goals for advancing minority health and health disparities research are in three categories: Scientific Research, Research-Sustaining Activities, and Outreach, Collaboration, and Dissemination.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Brookwood-Sago Grants’ Availability of up to $1M for Mine Safety Education, Training
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today the availability of up to $1 million to fund grants to support education and training to help mine workers identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions. The funding, made available by the department’s Brookwood-Sago grant program, will enable grant recipients to develop training materials, provide mine safety training or educational programs, recruit mine operators and miners for training, and conduct and evaluate training.
COVID-19 and Wildland Firefighters
Wildfires do not stop during a pandemic. The 2020 fire season saw the first-ever single wildfire to burn over 1 million acres, with 44 days at the highest fire preparedness level (and 30 days higher than the 5-year average) when fire personnel and resources are extremely scarce. Circumstances surrounding wildfire incidents can put wildland firefighters at increased risk for the transmission of infectious diseases including COVID-19.
U.S. EPA Takes Tougher Stance on New Chemicals
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making major changes to the way it evaluates the safety of new chemicals, the agency announced March 29. To start, the EPA will assess the risks of all uses—known and potential—of a new chemical, and it will mandate necessary protections for workers.
Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Britt E. Erickson]
Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Jumpstarts Offshore Wind Energy Projects to Create Jobs
The White House convened leaders from across the Administration to announce a set of bold actions that will catalyze offshore wind energy, strengthen the domestic supply chain, and create good-paying, union jobs. President Biden issued an Executive Order that calls on our nation to build a new American infrastructure and clean energy economy.
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Women’s Health Awareness Newsletter
NIEHS launched a new newsletter on women’s health. The Women's Health Awareness Newsletter is a journey to good health and well-being. In support of this, the goal of the newsletter is to keep readers connected throughout the year by providing health education and encouragement along your journey to reach optimal health.
U.S. Labor Officials to Share National Worker Health, Safety Efforts Amid the Pandemic
U.S. Department of Labor representatives responsible for employee health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic will discuss what lies ahead for the country’s workforce during a teleconference with The New England Consortium at University of Massachusetts Lowell, including Joseph Hughes Jr., deputy assistant secretary for pandemic and emergency response for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
CPWR Small Study Grant Funding Available
The Center for Construction Research and Training’s (CPWR) Small Study Program, which supports promising new research initiatives on improving construction safety and health, has a particular interest in studies that plan to work with and/or target small employers, those with 19 employees or fewer. CPWR is also interested in innovative approaches to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through ventilation, distancing, and respirators.
Protecting Construction Workers During COVID-19 ‘Takes All of Us,” Safety Expert Says
Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 on construction sites should be a team effort, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Directorate of Construction Director Scott Ketcham said during a Feb. 25 webinar. Hosted by OSHA, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, the event focused on helping construction employers and workers identify exposure risks and determine appropriate control measures.
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WNYCOSH Is Hiring an Executive Director
The Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH) is seeking a new Executive Director. WNYCOSH advocates for safe and healthy working conditions for all workers, conducts training and educational programs on workplace safety for workers and unions, and educates the public on worker safety and health issues and workers’ rights. The position closes April 21.
CPWR Seeks Data Center Assistant Director
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is seeking an assistant director. The position’s major responsibilities include analyzing large national datasets, summarizing statistical results, guiding data visualization efforts, and co-drafting reports, briefs, and scientific manuscripts for publication and dissemination. This is an excellent opportunity for a seasoned statistician, epidemiologist or other specialist with demonstrated data management and data analysis experience.
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