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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: April 16, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, April 16, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

April 16, 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.

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

Register NOW! Spring 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop

Registration is now open for the virtual NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop. The Awardee Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 20, beginning at 12:30 ET, and the Workshop will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22. The workshop is scheduled from 1:00-5:15 p.m. ET both days. The final agenda is available on the website. Language interpretation (English, Spanish) will be available during all three days of the meeting.


Biden Picks California’s Doug Parker to Lead Federal OSHA

The Biden administration intends to nominate California official Doug Parker to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, the White House said. Parker is currently chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, where he played a lead role in developing the state’s Covid-19 workplace safety rule.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Bruce Rolfsen]

Living Near a U.S. Toxic Waste Site Could Shave a Year Off Your Life, Study Finds

Superfund sites are scattered across America: they’re places like landfills and manufacturing plants so contaminated with hazardous waste that the federal government has designated them a national priority to clean up. And according to a new, large-scale study, living near one can shave months – and in some cases, more than a year – off how long you live.

The Guardian [Author: Paola Rosa-Aquino]

Native Communities Confront Painful Choice: Move Away, Or Succumb to Rising Waters?

At any moment, on any school day, the entire future of the Quileute Tribe is at risk. The Quileute tribal school is located within a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean, which has been a source of life for the Quileute people since the beginning of time. But the ocean is increasingly becoming a threat.

The Guardian [Author: Richard Arlin Walker]

UC Research Shedding New Light on Massive Toxic-Waste Dump on SoCal Ocean Floor

Researchers are engaged in new efforts to map and quantify a massive toxic-waste dump that is polluting the ocean floor just off the Southern California coast. Thousands of barrels of toxic industrial waste have been discovered, much of it containing high levels of DDT, the now-banned pesticide.


Veterans Face Uphill Battle to Receive Treatment For 'Burn Pit' Exposure

In August, Scott Evans, 33, of North Carolina, received devastating news: he had terminal pancreatic cancer. The diagnosis placed him among a growing number of military veterans who say they have developed serious and sometimes fatal diseases after facing prolonged exposure to burn pits at overseas bases.

NBC News [Authors: Kenzi Abou-Sabe and Didi Martinez]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Biden Administration to Invest $250 Million in Effort to Encourage COVID-19 Safety and Vaccination Among Underserved Populations

The Administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness is announcing an effort to invest $250 million to encourage COVID-19 safety and vaccination among underserved populations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) will offer the funding as health literacy grants to localities, who will partner with community-based organizations, to reach racial and ethnic minority, rural and other vulnerable populations. OMH will be accepting applications for this new initiative through April 20.


U.S. EPA: Brownfields Stakeholder Discussion with Nonprofits and Community Groups

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites representatives from nonprofit organizations and community foundations to join an online open discussion and listening session about nonprofit leadership in brownfields assessment, cleanup and redevelopment projects. EPA wishes to learn how the agency can support nonprofit efforts to assess, cleanup and redevelop brownfields sites in the communities they serve. The event will be held on April 23 at 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

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.

More Information

The EPA Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Series Features the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership

Redlining data was key to Groundwork Trusts’ community organizing efforts to secure climate provisions in Richmond, Virginia’s master plan, green infrastructure in Elizabeth, NJ. Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership and Groundwork’s Trusts, Groundwork Hudson Valley, and Groundwork Richmond are leading the way in working with stakeholders. The webinar will be held on May 5 at 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Stigma of Addiction Summit

The National Academy of Medicine, Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, and Shatterproof are pleased to announce the Stigma of Addiction Summit on June 10. It is a half-day, virtual, action-oriented summit entirely dedicated to understanding, addressing, and eliminating the harmful impacts of stigma on people who use drugs. The goal of the Summit is to elevate current efforts at reducing stigma, identifying successes and gaps in the evidence base, and prioritizing and identifying areas for future research.

Meeting Registration

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.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

New Jersey’s Largest Nurses Union Filed 24 Worker Safety Complaints During Pandemic

The state’s largest nurse and health care worker union filed 24 complaints over employee safety violations during the pandemic, and will seek a larger role through contract negotiations in determining how hospitals, nursing homes and other health care employers respond to emergencies, its president said. [Author: Susan K. Livio]

Hunger Strikers Seeking Environmental Justice Win Air-Pollution Delay

While Yesenia Chavez was growing up on Chicago’s Southeast Side, it seemed like everyone had asthma. Now as an adult living here, she may have dodged asthma—but this working-class, predominantly Latino area is home to more than 50 current and former industrial sites. And some of them have emitted the kind of air pollution that research has linked to environment-related health conditions such as asthma and others that are prevalent in Chavez’s community.

Scientific American [Author: Jim Daley]

Two Tribal New Mexicans Named to White House Environmental Justice Panel

Growing up in Tesuque Pueblo, Jade Begay cleaned the acequias in the spring and took part in ceremonial dances to draw ample water for harvest season. The old ways tied to this centuries-old riverfront farming village became deeply embedded in her identity and drove her to environmental advocacy. Begay, 30, is one of two New Mexicans chosen for the new White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which has 26 members from around the country.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

NASA Spent Millions Over Decades Trying to Remove Michoud's Toxic Waste. It's Still There.

In 1966, as NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility was building rockets to send the first American to the moon, a tank containing 16,000 gallons of a cancer-causing solvent failed. The contents seeped into the dirt and groundwater at the site, and the federal agency has been trying ever since to clean it up. [Author: Mark Schleifstein]

California Is Greenlighting Oil Wells Linked to Groundwater Pollution

Throughout 2020 and early 2021, California issued more than 300 permits to oil and gas companies for new underground injection wells — an intensive form of oil production and wastewater disposal. But the actual number of new injection wells is likely higher, owing to the state’s opaque approval process that has drawn scrutiny from auditors and environmentalists.

Capital and Main [Author: Aaron Cantu]

Researchers Create Digital Repository of Documents Pertaining to the Opioid Epidemic

Experts at Johns Hopkins and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently launched the Opioid Industry Documents Archive. The archive consists of a digital repository of publicly disclosed documents from recent judgments, settlements and ongoing lawsuits regarding the opioid crisis. Within the archive, there are 3,300 documents — about 131,000 pages — contained in six collections.

JHU News [Author: William Blair]

Shortage in Mental Health Services Fans Flames of Employee Burnout

As the pandemic drags on, the workforce is facing a serious burnout crisis — and a growing perception that bosses are tuned out when it comes to employees’ mental health needs. A study by the real estate platform Clever found that 41% of employees feel depleted because of work, yet just 17% believe their companies have made the mental health of employees a priority.

Digday [Author: Tony Case]

‘Green’ Jobs in Biden’s Infrastructure Bill: What They Could Pay and How to Be Eligible

A priority of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and climate change bill, called “The American Jobs Plan,” is to “tackle climate change with American jobs and American ingenuity,” Biden said when he promoted his plan in Pittsburgh on March 31. For instance, it includes $174 billion in spending to “win” the electric vehicle market globally.

CNBC [Author: Catherine Clifford]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

The Dangers of Opioids in the Workplace

The Biden administration released its first set of drug policy priorities after overdose deaths hit record numbers during the pandemic. The priorities provide a guide to ensure that the federal government promotes evidence-based public health and public safety interventions. Office of National Drug Control Policy Acting Director Regina LaBelle discussed the office’s seven priorities, beginning with expanding access to drug treatment services.

White House

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Shereen Hashem]

Update from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Deployment to Yenkin-Majestic Paints and OPC Polymers Corporation in Columbus Ohio

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) can confirm the following information related to the fatal fire and explosion that occurred on April 8: Yenkin-Majestic manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes. The incident occurred in the OPC Polymers unit at the Yenkin-Majestic facility.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Labor Perspective of Post-Pandemic Worker Health and Safety

The 2021 Expanding Research Partnerships series explores the future of occupational safety and health (OSH) in a post-pandemic world. The March 10 webinar explored perspectives on worker health and safety in the post-pandemic world from labor associations of major industries.

Webinar Recording

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.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

Center for Progressive Reform Seeks Senior Policy Analyst on Worker Justice

The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) is seeking an energetic, organized, and dedicated researcher and advocate to join their staff as a Senior Policy Analyst on Worker Justice. CPR is looking for candidates who have a deep commitment to inclusive and progressive environmental and economic policies that address historic and contemporary inequities.

Job Posting

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.

Job Posting

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.

Job Posting

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