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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: August 3, 2018 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, August 3, 2018

Weekly E-Newsbrief

August 3, 2018

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

First Responders Can be Haunted by Close Encounters with Suffering and Death

A recent report from the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation shows in alarming detail that the internal struggles of police and firefighters take a devastating toll. At a time when the suicide rate has been climbing across the United States, the rate for firefighters may be even higher than that for the general population.

The Boston Globe [Author: Jenna Russell]

Could Firefighters Health Research Help Understand Burn Pits Risks?

Firefighting organizations have been studying the long-term health effects of exposure to toxic smoke on firefighters for decades. Yet, for military personnel exposed to toxic smoke from open burn pits, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs (VA) say there is not yet enough evidence to presume exposure to be the cause of certain illnesses and cancers. In the meantime, veterans are getting sick and, in some cases, dying.

Killeen Daily Herald [Author: David A. Bryant]

Congo Announces 4 New Ebola Cases in Country’s Northeast

At least four new cases of the Ebola virus have emerged in Congo’s northeast, just a week after an outbreak in the northwest was declared over, the country’s health ministry said this week. The new cases are in Mangina in the eastern Mabalako health zone, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of Beni, a city of more than 230,000 people. Travel into and out of the village has been blocked.

The Washington Post [Author: Saleh Mwanamilongo]

Changes to the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act Are Essential to Saving Lives in Disasters

According to this op-ed by Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the U.S. government is better prepared than ever to respond to the health impacts of disasters. However, Americans must keep pace with the very real, unpredictable, serious threats our nation faces. The reauthorization of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) could further enable readiness and response in the face of disasters.

The Hill [Author: Robert Kadlec]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Webinar: Data Management in Disasters & Public Health Emergencies

Nicole Strayhorn, National Library of Medicine (NLM) Associate Fellow, will discuss the results of her project to identify open data sources and data sharing policies used during disasters and public health emergencies. For the purposes of this short-term project, she narrowed her research to the data needs of stakeholders, and the challenges of sharing and accessing data around the ongoing Zika virus outbreak. The webinar will be held on August 9, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information and Registration

Disaster Health Education Symposium 2018

The Uniformed Services University National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) will be hosting the Disaster Health Education Symposium at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. This symposium will provide a forum with a specific focus on education and training in disaster medicine and public health. The event will: 1) Highlight current and future education initiatives in disaster medicine and public health education; 2) Present a unique forum for collaboration and networking among disaster medicine and public health professionals; and 3) Explore the challenges and opportunities for the current state of disaster education. The Symposium will be held on September 12, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET.

Information and Registration

National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Announces Grant Opportunity for Enhancing Coastal Community Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico Region

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced a new grant opportunity focused on enhancing coastal community resilience and well-being in the Gulf of Mexico region. Applications for this funding opportunity have two stages, including a required letter of intent due September 19, 2018, by 5 p.m. ET. For those who submit a letter of intent, a full proposal is then due by November 28, 2018, by 5 p.m. ET.

News Release

Funding Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Hurricane Harvey Samples Saddled with Antibiotic-Resistant Genes

Rice University scientists have released the first results of extensive water sampling in Houston after the epic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. They found high levels of fecal bacteria as well as genes associated with antibiotic resistance in Houston floodwaters and sediment after Hurricane Harvey. The study showed that residents and remediation workers must be extra cautious when they encounter standing water in closed homes.

Science Daily

Environmental Science and Technology [Authors: Yu et al.]

Preventing Valley Fever in Construction Workers

People who work outdoors in California's Central Valley and other locations, especially workers who dig or disturb soil, are at risk for Valley Fever, an illness that can cause disability or even death. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) and California Occupational Health Branch (OHB) recently released updated resources to help protect workers from Valley Fever. See links below.

Cal/OSHA Resources

OHB Resources

Stop-Work Authority

Stop-work authority (SWA) permits any employee at any level to halt a job or task when a hazardous situation appears imminent. Key components of an effective SWA policy, include employee recognition; empowering every employee in the SWA process, which increases the opportunities to identify and control risk; ensuring the workforce trusts leadership’s support of the program; clearly defining the expectations, positive outcomes and correct application; and then communicating that SWA to help ensure consistency in its application.

Safety+Health [Author: Joe Bush]

International Risk Management Institute [Author: Peter G. Furst]

Health Security New Open Access Articles

Health Security is a peer-reviewed journal providing research and essential guidance for the protection of people’s health before and after epidemics or disasters and for ensuring that communities are resilient to major challenges. The Journal released new open access articles, including Relevance of Global Health Security to the U.S. Export Economy, Existential Risk, Cost-Effective Biosecurity, and more.

Health Security [Authors: Christian et al.]

Health Security [Authors: Bambery et al.]

Health Security [Authors: Piers Millett and Andrew Snyder-Beattie]

Safety, Health, and Wellness Issues for Women in Construction Trades

Women working in the construction trades face challenges that the men don’t. These include ergonomic challenges from machines and tools typically designed for bigger people, the difficulty of finding personal protective equipment (PPE) that fits properly, a work culture that’s at times unwelcoming and even abusive, sexual discrimination and harassment, and more. In this article, Hannah Curtis, a research coordinator with the University of Washington, discusses a research study she conducted called Safety and Health Empowerment for Women in Trades (SHEWT).

Convergence Blog [Author: Jeffrey Dalto]


Expanding the Paradigm of Occupational Safety and Health: A New Framework for Worker Well-Being

This article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) describes The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) newly developed conceptual framework for worker well-being. This framework seeks to define and operationalize the concept of worker well-being through the following domains: work evaluation and experience, workplace physical environment and safety climate, workplace policies and culture, health status, and home, community, and society.

JOEM [Authors: Ramya et al.]

Hidden Studies from Decades Ago Could Have Curbed PFAS Problem

An editorial published in Environmental Health suggests that research on perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFAS) and their dangerous health effects was not revealed until several decades after it was conducted. The lack of publicly available research has prevented proper guidelines for levels of the chemical compounds, including in drinking water.

Environmental Health News [Author: Heather Mongilio]

Environmental Health Editorial [Author: Philippe Grandjean]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Susan Harwood Training Grant Program

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notice announces availability of approximately $10.5 million for Susan Harwood Training Grant Program grants. Three separate funding opportunity announcements are available for Targeted Topic Training grants, Training and Educational Materials grants, and Capacity Building grants. This funding opportunity will cover two types of Capacity Building grants: (1) Capacity Building Pilot and (2) Capacity Building Developmental grants. Grant application are due no later than 11:59 p.m., ET, on September 2, 2018.

Funding Information

News Release

ASPR Grant Opportunity: Partnership for Disaster Health Response

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has released the Partnership for Disaster Health Response Cooperative Agreement funding opportunity. Applicants are invited to develop demonstration projects that address healthcare preparedness challenges, establish best practices for improving disaster readiness across the healthcare delivery system, and show the potential effectiveness and viability of a Regional Disaster Health Response System. The deadline to apply is August 15, 2018.

Grant Information

The Powerhouse: Students’ Contributions Towards Expanding and Improving Occupational Safety and Health Content in Wikipedia

A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Science Blog looks at efforts to expand and improve occupational safety and health (OSH) content in Wikipedia. In this blog, the authors focus on the partnerships created between NIOSH and university graduate and training programs since 2016 to train students (or interns) in Wikipedia editing to add or develop evidence-based content to Wikipedia articles on OSH.

NIOSH Science Blog [Authors: Morata et al.]

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

National Preparedness Month 2018

The devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 reminded the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. National Preparedness Month (NPM), recognized each September, provides an opportunity to focus on how we all should improve our preparedness efforts. This year’s NPM will focus on planning, with an overarching theme: Disasters Happen. Explore the link below to find NPM resources and ideas to promote preparedness.

National Preparedness Month

Job OpeningsBack to Top

City of Albuquerque Seeks Environmental Health Director

The City of Albuquerque seeks qualified candidates to apply for its Director of Environmental Health position. The Director manages and oversees a wide range of programs and activities within the Environmental Health Department. The Environmental Health Department is responsible for promoting and protecting public health, by preventing disease, and by preserving the integrity and quality of our environment through sustainable management and responsible stewardship.

Job Description

The BlueGreen Alliance Seeks Minnesota Field Organizer

The BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations working to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. The Minnesota Field Organizer (MFO), will work closely with the Minnesota Regional Program Manager (MNRPM) to design and implement an organizing plan that brings unions and environmental organizations together to advance key priorities in the state. The MFO will build engagement with BlueGreen Alliance’s partner organizations to grow the breadth of supporters for these key priorities in the future through organizing, public events, and other activities.

Job Description

The BlueGreen Alliance Seeks Eastern Pennsylvania Field Organizer

The Field Organizer (FO), based in Philadelphia or surrounding communities, will work closely with the Pennsylvania Regional Program Manager (PA RPM) to design and implement an organizing plan that brings unions and environmental organizations together to advance key priorities in the state. The FO will build engagement with BlueGreen Alliance’s partner organizations to grow the breadth of supporters for these key priorities in the future through organizing, public events, and other activities.

Job Description

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