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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: August 7, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, August 7, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

August 7, 2020

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

Environmental Career Worker Training Program Celebrates 25 Years

This year, NIEHS celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP), formerly known as the Minority Worker Training Program. ECWTP, which is part of the institute’s Worker Training Program (WTP), has prepared and delivered trainings to hundreds of workers from disadvantaged and underserved communities in the fields of environmental cleanup, construction, hazardous waste, and emergency response. Since its origin, ECWTP has reached thousands of workers across the U.S. and continues to lift individuals out of poverty and into a better life. The National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training worked with WTP staff to create an interactive webpage to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

ECWTP 25th Anniversary

Environmental Factor Article

Decades Later, Illness and Fear Grip Those Who Attended School Next to Nuclear Waste Dump

About 900 third-graders attended the Lewiston-Porter School District school from 1967 to 1970. The school sat on the old Lake Ontario Ordnance Works site, a few hundred yards from a nuclear waste dump. Two years after the school closed, the state banned further use of the site because of high radiation levels. Now some former students trace their ill health to attending school on dangerous ground.

Buffalo News [Author: Thomas J. Prohaska]

Michigan's Drinking Water Standards for These Chemicals Now Among Toughest in Nation

Michigan officials waited on the federal government to adopt health-protecting standards for the nonstick, so-called "forever chemicals" that have become a leading emerging contaminant in the state and across the country. Michigan's new standards for seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) compounds in drinking water, some of the toughest, most comprehensive standards on the chemicals anywhere in the country, took effect on Aug. 3.

Detroit Free Press [Author: Keith Matheny]

Groups Urge Protection From 'Environmental Racism' in Hazardous Waste Placement

Environmental groups are calling on state regulators to adopt policies to put an end to Michigan's "long history of discrimination" over the placement of hazardous waste sites in poor communities of color. The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, in partnership with a Detroit law firm, has filed a civil rights complaint with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, on behalf of activist groups and residents in Detroit.

The Detroit News [Author: Christine Ferretti]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Special Issue Call for Papers on Disaster, Infrastructure, and Participatory Knowledge

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice seeks papers for a special issue. The issue encourages a broad array of researchers, practitioners and disciplines beyond both science and technology studies on the topics of disaster research and critical disaster studies, public health, and research on humanitarian relief and refugees. The deadline to submit papers is Aug. 16.

Citizen Science

National Environmental Justice Public Teleconference Meeting

The National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee will convene a public teleconference meeting on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20 starting each day at 3:00 p.m. ET. The meeting discussion will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, action items from the Feb. 25-27 public meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, and discussion and deliberation of a charge related to the reuse and revitalization of Superfund and other contaminated sites.

Meeting Registration

Brownfields 2021: Call for Ideas Now Open!

The Brownfields 2021 Call for Ideas is now open. Please submit ideas for dynamic educational sessions in Oklahoma City that will motivate brownfields stakeholders to engage, learn, and share their experiences and knowledge of community revitalization challenges and solutions. Submissions must be received by Aug. 24 for consideration.

More Information

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Workplace – Risk Factors and Solutions

New Solutions seeks manuscripts on the subject of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its occupational and environmental health policy impacts from the local to international levels. The journal is accepting a variety of topics and article types. The extended deadline to submit manuscripts is now Aug. 31.

Call for Papers

New Request for Applications to Support Equitable Development & Environmental Justice in Brownfields Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to provide direct technical assistance to communities nationwide on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development when developing solutions to brownfields cleanup and revitalization challenges. The application submission deadline is Sept. 21.


New Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field. The closing date is Sept. 22.

EPA EWDJT Information

Request for Information on Federal Coordination To Promote Economic Mobility for All Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is publishing this Request for Information (RFI) to seek public input until Oct. 2 on the development of a federal interagency Council on Economic Mobility (Council). HHS and the Council will analyze information collected in this RFI to gather feedback from our stakeholders to better inform the Council's priorities and how the Council can promote economic mobility, recovery, and resilience.

Federal Register

JOEH Seeks Submissions for Special Issue on Health Equity in the Workplace

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) plans to publish a special issue on health equity in the workplace in May 2021. For this special issue, the journal seeks research on a range of topics, including how racial inequities affect workplace exposures and the effects of gender inequity on worker exposures and outcomes. The deadline to submit is Oct. 30.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

New Issue of Occupational Health Journal

A new issue of NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy is now available. Articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic are free to read, as is the editorial. New Solutions (NEW) is a peer-reviewed journal that explores the growing, changing common ground at the intersection of health, work, and the environment.

Sage Journals

To Improve Measurement of Changing Nature of Employment, Bureau of Labor Statistics Should Add Questions, Make Other Changes to Workforce Survey

To better measure the changing nature of employment, independent contracting and freelance work, and jobs with unstable hours, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) add questions to the Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS) about work done by people who may not be steadily employed, details about secondary jobs, and work scheduling practices.

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Addressing Confined Spaces and Heat Stress Concerns

Working in confined spaces can be extremely dangerous. Workers may be exposed to mechanical and atmospheric hazards. In certain situations, the temperature cannot be controlled, and workers are exposed to heat stress. The good thing is many accidents and injuries can be avoided through the correct application of planning and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Occupational Health and Safety [Authors: Carly Engels Johnston and Steve Kosch]

Lone Workers Are More Vulnerable Than Ever

Since March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, there has been an unprecedented number of changes to worker safety, particularly for those working alone and remotely. In a recent PwC survey, one-third of executives said they will need less office space in the near future because of the significant increase in remote work.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Gen Handley]

Do We Know Enough About the Safety of Quat Disinfectants?

Disinfectant products often contain quaternary ammonium compounds, or quats. These have been found in consumer products for decades. But in the last 10 years, scientists have linked quats to reproductive and developmental problems in animals, and found they can disrupt key cellular processes. So far there’s no data linking the compounds to toxicity in humans, but some scientists say there’s more to be done to fully assess quats’ safety.

Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Xiao Zhi Lim]

NY First in U.S. to Close Hazardous Waste Loophole, Other States Should Follow

New York Governor Cuomo signed a law closing a hazardous waste loophole that has allowed over 640,000 tons of waste from fracking sites in Pennsylvania to be poorly disposed of in the state. New York has become first in the U.S. to ensure that oil and gas waste that meets the definition of “hazardous” is regulated as such. Efforts are underway in Pennsylvania to take similar action.


Risk of COVID-19 Among Front-Line Health-Care Workers and the General Community: A Prospective Cohort Study

A new study from the Lancet finds data for front-line health-care workers and risk of COVID-19 are limited. The study sought to assess risk of COVID-19 among front-line health-care workers compared with the general community and the effect of personal protective equipment (PPE) on risk.

The Lancet

Nobody Accurately Tracks Health Care Workers Lost to COVID-19. So She Stays Up at Night Cataloging the Dead.

Anesthesiologist Claire Rezba started tracking lost health workers almost instinctively. Researchers and industry professionals say the lack of good official data on these deaths is “scandalous” and is putting lives in danger. On April 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published its first count of health care workers lost to COVID-19: 27 deaths. By then, Rezba’s list included many times that number including nurses, drug treatment counselors, medical assistants, orderlies, ER staff, physical therapists, EMTs.


Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Week in Review: PFAS Edition

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a series of announcements regarding the administration’s aggressive actions to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). News releases include: PFAS Research Workshop: What They Are Saying, EPA Moves Forward on New PFAS Policies, and more.


CSB Continues to Experience Management Challenges

The fiscal year (FY) 2020 report by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) on the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB) management challenges reveals that the board’s continued issues will impede its ability to effectively operate. The OIG report reveals that the CSB is currently overwhelmed and hamstrung. CSB guidelines call for the Board to consist of one chairperson and four other members.

EHS Daily [Author: Lisa Whitley Coleman]

OIG Report

COVID-19 Resources: August Update

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE) website highlights new and updated resources for August 2020.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

David Turcotte, Sc.D. – Academic-Community Partnerships Provide Tools to Address Environmental Health

The NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) highlighted David Turcotte, Sc.D., in a recent grantee article. Turcotte helps families and workers reduce environmental health risks in their homes and workplaces. As a public health research professor at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell and NIEHS-funded principal investigator, he focuses on worker safety, sustainable housing, and innovative approaches to asthma education and intervention.

PEPH Article

Safer Refineries, Safer Communities

California’s 2017 Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation represents the most important advancement for industrial safety in America since 1992. The University of California Los Angeles Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) program collaborated with the United Steelworkers (USW) to create four short videos that highlight the history and key elements of the regulation. They are designed for outreach and education with workers, community members, labor and environmental justice organizations.


ASSP And AIHA Collaborate To Improve Worker Safety And Health

Longtime industry allies American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding that outlines how the organizations will continue to collaborate on advancing workplace safety and health, and strengthening the occupational safety and health profession.

Safety Online

Why Effective Chemical Safety Training Is More Important Than Ever

Despite being a critical component of employee safety, HazCom training is one of the most overlooked elements of employer safety programs. And now, the recent global COVID-19 pandemic has presented several new challenges to millions of workplaces, as an increasing number of chemical disinfectants are being introduced into workplaces, creating a critical need for additional chemical safety training.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Phil N. Mole]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NIOSH Announces Two Job Opportunities

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) seeks incumbents to serve as Team Leads for the Special Studies Team in the Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch, Division of Safety Research, and will be responsible for providing oversight for surveillance research of occupational traumatic injuries and injury hazards; maintaining and managing data bases. The deadline to apply is Aug. 17.

Lead Research Epidemiologist

Lead Research Statistician (Health)

OSHA Seeks Supervisory Industrial Hygienist

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hiring a supervisory industrial hygienist position based in Washington, DC. The position will oversee and manage OSHA’s health enforcement program. He or she will be responsible for enforcement activities that include hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protection, workplace noise, hazardous waste cleanup operations, hazards covered by existing substance-specific OSHA health standards. The deadline to apply is Aug. 18.

Job Posting

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