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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: August 6, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, August 6, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

August 6, 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

Registration for Fall 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Now Open

Registration for the semi-annual WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop is now open. The awardee meeting will be held the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 19 and the workshop will be held the afternoons of Oct. 20 and 21. The topic of the workshop is “Advancing partnerships to improve worker health and safety.”

Meeting Website

Meeting Registration

Report: Some Los Alamos Nuclear Waste Too Hazardous to Move

Los Alamos National Laboratory has identified 45 barrels of radioactive waste so potentially explosive — due to being mixed with incompatible chemicals — that crews have been told not to move them and instead block off the area around the containers, according to a government watchdog’s report.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

Energy Department: Cap Rather Than Clean Up Los Alamos Lab Waste Site

One of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s older nuclear waste disposal sites — a Cold War relic — would be capped and covered rather than cleaned up under a plan put forth by federal officials. Known as Area C, the 73-year-old dumpsite was shut down in 1974 after taking radioactive waste, caustic chemicals, treatment-plant sludge and a variety of trash, according to records.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

Radioactive, for 1,600 Years

It might be that it's just not something people want to think about. But the fact is radioactive waste from fracking getting shipped to loosely regulated landfills in Ohio has the potential to poison the environment for 1,600 years. Despite efforts from environmental organizations to educate the public about the radioactive risks created by the boom in shale gas fracking since the early 2000s, some Ohioans remain unaware that it is piling up, in many cases, in their own backyards.

Review Times [Author: Talia Wiener]

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Closer to Getting Three More Members

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) moved a step closer to becoming fully functional on July 29 as a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee considered three presidential nominees for the panel. Since April 2020, the five-seat board has operated with a single member.

Chemical Engineering News

Some Veterans Exposed to Toxins from Burn Pits to Have Compensation Fast-Tracked By VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) created a fast-track to disability compensation for certain veterans who developed asthma, rhinitis or sinusitis because of their exposure to burn pits during overseas deployments. The VA announced it will now process disability claims for those conditions on a presumptive basis, which lowers the amount of evidence that veterans must provide in order to receive benefits.

Stars and Stripes [Author: Nikki Wentling]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

FEMA Co-Hosts a Webinar on Mitigation Messaging and Planning Research

As part of the Mitigation Matters Research Award Program, the Natural Hazards Center and FEMA will host a webinar on Aug. 10, “Mitigation Messaging and Planning Research.” To date, 19 research teams have received funding to conduct studies on hazard mitigation programs, policies and implementation practices. This webinar will highlight three funded projects.

Webinar Registration

NIEHS WTP COVID-19 Webinar Series: Practical Considerations for Using Portable Air Cleaners to Prevent Transmission of Infectious Aerosols

NIEHS WTP is hosting a webinar on Aug. 16 at 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET. In this webinar, participants will learn about 1) assessing ventilation systems within a building or space and 2) selection and use of portable air cleaner(s), when appropriate. English/Spanish interpretation will be available during this webinar.


Building Upon Large-Scale Brownfield Investments to Rejuvenate a Community

The Maryland Department of Planning on behalf of the Smart Growth Network as well as support from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields/Land Revitalization and Office of Community Revitalization staff are hosting a series of informative stories from communities of color near Chicago and Boston, as part of a six-part Smart Growth Network webinar series, Learning from (and Leaning on) Local Leaders to Revitalize African American Neighborhoods. The first webinar will be held on Aug. 18 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information

Basics of Planning for an Infectious Disease Outbreak

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is hosting a webinar on infectious disease outbreaks. The Infectious Disease Preparedness Learning Community (IDLC) webinar is on the basics of planning for an infectious disease outbreak. Once the decision to conduct a field investigation of an acute outbreak has been made, working quickly is essential to protecting the health and wellness of Tribal communities. The webinar will be held on Aug. 19 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Needs and Challenges in PPE Use for Underserved User Populations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests information on the needs and challenges in personal protective equipment (PPE) use for underserved user populations. The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory is expanding its portfolio to include activities that consider the needs of U.S. worker populations who are underserved related to PPE. Comments must be submitted by Aug. 23.

Federal Register

Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, FY 2021; Availability of Funds and Funding Opportunity Announcements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announces the availability of $11,787,000 for Susan Harwood Training Grant Program grants. Three separate funding opportunity announcements are available for Targeted Topic Training grants, Training and Educational Materials Development grants, and two types of new Capacity Building grants: Capacity Building Pilot and Capacity Building Developmental grants. The deadline to apply is Aug. 23.

More Information

Wearable Sensors for Occupational Health and Safety - Opportunities and Challenges

Wearable sensor technologies are used in several applications for everyday life at home and at work. The adoption of these technologies for occupational health and safety is increasing with the gradual, but consistent, evolution of personal monitors. This webinar will provide an introduction of wearable sensor technologies already in use for occupational health and safety and the ones that will soon be available. The webinar will be held on Aug. 26 at 2:00 p.m.

Webinar Registration

NIH RFI: Climate Change and Health

The Steering Committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Climate Change and Human Health Working Group invites feedback on the approaches NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices can take to enhance research on the health implications of climate change in the United States and globally. This request for information (RFI) invites comments from diverse stakeholder groups that include scientific researchers, community advocates, clinicians, and policy makers. The deadline to comment is Aug. 30.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

The Biden Administration’s Embrace of Environmental Justice Has Made Wary Activists Willing to Believe

Decades after emerging from the broader civil rights movement, setting itself apart from traditional environmentalism, flourishing in academia and wending through public discourse, the environmental justice movement has now achieved unprecedented prominence as activists work to entrench their gains within the federal government.

Inside Climate News [Author: Agya K. Aning]

Green Infrastructure Can Limit but Not Solve Air Pollution Injustice

Outdoor air pollution contributes to millions of deaths worldwide, yet air pollution has differential exposures across racial/ethnic groups and socioeconomic status. While green infrastructure has the potential to decrease air pollution and provide other benefits to human health, vegetation alone cannot resolve health disparities related to air pollution injustice.

Nature Communications

Emergency Management and Red Cross Work to Engage Latino Community

With five named storms already behind us in the first two months of the 2021 hurricane season, Charleston County, South Carolina, has launched bilingual efforts to engage the Latino community during weather emergencies, and each storm shelter will have a Spanish speaker on hand.

The Post and Courier [Author: Olivia Diaz]

Report: 'Clean Closure' Of Coal Ash Ponds Creates More Jobs, Boosts Local Economies

Fully removing coal ash near coal plants creates more jobs and boosts local economies better than leaving the ash in place. That’s according to a new report by the nonprofit environmental group Earthjustice. The northern Indiana utility NIPSCO plans to remove coal ash from five ponds at its Michigan City Generating Station which will close by 2028, but will keep a legacy coal ash pond in place as well as coal ash fill on the site.

WFYI [Author: Rebecca Thiele]

ASPR TRACIE Natural Disaster Resources

New resources have been released from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE). The resources include materials on the Hurricane Resources Page, Issue 10 of The Exchange (on preparing for and responding to wildfires and planned outages), and the floods, hurricanes, and wildfire sections in our Natural Disasters Topic Collection.


ASPR TRACIE Issue 10 of The Exchange

ASPR TRACIE Topic Collection

Massachusetts Grants Focus on Equity in Offshore Wind Workforce Development

A Massachusetts clean energy agency has awarded $1.6 million in grants to eight offshore wind workforce training programs, each of which targets a specific obstacle that might prevent people of color and low-income people from pursuing jobs in the burgeoning industry.

Energy News [Author: Sarah Shemkus]

Lack of Time Off Worsens Mental Health Problems for Public Health Workers

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey of 26,000 public health workers found higher levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), and suicidal ideation among those who couldn’t take time off.

Route Fifty [Author: Andrea Noble]

CDC Survey

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

New Survey on Workplace Testing for COVID-19

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and partners are conducting a national survey asking business leaders about their experiences with workplace testing for COVID-19. The goal of the survey is to identify barriers and facilitators of COVID-19 testing in the workplace. The online survey is now open and will be available until Sept. 15.

NIOSH Online Survey

New Research Projects on Contract Tracing and Ventilation

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Mining Program has developed two research projects to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. One project explores digital contact tracing tools to protect essential grocery, retail, and food manufacturing workers. The other project examines point-of-use ventilation systems to protect workers from virus-contaminated particles.

NIOSH Research Projects

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Data Dashboards Allow Exploration of Key Issues

The Center for Construction Research and Training’s (CPWR) Data Center has just posted two more interactive Data Dashboards: one on Construction Focus Four fatal injuries, the other on severe injuries. They join two dashboards launched earlier this year, on fatal injuries and COVID-19 vaccinations; the latter now features data from June and the first two weeks of July.


Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs Under the Clean Air Act

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted virtual public listening sessions on June 16 and July 8. The goals of the sessions were to solicit comments and suggestions from stakeholders pertaining to the review of EPA Risk Management Program (RMP) regulation revisions completed since 2017 and to address new priorities, as directed under Executive Order 13990: Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis. Former Chemical Safety Board Member Rick Engler and Jordan Barab, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA provided comment to the notice. Their comments are available online.

Comments by Rick Engler

WTP COVID-19 Prevention Fact Sheets and Briefs

WTP has created a new category of COVID-19 outreach materials, titled COVID-19 Briefs. The first brief, “WTP COVID-19 Brief: Selection and Use of Portable Air Cleaners to Protect Workers from Exposure to SARS-CoV-2” is now available. This is a companion document to the fact sheet of the same title. The briefs are meant to provide concise, essential information on the topic. Additional briefs will follow and can be found on the WTP COVID-19 webpage under the heading COVID-19 Briefs in the Toolbox.

WTP COVID-19 Toolbox

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Make the Road New York Seeks Safe and Just Cleaners Campaign Associate

Make the Road New York is hiring an associate for its Safe and Just Cleaners Study. The Safe and Just Cleaners Study is a community-based participatory research partnership funded by NIEHS. The study is collecting data on domestic cleaners’ chemical exposures and other working conditions to develop safer cleaning approaches to reduce exposure for cleaners and their clients.

Job Posting

EDF Seeks Director of Chemical Policy

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is hiring a Director of Chemical Policy. The director is responsible for directing and managing the execution of the Health Program’s chemical policy priorities to drive significant reductions in the use of and exposure to toxics across the supply chain using the Toxic Substances Control Act, with a particular focus on protecting high-risk populations and communities.

Job Posting

UCLA-LOSH Job Opportunities

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) offers exciting opportunities for individuals who are passionate about promoting workplace safety and health in Southern California. They are currently hiring a Project Coordinator and two Program Assistants to support LOSH activities and training initiatives.

Job Posting

Northeastern University Seeks Positions in EHS

Northeastern University has five new positions within the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). EHS manages and implements a comprehensive set of programs for all faculty, staff and students at Northeastern University. The goal of EHS is to provide consultation to the many different departments so that a safe and healthful working environment is maintained.

Biosafety Program Manager and University Biosafety Officer

Biosafety Specialist II

Chemical and Process Safety Program Manager

Laboratory Safety Specialist II

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