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NIEHS WTP: December 13, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, December 13, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

December 13, 2019

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

State Report: LANL Lost Track of 250 Barrels of Nuke Waste

The contractor that's been in charge of Los Alamos National Laboratory's operations for the past year lost track of 250 barrels of waste, while the company heading the legacy cleanup mislabeled and improperly stored waste containers and took months to remedy some infractions, according to the state's yearly report on hazardous waste permit violations. Triad National Security LLC, a consortium of nonprofits that runs the lab's daily operations, had 19 violations of its permit from the New Mexico Environment Department.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

EPA Superfund Sites Cause New Toxic Plume Concerns

Two plumes of toxic chemicals which have been lurking underground for three decades have now prompted an inquiry by California's cancer registry. The two plumes make up two different U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) registered Superfund sites in and around NASA Ames' Moffett Field in Mountain View. The Superfund sites are commonly known as the Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman Study Area and the Naval Air Station at Moffett Field “Orion Park”.

NBC Bay Area [Authors: Stephen Stock and David Paredes]

Feds Sue Harris County Over Documents Related to Recent Chemical Fires

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has asked a judge to order Harris County to hand over documents related to two recent chemical fires, saying the delay in responding is hindering two of its investigations. Federal prosecutors in Houston filed a petition on Dec. 11 to order Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen to produce documents and other relevant materials related to the investigations. CSB alleges the county has failed to comply with requests even after it issued administrative subpoenas.

Houston Chronicle [Author: Perla Trevizo]

Michigan Lawmakers to Trudeau: Don't Store Nuclear Waste Near Lakes

A bipartisan group of U.S. House members from Michigan wrote Dec. 6 to Canada's leader, expressing their "strong opposition" to that country's possible plans to locate a nuclear waste repository near the Great Lakes. Last month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved an amendment introduced by Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton expressing the sense of Congress that the United States and Canada should not allow long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel or other radioactive waste near the Great Lakes.

The Detroit News

Residents Say High Cancer Rate Caused by Nearby Rail Yard

Residents of Kashmere Gardens in Fifth Ward say they have been dealing with a detrimental problem for years. Residents believe their beloved neighborhood has had a cancer problem for years due to the Union Pacific Railroad yard nearby. In August 2019, a report was released by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The report stated that creosote once seeped into the neighborhood's soil, creating a hazardous plume that moved beneath at least 110 homes and churches. The chemicals also contaminated groundwater.

ABC 13 Houston [Author: Erica Simon]

Smoke Sense Adds Spanish-Speaking Version to Reach Those Impacted by Wildfire Smoke

Exposure to wildfire smoke is a community health issue that has been gaining the attention of public health professionals and organizations, especially in states where fires are frequently large and intense. Wildfire smoke has significant health implications for those near the fire, as well as for those living farther downwind. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a research project called Smoke Sense to understand the health effects of wildland fire smoke and identify effective risk communication strategies.

EPA Smoke Sense

Nebraska Fireworks Company Fined for Falsifying Safety Records

An eastern Nebraska fireworks company has been sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay a $35,000 fine for falsifying work safety records. U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Joe Kelly announced that Wild Willy’s Fireworks, of Springfield, was sentenced in Omaha’s federal court on Thursday. The company’s representative and owner, Dan Williams, pleaded guilty to the charge in August. In January 2017, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector was not allowed to enter Wild Willy’s for an inspection, prosecutors said.

Associated Press

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

NSC 2020 Congress and Expo Call for Papers

The National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo is the world's largest annual event for safety, health and environmental professionals. The event attracts decision makers, end users, and distributors from a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, petrochemical and utilities. They are currently accepting papers for their technical sessions and professional development seminars. Proposals must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2020.

Call for Papers

NIH Seeks Data Policy Input

On Nov. 8, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a Draft NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing and supplemental draft guidance for public comment. The purpose is to promote data management and sharing that furthers NIH’s commitment to making results and accomplishments of the research it funds and conducts available to the public. Stakeholders may comment on any aspect of the draft policy, the supplemental draft guidance, or other considerations relevant to NIH’s data management and sharing policy efforts by Jan. 10, 2020.

NIH Data Management and Sharing Guidance

PEPH 2020 Annual Meeting: Past, Present, and Future

The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Annual Meeting will bring the environmental health network together to reflect on the past, discuss the present, and consider future opportunities. In addition to learning about strategies and approaches used to improve environmental public health, the PEPH2020 meeting will be an occasion to inform a new 10-year vision for the PEPH program in the context of the NIEHS Strategic Plan and the new Translational Research Framework. The meeting will be held Feb. 12-13, 2020 in Durham, North Carolina.


Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Hotel Information Available

Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center, in conjunction with the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP), is sponsoring a workshop on Bio-Preparedness. The workshop will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17-18, 2020. The workshop is tentatively scheduled from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. until noon on Wednesday. A limited number of rooms have been reserved at an area hotel for this meeting. Participants are encouraged to book their room early, as the block will fill up quickly.


NACCHO 2020 Preparedness Summit Registration Open

Registration is now open for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) 2020 Prep Summit, which will be held March 31-Apr. 3, 2020, in Dallas. This year’s theme, Fixing Our Fault Lines: Addressing Systemic Vulnerabilities, will focus on methods to identify systemic weaknesses and highlight tools and policies that can empower all communities, and particularly the ones that are most vulnerable, to address those weaknesses and become more resilient.

Meeting Registration

2020 Health Disparities Research Institute Save the Date

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host the Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) from August 3-7, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. The online application system will open in early February 2020. The HDRI aims to support the research career development of promising early-career minority health and health disparities research scientists and to stimulate research in disciplines supported by health disparities science.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Preparing for the Coming Climate Disruption, with Alice Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz

Resources Radio host Kristin Hayes talks with Alice Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, authors of a new book called, Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption. Hayes, Hill, and Martinez-Diaz delve into the topics covered in the book, including 10 lessons for decisionmakers in building a resilient future. They discuss what resilience means in the context of climate change, how it relates to economic inequalities, and the potential legislation holds in addressing issues of mitigation, resilience, and equity.

Resources Radio [Authors: Alice Hill, Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Kristin Hayes, and Elizabeth Wason]

Preparing for the Next Pandemic – The WHO’s Global Influenza Strategy

Given the ongoing threat posed by influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this year released its Global Influenza Strategy 2019–2030. Although the strategy is a welcome step, additional challenges will test its effectiveness unless efforts are made to ensure that they are addressed. This article submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) examines the influenza strategy.


Is Shale Development Worth the Costs? A CMU Study Says No.

Although the massive shale gas build-out in the Appalachian Basin has produced significant economic benefits, a new Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) study says all the drilling, fracking and cracking isn’t worth the environmental, health and climate damage. The study estimates air pollution from shale gas development activities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia from 2004 to 2016 resulted in 1,200 to 4,600 premature deaths in the region, and while most of the added employment occurred in rural areas, most of the health impacts were felt in urban areas.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

FRA Seeks to Delay Implementation of Training for Safety-Related Railroad Workers

In response to a petition for rulemaking, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is seeking to further delay by 16 months the implementation dates of its proposed Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees regulation. In November 2014, FRA published a final rule establishing minimum training standards for all categories and subcategories of safety-related railroad workers. The rule also required railroad carriers, contractors and subcontractors to submit training programs to FRA for approval. The rule was required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Safety and Health Magazine

Camp Gives Minnesota Students Emergency Medical Response Training

More than 100 Minnesota high school students will get hands-on training in emergency medical response at a three-day camp this week. The camp will provide students with practical training and experience that will include first aid, CPR, psychological first aid, medical evacuation by helicopter and tactical communications. The instructors will include community first responders, National Guard soldiers and local public health emergency preparedness and behavioral health professionals.

Minnesota Star-Tribune [Author: Mary Lynn Smith]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

The CSB Proposes Rule on Accidental Release Reporting

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board's (CSB) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding accidental release reporting is available for public review. This proposed rule describes when an owner or operator is required to file a report of an accidental release and the required content of such a report. The purpose of the proposed rule is to ensure that the CSB receives rapid, accurate reports of any accidental release that meets established statutory criteria.

Federal Register

ANPRM: Ethylene Oxide Commercial Sterilization and Fumigation Operations NESHAP

On Dec. 5, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit information from the public regarding a potential future rulemaking to revise the standards for commercial ethylene oxide sterilization and fumigation facilities. Specifically, the ANPRM solicits information on suggested strategies for ethylene oxide emission reductions. Addressing ethylene oxide emissions from sterilizers is an agency priority. The ANPRM will not impose any requirements on the regulated community; rather, it offers the public the opportunity to comment. EPA will accept comment on the ANPRM for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

EPA ANPRM Fact Sheet

REMM Website Updates

The Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) recently updated its website. The REMM website, which is part of U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine, now has more than 456 web pages. It also added illustrations and videos to many REMM pages and to the REMM Multimedia Library.

REMM Website

EPA Environmental Justice Grants Opportunity is Now Open

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding to support community-based organizations in their efforts to collaborate and partner with local stakeholder groups as they develop and implement community-driven solutions that address environmental and/or public health issues for underserved communities. The EJCPS program will award approximately $1.2 million nationwide for this competitive opportunity.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction

The new Liberty Mutual Safety Innovation Award in Construction recognizes innovative evidence-based technologies, work practices, and programs (interventions) designed to reduce or eliminate construction hazards that lead to injuries and pain in the construction industry. The Award is sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance and administered by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). The winner will receive a $15,000 cash prize and a plaque. Applications must be submitted no later than Feb. 29, 2020.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

NIOSH Seeks Supervisory Research Industrial Hygienist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are hiring a supervisory research industrial hygienist. The position will serve as the Deputy Director, supervisor, and senior technical advisor for research and public health activities to prevent work-related respiratory disease and optimize workers' respiratory health. The role will provide technical advice on scientific studies/surveys or projects to internal and external stakeholders, and assist in the establishment of guidelines, policies, and the development of recommendations for studies and analyses. The deadline to apply is Dec. 17.

Job Announcement

California Department of Public Health Seeks Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

The Research Scientist II (RS II) is a team member in the multi-disciplinary research, occupational lead poisoning surveillance, and educational efforts of the Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The RS II acts as a technical consultant to employers, workers, local health departments, and to Program and Branch staff to prevent occupational illness, disease, and injuries, with a particular emphasis on lead-using industries. The RS II conducts research involving the assessment and control of workplace exposures in lead-using industries, including conducting site visits, collecting sampling data, and recommending actions to improve lead safety. The deadline to apply is Dec. 18.

Job Announcement

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