February 14, 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.
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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
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Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Registration Open
The semi-annual NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) Awardee Meeting brings awardees together to provide program updates, exchange information regarding training, and discover new areas of interest to awardees. Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center, in conjunction with the NIEHS WTP, is sponsoring a workshop on Bio-Preparedness. The workshop will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Mar. 17-18. The hotel room block closes Feb. 23 at 5:00 p.m. ET and registration closes Feb. 29 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The draft agenda will be made available in the coming weeks.
Among U.S. Refineries, Chalmette Refining Is No. 8 Emitter of Carcinogen: Report
Chalmette Refining ranked eighth among the nation's refineries in the level of cancer-causing benzene emissions measured at fenceline monitors, according to a report released Feb. 6. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started tracking the self-reported fenceline monitoring results in 2018, requiring refineries to determine whether average annual emissions at the monitoring sites exceed 9 micrograms per cubic meter and, if they do, to reduce them.
Nola.com [Author: Mark Schleifstein]
Toxic ‘Black Goo’ Base Used by U.S. Had Enriched Uranium. More Veterans Report Cancer
For the last six weeks, a private Facebook group set up to help veterans who served at a toxic base in Uzbekistan has been flooded with new members, many with hauntingly familiar stories: I served at K2. I have cancer. McClatchy exclusively reported in December that the Pentagon had known from the beginning that K2, a former Soviet and Uzbek base, was contaminated with radioactive processed uranium, chemical weapons remnants and underground pools of fuel and solvents that broke through the soil in a “black goo.”
A Once-Powerful Montana Mining Town Warily Awaits Final Cleanup of Its Toxic Past
High above this storied copper town, one of the tallest earth-filled dams in the country holds back more than 6.5 trillion gallons of toxic sludge from an open-pit mine. The dam is set to grow even taller. Yet it is the least of Butte’s immediate concerns. Residents have been waiting years to learn how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will finish cleaning up a different part of mining’s legacy here – the cavernous Berkeley Pit, now a mile-long, 900-foot-deep poison lake, and a vast network of contaminated subterranean tunnels.
The Washington Post [Author: Kathleen McLaughlin]
The Toxic Reach of Deepwater Horizon’s Oil Spill Was Much Larger — and Deadlier — Than Previous Estimates, a New Study Says
The spread of oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was far worse than previously believed, new research has found. As the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history approaches its 10th anniversary in April, a study by two University of Miami researchers shows that a significant amount of oil and its toxic footprint moved beyond fishery closures where it was thought to be contained and escaped detection by satellites as it flowed near the Texas shore, west Florida shore and within a loop current that carries Gulf water around Florida’s southern tip up toward Miami.
The Washington Post [Author: Darryl Fears]
States of Emergencies Declared Amid Eastern Kentucky Floods
Heavy rains caused extensive flooding across eastern Kentucky, and city and county officials say it could take weeks to fix some of the damage. Some residents were evacuated from their homes, and officials across the region declared states of emergency, including mayors in Whitesburg and Jenkins, and county judges in Letcher, Harlan and Knox counties. An analysis last year by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found that the Elkhorn Lake dam above Jenkins is one of Kentucky’s most dangerous.
Ohio Valley Resource [Author: Sydney Boles]
EPA Orders Hazardous Waste Cleanup at Former East Chicago Refinery
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered a hazardous waste cleanup at the former Cities Service Refinery site in East Chicago. It ordered Citgo Petroleum Corp. and OXY USA to begin sizing up and cleaning hazardous waste leaks at the property’s former tank terminals and refinery. The site is located south of residential neighborhoods and north of wetlands, about a half-mile north of the Grand Calumet River.
Chicago Tribune [Author: Meredith Colias-Pete]
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SBIR Fast Track Innovation Showcase
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast Track Innovation Showcase will be June 29-30 at TechConnect World in National Harbor, Maryland. The conference connects individuals for commercialization partnerships with corporate, investment, government, and military customers. The TechConnect innovation prospecting platform is now accepting innovation submissions until Feb. 28. The information provided will qualify technology to be enrolled in corporate partnering, awards program, and innovation-pitch style presentations.
NIMHD 10th Anniversary Scientific Symposium: Innovations to Promote Health Equity
The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) is hosting their 10th Anniversary Scientific Symposium: Innovations to Promote Health Equity. The symposium will showcase the latest discoveries in minority health and health disparities research. Leading researchers investigating salient topics will help crystalize and further explore our current knowledge about the determinants of health and their impact on minority health and health disparities. The symposium will take place Mar. 3 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET at the National Institutes of Health Main Campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Resources Webinar
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE), and the National Ebola Training and Education Center are conducting a joint webinar focused on Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Resources on Mar. 5, 1:30-300 p.m. ET. During this webinar, speakers will highlight new online courses and exercise templates.
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 Mar. 31-Apr. 3 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.
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 Aug. 3-7 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.
New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Call for Papers
New Solutions seeks high quality manuscripts for a special issue, Opioids and the Workplace - Risk Factors and Solutions, dedicated to work and the opioid crisis. The workplace has been the forgotten element in the national response to the opioid crisis, even though workers and their families have been particularly impacted nationwide. Emerging research, case studies, and advocacy programs will be reviewed in this issue. Manuscripts will be accepted until June 30. Accepted papers will be published March 2021.
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2019 Novel Coronavirus: Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings
This document recommends practices for extended use and limited reuse of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified N95 filtering facepiece respirators (commonly called “N95 respirators”). The recommendations are intended for use by professionals who manage respiratory protection programs in healthcare institutions to protect health care workers from job-related risks of exposure to infectious respiratory illnesses.
Bracing for Climate Change, the Chemical Industry Learns From Hurricane Harvey
According to a U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) report, as floodwaters rose, workers shut down power to prevent electrical shorts. They moved the peroxides to refrigerated trailers on higher ground – first using forklifts, and when the waters got too high for that, by hand. The crew then evacuated. In the face of global warming, which is causing rising seas and more frequent, record-breaking storms, the US chemical industry – historically clustered on the Gulf Coast – is bracing for more events like Harvey and using it as a model for how to better prepare for future storms.
Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Alexander Tullo]
Well Being Trust New Healing the Nation Report
Health care in the United States is fractured and fragmented. Too often, mental health and addiction are treated separately from physical health, making it challenging for people to get timely access to quality mental health and addiction services. This new framework provides federal policymakers with actionable solutions at each entry point – whether a specific population, access point, or intervention strategy – for comprehensive, inclusive mental health and addiction policies.
Interim Guidance for Environmental Cleaning in Non-Healthcare Facilities Exposed to 2019-nCoV
This document aims to provide guidance about the environmental cleaning in non-healthcare facilities (e.g. rooms, public offices, transports, schools, etc.) where 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) confirmed cases have been before being admitted to hospital. This guidance is based on the current knowledge about the 2019-nCoV and evidence originating from studies on other coronaviruses.
Cold and Winter Weather-Related Workplace Injuries and Tips to Prevent Them
Exposure to severe winter weather and cold temperatures can lead to serious injury and even death. As reported by TIME, the cold snap of January 2019 that brought record-breaking low temperatures resulted in the deaths of 22 individuals. For those working outdoors, especially, winter weather conditions can bring severe and chilling dangers, including slip and fall accidents, cold stress, and exposure-related injuries.
Occupational Health and Safety [Author: David Perecman]
Virginia Lawmakers Pass Major Renewable Energy Legislation
The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation Feb. 11 that would overhaul how Virginia’s utilities generate electricity and, supporters say, move the state from the back of the pack to the forefront of renewable energy policy in the US. Critics, though, warned that the legislation, drafted privately by a group that included industry representatives and environmental advocates, strips state regulators of some oversight and leaves ratepayers on the hook for what could be excessive costs.
AP News [Author: Sarah Rankin and Alan Suderman]
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CSB Announces Final Rule on Chemical Incident Reporting
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has issued a long-anticipated final rule that requires owners or operators of chemical facilities to report to the agency within eight hours certain information regarding incidental releases of hazardous chemicals resulting in death, serious injury or substantial property damage.
EPA Publishes 2018 Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report and Analysis
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2018 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. Findings from this publicly available report show an increase in recycling of TRI chemical wastes nationwide and indicate that companies continue to find ways to implement new source reduction activities and reduce the quantities of TRI chemicals they release into the environment.
50 Years of Workplace Safety
Since President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on Dec. 29, 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has helped transform America's workplaces in ways that have significantly reduced workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The agency developed a timeline to show the five decades of progress and its efforts to continue fulfilling the promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
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Opioid Use and Worksite Overdose Fatalities in the Construction Industry: A Look at the Data and CPWR Resources and Efforts
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on Feb. 27 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET on opioid use and worksite overdoses. Recent state-level studies of opioid overdose deaths show that construction workers are six to seven times more likely to die of an overdose than workers in other professions. CPWR Sue Dong will review their Quarterly Data Report and Chris Cain will present additional resources.
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Public Citizen Seeks Worker Health and Safety Advocate
Public Citizen is hiring a worker health and safety advocate. The worker health and safety advocate will play a leading role managing Congress Watch’s policy and advocacy on occupational health and safety, including in the topic areas of whistleblower rights, environmental impacts on worker health, appropriations implications, and others as necessary, and manage related public education and outreach.
WJP Posts Job Opportunities
The Worker's Justice Project (WJP) is hiring three job positions. The positions based in New York City are Workplace Rights Organizer and Health and Safety and Community Organizer. WJP promotes justice and opportunity for low-wage immigrant workers in New York City by pushing for systematic enforcement and expansion of workplace protections, including labor and occupational health and safety standards; advocating for industry-specific efforts to improve working conditions; and educating immigrant communities about their rights in the workplace and how to exercise those rights.
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