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NIEHS WTP: February 4, 2022 Newsbrief

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Weekly E-Newsbrief, February 4, 2022

Weekly E-Newsbrief

February 4, 2022

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

Chemicals Pose Deadly Risk to Firefighters

Seven of the 14 men and women added to the Arizona Fallen Firefighters and Emergency Paramedic Memorial at the Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on Jan. 16 died of cancer. Both of the Peoria Fire-Medical firefighters added to the wall who passed last year, retired Capt. David Rehnke, 59, and retired Capt. David Stutzman, 65, died of cancers recognized by the Arizona Fallen Firefighter Memorial Committee as connected to their service in the fire department.

Glendale Star [Author: Scott Shumaker]

Study: Workplace Pesticide Exposure Linked with COPD Risk

A new analysis of occupational hazards suggests exposure to pesticide is significantly associated with a heightened risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The report is based on nearly 100,000 participants in a British population-based cohort. The study findings were published in the journal Thorax.

AJMC [Author: Jared Kaltwasser]

Gas Stoves Leak Climate-Warming Methane Even When They're Off

Your natural gas cooking stove may leak climate-warming methane even when it is turned off, warns a new Stanford University study. That's important because methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide, though it doesn't linger in the atmosphere nearly as long.

NPR [Author: Jeff Brady]

Armored Caboose Designed to Protect Navy Nuclear Waste Trains Begins Final Testing

A prototype of an armored railcar that the U.S. Navy, in cooperation with the Department of Energy, developed to help protect trainloads of sensitive nuclear material is headed to Colorado to begin a final round of testing next month. The War Zone was first to report last year on this new Rail Escort Vehicle, or REV, which is set to start replacing older escort cabooses in 2024.

The Drive [Author: Joseph Trevithick]

Health Concerns Grow as EPA Probes Metal Plant Next to Atlanta School

Along the back fence of Crawford W. Long Middle School, white signs warn students and passersby not to venture beyond. They’re a visible marker of an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-led investigation into the health threat of a neighboring metal processing plant. On Jan. 10, the EPA issued an emergency order warning to TAV Holdings Inc.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution [Author: Drew Kann]

COVID-19 an Obstacle for Nuclear Waste Disposal at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Officials Say

COVID-19 continued to strain operations to dispose of nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, officials said, slowing shipments accepted at the repository near Carlsbad last year. Officials from WIPP detailed the progress made in 2021 before state lawmakers during the annual WIPP Legislative Breakfast held each year at the start of the Legislative Session.

Yahoo! News [Author: Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus]

OSHA Pursues New Safety Rule for Health-Care Facilities After Previous Efforts Faltered, Expired

After previous attempts expired or were knocked down in federal court, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now working to create a permanent set of coronavirus safety rules for health-care facilities, trying to establish the only enforceable workplace safety rules two years after the virus began spreading through the United States.

The Washington Post [Author: Eli Rosenberg]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

“Why is Climate Change a Health Threat” NIMHD Webinar

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)is hosting a webinar on Feb. 9 at 12:00 p.m. that will feature Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D., Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University. The webinar will look at how climate change affects the most vulnerable in our society and exacerbates social and environmental determinants of health.

Webinar Registration

Report Release Webinar for Frameworks for Protecting Workers and the Public from Inhalation Hazards

The National Academies Committee on Respiratory Protection for the Public and Workers Without Respiratory Protection Programs at their Workplaces is hosting a webinar to share the release of a new report. This new report outlines recommendations to improve respiratory protection practices and systems to better prepare the nation for future airborne threats. The webinar will be held on Feb. 10 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Choosing the Right Medical Mask Webinar

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health will host a forum with Monona Rossol. Rossol will walk through the topic of masks and help understand the design and safety standards that apply to some products. She’ll consider factors such as fit, filter efficiency, breathing stress, and comfort, and ultimately help individuals pick the best mask for their personal use. The webinar will be held on Feb. 11 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

NIH Webinar: Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Health: What Lies Ahead

The NIH Climate Change and Health Webinar Series presents a webinar on air pollution. Climate change will influence air pollution, changing the mix of air pollution sources and the generation of air pollution. This webinar will address how the nexus of climate change, air pollution, and health will evolve with mitigation and adaptation to climate change. It will be held on Feb. 22 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Specific Employers to Submit Required 2021 Injury, Illness Data by March 2

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers that the agency began collecting calendar year 2021 Form 300A data on Jan. 2. Employers must submit the form electronically by March 2. Electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records.

OSHA Trade Release

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Research Brief 326: New Technique Yields Promising Results for Uranium Removal in the Field

A technology developed by NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers may remove uranium and other heavy metals from groundwater near abandoned mines. Small business GlycoSurf, LLC worked with partners at the University of Arizona SRP Center to determine the best environmental conditions for effectively removing uranium from contaminated water.


Suicides by Drug Overdose Increased Among Young People, Elderly People, and Black Women, Despite Overall Downward Trend

A new study of intentional drug overdose deaths, or suicides by an overdose of a medication or drug, found an overall decline in recent years in the United States, but an increase in young people aged 15-24, older people aged 75-84, and non-Hispanic Black women. The study also found that women were consistently more likely than men to die from intentional drug overdoses, with the highest rates observed in women ages 45 to 64.

NIH News Release

Vaccinated Adults Report Symptoms of Anxiety or Depression Less Frequently Than the Unvaccinated

More U.S. adults are now reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder than before the pandemic, according to a comparison of recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s experimental Household Pulse Survey and data from the National Center for Health Statistics from 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau [Author: Daniel J. Perez-Lopez]

Investigation of the Occupational Exposure to Blood-Borne Pathogens of Staff at a Third-Class Specialist Hospital in 2015–2018: A Retrospective Study

The article published in Scientific Reports attempts to understand the current situation of occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens in a women's and children's hospital and analyze the causes to provide a scientific basis for improving occupational exposure prevention and control measures.


Offshore Wind Farms in the Gulf of Mexico Could Create 17,500 Jobs, Study Finds

The economic outlook for offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico is getting rosier, with as many as 17,500 jobs likely to be created if two wind farms take shape off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, according to a new report by the American Clean Power Association. [Author: Tristan Baurick]

$225 Million Bill to Support Health Care Workforce a Good First Step

Health care in Pennsylvania is getting more support after Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a bill that sets aside $225 million to support workforce development. The money comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021 and focuses on two things: recruiting health care workers and keeping them in the field.

ABC27 [Author: Sanika Bhargaw]

This Nigerian Doctor Has a Tough New Job: Stopping the Next Pandemic Before It Strikes

Chikwe Ihekweazu has taken on one of the toughest jobs in global health — leader of the new World Health Organization Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. The Hub was created last fall to collect, analyze and share data on emerging diseases like COVID-19. The goal is to improve WHO's ability to forecast, detect, assess and respond to outbreaks that threaten people worldwide.

NPR [Author: Joanne Silberner]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Announces $3.8 Million in Grants to Train Environmental Workers for Jobs Created by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the selection of 19 organizations to receive a total of $3,797,102 in grants for job training programs across the country. Job training and workforce development are an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and deliver environmental justice to underserved communities to build a better America.

EPA Newsroom

U.S. Department of Labor Awards $1.8m in Funding for Employment, Training Services to Combat New York’s Opioid Crisis

Fatal overdoses in New York have nearly tripled in the last decade, with nearly 85 percent of them linked to controlled substances, including opioids. the U.S. Department of Labor announced the award of $1,863,816 in incremental funding to the New York State Department of Labor to support job creation and workforce training services in 22 localities.

Department of Labor Newsroom

Interior Department, Federal Partners Announce Interagency Effort to Clean Up Legacy Pollution, Implement Infrastructure Law

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced an interagency initiative to implement a new federal program for addressing orphaned wells, a key initiative of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law includes $4.7 billion for orphaned well site plugging, remediation, and restoration activities.

DOI Newsroom

EPA Requires Reporting on Releases and Other Waste Management of Certain PFAS

As part of the comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront the human health and environmental risks of PFAS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the automatic addition of four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory list.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

New SC-SMIS Strengthens Safety Culture

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has just launched the Safety Climate-Safety Management Information System (SC-SMIS). The latest resource to help contractors and safety professionals improve job site safety culture and safety climate – and therefore reduce the potential for injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. CPWR will host a webinar to demonstrate the tool on Feb. 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET.


Webinar Registration was created by the U.S. Department of Labor to provide information about worker’s rights and common workplace concerns. This compliance assistance tool covers various topics and labor laws enforced by several Federal agencies.

Indigenous Political Activists, Scholars Speak on Importance of Learning from Indigenous Thought, Environmental Impact

The Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies conducted an online event to discuss the possibility of “radical futures” through an analysis of Indigenous political thought. Featuring four panelists, the symposium explored the contributions of Indigenous knowledge, science and political thought.

The Michigan Daily [Author: Sejal Patil]

A Just Transition for Farmworkers

As agricultural laborers continue to bear the brunt of climate change, activists in Washington chart a new path for climate justice. Heat radiated off dirty concrete, mixing with gritty wildfire smoke to form an oppressive haze. About two dozen students, farmworkers and United Farm Workers Union staff stood nearby, loading gear into the truck. It was Aug. 12, 2021, and the second major record-shattering heat wave of the year had just struck the Pacific Northwest.

High Country News [Author: Sarah Sax]

Environmental Justice, Health Disparities Top of Mind at Tox Meeting

Environmental justice, research into chemicals such as lead, and science communication (see sidebar) were major topics at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Society of Toxicology (NCSOT), held Jan. 19. The virtual conference kicked off with a brief overview of an NIEHS workshop last December that addressed racism as a public health issue.

Environmental Factor [Author: Jennifer Harker]

Crucial Changes Needed to Protect Workers’ Health While Teleworking

The World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have called for measures to be put in place to protect workers’ health while teleworking. A new technical brief on healthy and safe teleworking, published by the two United Nations agencies, outlines the health benefits and risks of teleworking and the changes needed to accommodate the shift towards different forms of remote work arrangements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation of work.

ILO Newsroom

Job OpeningsBack to Top

OSHA Seeks Emergency Management Specialist

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking an emergency management specialist. The position will provide a wide variety of technical analysis, evaluative, and guidance development duties in supporting the organizational mission of protecting the safety and health of workers during preparedness for, response to, and recovery from natural and manmade disasters/emergencies and emerging infectious diseases. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15.

Job Posting

New Solutions Seeks Editorial Assistant

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy seeks an editorial assistant to work between 10 and 20 hours per week (depending on experience, and expertise and workflow during production cycles,). New Solutions is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal published by SAGE Publications.

Job Posting

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