February 18, 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.
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How Our Environment Is Making Us Sick – And What We Can Do About It
Michael Snyder is trying to help answer an age-old conundrum: how does our environment affect our health? Every time we breathe, eat, drink, wash, exercise, get dressed, go to work or climb into bed, we expose ourselves to potentially harmful substances – air pollution, synthetic chemicals, contaminated food and water, radiation, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, noise and microorganisms, to name but a few.
New Scientist [Author: Graham Lawton]
The U.S. Needs Better Access to Naloxone Amid Opioid Epidemics
The U.S. has been experiencing an opioid epidemic for more than two decades, but according to a new study, access to the life-saving overdose intervention naloxone is underdeveloped and under-utilized in almost every state. A team of investigators including Traci C Green, Professor, Brown University, School of Public Health, performed a modeling study by developing a mechanistic model of the risk of opioid overdose.
HCP Live [Author: Giuliana Grossi]
Natural Disasters Can Wipe Out Affordable Housing for Years
The tornadoes and wildfires that devastated communities from Kentucky to Colorado in the final weeks of 2021 left thousands of people displaced or homeless. For many of them, it will be months if not years before their homes are rebuilt. That’s especially hard on low-income residents. Shannon Van Zandt is a professor of architecture and urban planning at Texas A&M University.
Fast Company [Author: Shannon Van Zandt]
In Georgia Air and Soil, A History of Environmental Inequality
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of EPA and Census Bureau data found Georgia Census tracts within two miles of a Superfund site had a larger percentage of Black residents and lower home values, on average, than neighborhoods farther from the sites in the same county. Sites with the EPA’s Superfund label are among the most toxic in the country.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution [Authors: Drew Kann, Shelia Poole, and Nick Thieme]
COVID-19 Increases Long-Term Heart Risks, Study of U.S. Veterans Finds
A large-scale scientific study found that coronavirus patients were at “substantial” risk of heart disease one year after their illness, increasing the odds of clots, arrhythmias, heart failure and related conditions. The risk of heart diseases grew progressively depending on the severity of the covid illness, according to researchers who analyzed health records from more than 153,000 U.S. veterans who had covid. The results were published in Nature Medicine this week.
Washington Post [Authors: Salvador Rizzo, María Luisa Paúl, Amy Cheng, and Annabelle Timsit]
‘Contactless’ Humanitarian Aid Has Its Perks, and Pitfalls
After a tsunami and volcanic eruption contaminated Tonga’s water supply last month, the government banned aid workers for fear of Covid coming to a place that had so far escaped community transmission of the virus. (It came anyway.) And because the Red Cross could not easily find a local sanitation specialist, its experts in Fiji had to offer technical support over a patchy telephone line.
New York Times [Author: Mike Ives]
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U.S. Department of Labor Schedules Meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, Feb. 22
The U.S. Department of Labor will hold a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) on Feb. 22, 2022. In conjunction with the committee meeting, the NACOSH Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group will hold its first meeting on Feb. 25, 2022. Both meetings are open to the public and will be held via teleconference and WebEx.
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.
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.
Promoting Environmental and Occupational Public Health Through Language Justice
The NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) is hosting a webinar on language justice on March 2 at 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will feature presenters that will describe why and how language should be considered in the context of racial and social justice. They will also identify the challenges, benefits, and opportunities for community-engaged research projects and programs.
EPA Releases Screening Methodology to Evaluate Chemical Exposures and Risks to Fenceline Communities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released for public comment and peer review version 1.0 of a proposed screening level methodology to evaluate potential chemical exposures and associated potential risks to fenceline communities in Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations. EPA will hold a public virtual meeting of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals on March 15-17, to peer review the screening level methodology.
Environmental Justice Online Survey
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Environmental Justice Team is building an email listserv to share news alerts, funding notices, engagement opportunities, webinars, and other informative announcements from the White House and across the Federal government. If you are interested in being a part of our Environmental Justice listserv, please complete this short online survey form by Friday, April 1.
Eighth Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in collaboration with Texas Southern University will host the in-person Eight Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference April 13-16 in New Orleans. The purpose of the conference is to bring together HBCU faculty and students, researchers, climate professionals and environmental justice and coastal community residents impacted by toxic facilities and severe weather events related to climate change.
|On The Web This Week
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New Mexico, Texas Continue Fight Against Nuclear Waste Storage in Permian Basin
New Mexico and Texas’ two-state fight against facilities to store high-level nuclear waste amid the oil rigs of the Permian Basin continued as officials from both states sought to block the facilities from operating should they ultimately be federally licensed and operational.
Carlsbad Current-Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]
‘A Real Crisis’: License Backlogs in Some States Are Preventing Health Care Workers from Seeing Patients
The health care system badly needs workers, but as the pandemic wears on, they’re facing unusually long wait times for licenses in some states, preventing them from entering the workforce. The delays are putting further strain on the country’s battered health care system hurting not just workers’ ability to make a living, but also patients’ ability to get care.
From Uranium to Dry Cleaner Chemicals, Tennessee Has Lots of Legacy Pollution. A $40M Grant Might Erase Some of It.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is proposing $40 million this year to clean up some of Tennessee’s Superfund sites, which are former facilities, dumps or mines that have leached dangerous levels of contamination into the environment. Tennessee has 29 Superfund sites and 18 of them are on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priority List.
WPLN [Author: Caroline Eggers]
Dark, Smoky Cells: As Wildfires Threaten More Prisons, the Incarcerated Ask Who Will Save Their Lives
The Dixie Fire, California’s second-largest blaze ever, had already been wreaking havoc on the main business in town: the two state prisons, each with capacities in the thousands, that call Susanville home. The wildfire had taken out power lines supplying the prisons, with the California Correctional Center’s C-Yard hit particularly hard.
The Intercept [Author: Alleen Brown]
The U.S. Army Has Released Its First-Ever Climate Strategy. Here’s What That Means.
The U.S. Army released its first climate strategy this week, an effort to brace the service for a world beset by global-warming-driven conflicts. The plan aims to slash the Army’s emissions in half by 2030; electrify all noncombat vehicles by 2035 and develop electric combat vehicles by 2050; and train a generation of officers on how to prepare for a hotter, more chaotic world.
Washington Post [Author: Michael Birnbaum and Tik Root]
|Federal Agency Update
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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposed Rule to Update Powered Industrial Trucks Standard for General Industry, Construction
The U.S. Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to improve worker safety and health by ensuring the agency’s general industry and construction industry rules reflect current industry practice and state-of-the-art technology.
U.S. Department of Labor Awards $2.9M to Assist Clean-Up, Recovery After Northern California’s 2021 Wildfires
The U.S. Department of Labor announced an initial award of $2,968,350 to support disaster-relief employment for individuals to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts, and to provide employment and training services in northern California after devastating wildfires between July and October 2021, which burned extensively throughout the national forests there.
Study: Natural Hazards Compound COVID-19 Impacts Disproportionately on Businesses Run by Minorities, Women and Vets
A study by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that businesses run by minorities, women and veterans, were dealt a much worse hand by the pandemic than other businesses. What’s more, the team saw that these businesses reported harsher downturns from COVID-19 alone than even other small businesses that were struck by natural disasters on top of COVID-19.
CEQ Publishes Draft Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, Key Component in the Implementation of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a beta version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), a major step toward addressing current and historic environmental injustices and fulfilling a key campaign promise from President Biden. The CEJST is a critical component of the President’s historic environmental justice commitments in Executive Order 14008, including the Justice40 Initiative, a commitment to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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Systems for Providing Protection from Inhalation Hazards Should Extend to the Public and Broader Groups of Workers, Says New Report
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends two frameworks for providing respiratory protection for the nation — one for workers and one for the public — a need made clear by the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly frequent wildfires.
Workplace Supported Recovery Program Webpage Update
In a Workplace Supported Recovery (WSR) Program employers use evidence-based policies and programs to reduce multiple risk factors. These include helping to prevent initial substance use to decreasing the risk for misuse and its progression to a disorder. WSR programs also take steps to help workers seek the care they need and provide assistance in recovery, to include staying at work or returning to work.
Improving Workplace Ventilation During Cold Weather
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed a tool on indoor air quality in the workplace during cold weather. Improving ventilation is a key engineering control that can be used to increase the delivery of clean air and remove or reduce the concentration of viral particles or other contaminants. Building managers may perform some steps to improve indoor air, while others should be conducted by a qualified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional.
NIEHS WTP Releases New Opioids Initiatives Document
This new document titled “Initiatives to Prevent Opioid Misuse and Promote Recovery Friendly Workplace Programs" includes summaries of opioid training conducted by organizations funded by the NIEHS WTP. It also highlights training programs, toolkits, resources, and initiatives from other agencies and organizations. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, because there are many other organizations doing important work that we may not know about.
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UAB Medicine Hiring Health Care and Support Workers
University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Medicine is now hiring for a variety of medical specialties and support services, including nursing and respiratory therapy. In addition, UAB Medicine is hiring for entry-level positions in support services such as food and nutrition, supply chain, and guest services.
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.
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