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NIEHS WTP: February 24, 2023 Newsbrief

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Weekly E-Newsbrief, February 24, 2023

Weekly E-Newsbrief

February 24, 2023

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

EPA Orders Norfolk Southern to Clean up Toxic Derailment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Norfolk Southern on Tuesday to pay for the cleanup of the East Palestine, Ohio, train wreck and chemical release as federal regulators took charge of long-term recovery efforts and promised worried residents they won’t be forgotten.

AP News [Authors: John Seewer and Michael Rubinkam]

Majority of Disabled People Never Go Home After Disasters

Advocates have been trying for years to draw attention to the harsh conditions that people with disabilities face after natural disasters. Now federal data shows that the suffering is worse than anyone could have imagined. Census Bureau data shows that people with disabilities are far more likely than anyone else to face major hardships including displacement from their homes due to a major disaster.

Climate Wire [Author: Thomas Frank]

Fentanyl Deaths Among Troops More Than Doubled From 2017 to 2021

Fatal fentanyl overdoses more than doubled from 36% of overdoses in 2017 to 88% in 2021. The data also show that while the Air Force and Army saw small increases in overall overdose deaths during that time period, those same statistics among Marines and sailors doubled.

Military Times [Author: Meghann Myers]

Cleanup Workers Got Sick After Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. They Want BP to Pay.

More than a decade after the disaster, cleanup workers are still reporting cases of respiratory illnesses, skin disorders, dizziness, and other medical issues they say were caused by the spill. Their health struggles are documented in more than 5,000 lawsuits filed against BP in federal courts in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, with some workers reporting illnesses diagnosed as recently as 2020.

Kaiser Health News [Authors: Christopher O’Donnell and Max Chesnes]

Avian Flu Strain Raises Concerns After Outbreaks Among Mammals

A highly contagious avian flu is infecting birds all over the globe. In the U.S., farmers have lost, or had to kill, over 58 million birds to try and prevent the spread of the virus. The H5N1 strain hasn’t caused any serious threat to humans, but outbreaks in some mammals raised concerns about the potential to spread further.

PBS News Hour [Authors: William Brangham and Courtney Norris]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

CPWR Women in Construction Webinar Series: Strategies to Recruit and Retain Women

In this CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training webinar, learn what inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplaces look like in the construction industry and how they can be achieved. Strategies covered will include apprenticeship readiness programs, mentorship programs, and practices such as maternity leave, inclusive PPE, sanitation, and security. The event will be held on March 8, 2023, 12:00 p.m. EST.

Event Registration

CERCLA PFAS Enforcement Listening Session

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) is hosting two public listening sessions to receive individual input on potential PFAS enforcement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The input received will be reviewed and considered by EPA in drafting a CERCLA PFAS enforcement discretion and settlement policy to the extent that PFAS cleanup enforcement efforts occur under CERCLA. The event will be held on March 14, 2023, 1:00 p.m. EDT.

Event Registration

Request for Information (RFI): Input for Developing the 2024-2028 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Strategic Plan

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) solicits input from stakeholders in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public by reviewing the goals in the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan and proposing new goals for the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan. Responses must be received by April 20, 2023.


Electronic Submission Form

Grants Notice: Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program

The U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) is issuing this solicitation to request applications for the design and management of a new Environmental Justice competitive pass-through program. The EPA will competitively select multiple pass-through entities to provide grant funds via subawards to community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible subrecipient groups representing underserved and disadvantaged communities. Application closing date will be May 31, 2023.

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

U.S. Should Scale and Spread Whole Health Care Through VA and HHS Leadership, Create Federal Center for Whole Health Innovation, Says New Report

Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should collaborate to create a national Center for Whole Health Innovation, recommends a new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report. This center should be charged with supporting, scaling, and spreading whole health care nationally across health systems — as well as with developing policies, practices, and tools to support the adoption and implementation of whole health.

National Academies News Release

Mothers of the Movement: Black Environmental Justice Activists Reflect on the Women Who Have Paved the Way

Leah Thomas discusses the Black women that were integral in the fight for clean water, air, and land. Many of these women came from communities most impacted by environmental racism. Women highlighted include past and present WTP partners such as Hazel Johnson, Beverly Wright, and Sharon Lavigne.

The 19th [Author: Daja E. Henry and Jessica Kutz]

Xylazine: What Health Agencies Need to Know

Federal agencies have been warning that xylazine, a non-opioid tranquilizer used in veterinary medicine, is infiltrating the drug supply and being mixed with other illicit substances—most commonly heroin and fentanyl. Xylazine threatens to worsen outcomes for people who use drugs and complicate the overdose prevention landscape across the country.

Astho [Authors: Stephanie Swanson and Richa Ranade]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Seeking Public Comments on Modernizing Program That Recognizes Employers Committed to Best Safety, Health Practices

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is inviting the public and workplace safety stakeholders to share their comments on how the agency can best honor companies who make exceptional commitments to workplace safety and health, and encourage others to follow.

OSHA News Release

DOE Announces $50 Million for Tribal Clean Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $50 million in funding to support clean energy technology deployment on Tribal lands. This significant investment will strengthen Tribal energy sovereignty by bolstering ongoing efforts to lower energy costs, increase energy security and resilience, and provide electric power to unelectrified buildings.

DOE News Release

U.S. Department Of Labor Awards $50M to Help 15 Colleges in 14 States Improve Equitable Access to Training for Good-Paying Jobs

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the award of $50 million in grants to help 15 community colleges in 14 states expand access to education and training for good-paying jobs and equitably meet employers’ and workers’ skill development needs.

DOL News Release

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Government Program Celebrates 25 Years of Commitment to Environmental Justice Movement – Open Access Available for a Limited Time

For over 25 years, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) has advanced principles of environmental justice by funding nonprofit organizations, or grantees, to deliver health, safety, and job training for individuals from disadvantaged communities. This article provides a brief background of the environmental justice movement and examines the efforts of grantees to demonstrate how the ECWTP model can serve as a pathway for advancing environmental justice in disadvantaged and underserved communities.

Journal Article

Exploring Mentorship in Union and Non-Union Occupational Safety and Health Training Programs

Few studies have explored mentorship's value in occupational safety and health (OSH) training that focuses on worker empowerment in blue-collar occupations. Through a university and union collaboration, the authors examined mentorship programs as a promising enhancement to ongoing OSH training to foster worker leadership development in organizations focused on worker empowerment.

Journal Article

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center Seeks an Occupational Health and Safety Program Manager

Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center seeks an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program Manager to support with planning, implementing, and reporting on Occupational Safety and Health training including construction industry OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 classes, as well as targeted topic trainings such as heat safety, fall prevention, construction safety for day laborers, and chemical safety for housekeepers and home cleaners.

Job Posting

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