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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: January 10, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, January 10, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

January 10, 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.

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

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, March 17-18. The workshop is tentatively scheduled from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.


Hiring at Hanford’s Massive Plant Targets Nation’s Most Dangerous Radioactive Waste

The initial staff has arrived at the Analytical Laboratory, the first of the four major facilities at the Hanford $17 billion vitrification plant to have a Washington state permit to operate. The inaugural team of eight chemists is setting up shop there as the plant prepares to start treating Hanford’s radioactive waste by the end of 2023. Bechtel National plans to hire 32 more chemists and laboratory staff over the next 18 months to support work at the plant’s Analytical Laboratory.

Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]

Nine Years of Research on BP Spill, Dispersants Documents Potential Human Health, Mental Health Effects

Nearly a decade of BP-funded research has uncovered a laundry list of potential health effects resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including possible links between obesity and dispersants used to break up the oil; the discovery of dangerous bacteria in tar balls still washing up on Gulf beaches; and a new understanding of the links between disasters and the mental health problems of both fishers and oilfield workers.

Nola [Author: Mark Schleifstein]

State Probes Possible Contamination at 2nd Property Linked to Ooze Site Owner

Michigan's environmental agency confirmed Jan. 3 that state officials are investigating possible chemical contamination at a property in Sanilac County reportedly owned by the same businessman who's under scrutiny for a toxic leak from a shuttered firm in Madison Heights. Jill Greenberg, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, said agency investigators will visit the site in Marion Township after receiving a report about materials stored on the property, which Gary Sayers reportedly listed as his residence. Sayers owns the Electro-Plating site where green ooze spilled onto Interstate 696 on Dec. 20.

The Detroit News [Author: Jennifer Chambers]

S.C. Legislation Would Cover First Responders’ Mental Health Issues Under Workers’ Compensation

There's a new push to help our first responders in South Carolina who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Legislation was pre-filed at the state house by a group of lawmakers who know firsthand the debilitating effects of stress and trauma. With 24-hour news in the palms of our hands, it's easier than ever to see the dangers facing our first responders. For every officer who dies in the line of duty, two take their own life. Now, a group of lawmakers who were all first responders have banded together to make sure we are protecting our protectors as well.

ABC Charleston News [Author: Anne Emerson]

A Deadly Earthquake Has Most of Puerto Rico With No Power, No Water and Residents Fear Tremors Will Bring More Destruction

Hours after a deadly 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Puerto Rico, people on the southern coast feared more homes could collapse and most of the people on the island remained without power. Jan. 6's quake - the strongest and likely the most damaging of a series of quakes that have hit the island since Dec. 28 - left a man dead, caused dozens of homes and structures to crumble and cut power and water service to swaths of the island. Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced declared a state of emergency and activated the Puerto Rico National Guard as she pleaded with people to remain calm and prepare for aftershocks.

CNN [Authors: Leyla Santiago, Nicole Chavez, and Jason Hanna]

Automotive Plant Closures May Be Linked with a Rise in Opioid Overdose Deaths, New Study Says

An automotive assembly plant closing in a U.S. county has been associated with 85% higher opioid overdose death rates among working-age adults in that county after five years, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine on Dec. 30. The study involved a database of automotive assembly plants in operation as of 1999, which researchers built using data from industry trade publications, automotive company websites and newspaper articles.


Trump Administration Says It Will Approve Largest U.S. Solar Farm

Federal officials plan to approve a massive solar farm with energy storage in the desert outside Las Vegas, paving the way for a $1-billion project that will provide electricity to Nevada residents served by billionaire Warren Buffett’s NV Energy. At 690 megawatts across 7,100 acres, the facility would generate more power than the largest solar farm currently operating in the United States, a 579-megawatt plant in Southern California.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Sammy Roth]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar: EnviroAtlas Update

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host a webinar on Jan. 15 from 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. EST on EnviroAtlas. EnviroAtlas is a data-rich, web-based decision support tool that combines maps, analysis tools, downloadable data, and informational resources. It is used by states, tribes, communities, and individuals to help inform policy and planning decisions that impact the places where we live, learn, work and play.

EPA Registration Link

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.

Call for Papers

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 in Durham, North Carolina.


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 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 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. A number of studies have shown that certain high-risk industries and occupations, such as construction and extraction, are at high risk for opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose fatalities. 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.

Call for Papers

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Pandemic Prevention Program Ending After 10 Years

After an Ebola epidemic, disease experts spent 2.5 years searching in three West African countries for viruses that endanger people. Partners in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Predict program trained local teams on biological safety and collected tens of thousands of diagnostic samples in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, especially from bats. They found a new Ebola strain—Bombali—in free-tailed bats and found the deadly Marburg virus in the region for the first time.

JAVMA News [Author: Greg Cima]

Employers Can Support Workers’ Mental Health by Training Managers: Study

Managers whose organizations provide training or information on mental health are more likely to be proactive about their workers’ psychological well-being, results of a recent study out of Sweden show. Researchers reviewed 3,358 responses to an online survey of workplace managers. The researchers sought to investigate “determinants of managerial preventive actions in relation to common mental disorders among employees.”

Safety and Health Magazine

Lawsuit: Asbestos, Mold, Fumes Make Fire Station Hazardous

A firefighter says asbestos, mold and toxic fumes inside a fire station in Alabama's largest city have sickened him and other firefighters. Birmingham firefighter Gary Michael Horsley Jr. says in a newly filed federal complaint that Fire Station 27 is continuing to put firefighters and visitors at risk. The city temporarily closed the station during the summer while an environmental company inspected it.

Associated Press [Author: Jeff Martin]

M.A. Clean Energy Industry Adds Over 1,000 Workers in 2019

The Massachusetts clean energy industry has grown for the ninth consecutive year. According to a report released by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center on Jan. 7, the state’s clean energy sector added 1,069 workers to the clean energy workforce between 2018 and 2019. Massachusetts now employs over 111,836 workers in the clean energy industry an increase of 86 percent since 2010.

Go Local Prov

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

OSHA Issues Warning About Headphones

If awareness is a powerful ally of workplace safety, distractions are its enemy— including the use of headphones to listen to music on dangerous job sites like construction projects, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s position on the question was contained in a letter of interpretation that it issued last fall in response to an employer’s query about its employees listening to music this way on a construction site.

EHS Today [Author: David Sparkman]

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana and Illicit Drugs Among Persons Aged ≥16 Years – United States, 2018

In the United States, driving while impaired is illegal. Nonetheless, an estimated 10,511 alcohol-impaired driving deaths occurred in 2018. The contribution of marijuana and other illicit drugs to these and other impaired driving deaths remains unknown. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicated that in the United States during 2014, 12.4% of all persons aged 16–25 years reported driving under the influence of alcohol, and 3.2% reported driving under the influence of marijuana.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Permanent Hair Dye and Straighteners May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not use these products, according to a team led by NIEHS scientists. The study, published online Dec. 4 in the International Journal of Cancer, suggested that breast cancer risk increased with more frequent use of these chemical hair products.

NIEHS Environmental Factor

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.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

NYCOSH Seeks Safety and Health Specialist

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is seeking a safety and health specialist to develop, coordinate and conduct safety and health campaigns in New York City for construction workers, in particular Latino day laborers. In addition to conducting training, the job includes outreach to unions, community-based organizations and institutions, liaison with unions and production and distribution of appropriate safety and health materials. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31.

Job Posting

LHSFNA Seeks Safety and Health Specialist

The Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA) is seeking a highly motivated Safety and Health Specialist to provide technical health and safety support to the members and affiliates of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). The position reports to the Director of Occupational Safety and Health. LHSFNA is a joint labor-management trust fund dedicated to enhancing jobsite health and safety, bolstering the health of Laborers and their families, boosting the competitiveness of LIUNA signatory employers, and supporting LIUNA.

Job Posting

Teamsters Seek Industrial Hygienist

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is seeking a highly motivated Industrial Hygienist in comprehensive practice to provide technical and regulatory health and safety support to Teamster members and affiliates. The position reports to the Director and Deputy Director of the IBT Safety and Health Department. The Industrial Hygienist conducts workshops, seminars, and meetings on occupational safety and health topics to Teamster membership, and drafts comments and testimony on safety and health related technical, regulatory, and policy issues.

Job Description

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