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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: July 24, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, July 24, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

July 24, 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

Chemical Safety Details Withheld From Public, EPA Concedes

Details were removed from some chemical manufacturers’ safety data sheets before they were handed over to a coalition of environmental health groups suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency conceded in a recent court filing. Safety data in some premanufacture notices, or PMNs, “were redacted or partially redacted” the agency told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 20 in its reply to a complaint that was amended in June.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Pat Rizzuto]

Anti-Terrorism Chemical Safety Bill Heads for White House Under Cloud

A bipartisan bill extending the Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards program cleared the U.S. House and now heads to the White House. Created in 2007, the program is intended to heighten security practices at chemical plants subject to U.S. Department of Homeland Security oversight, with the objective of keeping more than 300 substances out of the hands of terrorists.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Fatima Hussein]

New Report Recommends National Framework to Strengthen Evidence on Effective Responses to Public Health Emergencies, Says Current Evidence Base Is Deficient

Research and funding priorities tend to shift from one disaster to the next, which has resulted in a sparse evidence base and hampers the nation’s ability to respond to public health emergencies in the most effective way, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It recommends the creation of a National Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (PHEPR) Science Framework.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Coronavirus Shut Down Water Monitoring At A Radioactive Waste Site For Months

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided a list of sites across the country that suspended normally required monitoring and reporting of what they discharge into local watersheds under the Clean Water Act. Facilities with discharge permits were allowed to pause their water pollution reporting under a temporary policy that halted enforcement of the country’s major environmental laws due to the coronavirus pandemic. Among them was Technical Area 54, part of Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico.

Forbes [Author: Eric Mack]

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Take Center Stage as the Nation Responds to COVID-19 and Systemic Racism

Most U.S. colleges and universities are struggling to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Historically Black Colleges and Universities, known as HBCUs, are facing their own unique challenges. HBCUs primarily serve communities that are being hit especially hard by the pandemic, as Black Americans are far more likely to be infected and to die from COVID-19, and are also more likely to suffer unemployment or economic consequences from shutdowns and mass layoffs.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Virginia Poultry Workers See Victory In New COVID-19 Protection Rules

Virginia became the first state in the nation last week to require businesses to protect workers from the coronavirus. The state's new emergency temporary standards obligate businesses to give out personal protective equipment, mandate social distancing guidelines and put in place response plans and training for workers, among other measures.

NPR [Authors: Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Christianna Silva]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Contact Tracing and Testing: Intersection Between Occupational and Public Health

Register now for the next webinar in the NIEHS WTP COVID-19 Summer Webinar Series. This webinar, being held Aug. 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET is co-sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. It will explore considerations for performing COVID-19 outbreak investigations, SARS-CoV-2 contact tracing, serum testing, and infection screening. The panelists will provide unique perspectives on the opportunities and challenges with conducting these important public health functions and how they apply today in the workplace. Hear from leaders that are doing it and the experiences, frustrations, and successes they have had.

Webinar Registration

COVID-19 in Pediatrics

The Alabama Fire College Workplace Safety Training Program and the Deep South Biosafety Worker Training Program is hosting a webinar on July 28 at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will discuss COVID-19 in pediatric patients specifically focusing on their pre-hospital management with a target audience of first responders.

Webinar Registration

COVID19 Webinar Series: School Reopenings

As pressure mounts for schools to reopen this fall, awareness is growing of the need for specific plans on how schools will not just open, but stay open, by protecting the health of children and their families, teachers, administrators and school staff. In this webinar, Founder and Executive Director of the Healthy Schools Network, Claire Barnett, will discuss the recently released National Call to Action for state public health agencies to provide all schools an authoritative School Infection Prevention and Control Plan to adopt. The webinar will be held on July 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Addressing Health Disparities: What Health Practitioners and Adult Educators Can Do Together Webinar

The Open Door Collective (ODC) is hosting a webinar with presenters Marcia Hohn, Greg Smith, and Paul Jurmo that will draw on ODC health-related publications to discuss why and how health educators, healthcare providers, and other supporters of community health can collaborate in various ways with adult basic skills programs, especially now in the time of COVID-19. The webinar will be held on Aug. 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information

Webinar Registration

Special Issue Call for Papers on Disaster, Infrastructure, and Participatory Knowledge

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice seeks papers for a special issue. The issue encourages a broad array of researchers, practitioners and disciplines beyond both science and technology studies on the topics of disaster research and critical disaster studies, public health, and research on humanitarian relief and refugees. The deadline to submit papers is Aug. 16.

Citizen Science

National Environmental Justice Public Teleconference Meeting

The National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee will convene a public teleconference meeting on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20 starting each day at 3:00 p.m. ET. The meeting discussion will focus on several topics including, but not limited to, action items from the Feb. 25-27 public meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, and discussion and deliberation of a charge related to the reuse and revitalization of Superfund and other contaminated sites.

Meeting Registration

Brownfields 2021: Call for Ideas Now Open!

The Brownfields 2021 Call for Ideas is now open. Please submit ideas for dynamic educational sessions in Oklahoma City that will motivate brownfields stakeholders to engage, learn, and share their experiences and knowledge of community revitalization challenges and solutions. Submissions must be received by Aug. 24 for consideration.

More Information

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Workplace – Risk Factors and Solutions

New Solutions seeks manuscripts on the subject of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its occupational and environmental health policy impacts from the local to international levels. The journal is accepting a variety of topics and article types. The extended deadline to submit manuscripts is now Aug. 31.

Call for Papers

New Request for Applications to Support Equitable Development & Environmental Justice in Brownfields Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to provide direct technical assistance to communities nationwide on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development when developing solutions to brownfields cleanup and revitalization challenges. The application submission deadline is Sept. 21. An information webinar will be held on Aug. 3.


Webinar Link

Call for Papers JOEH Special Issue May 2021

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) is proposing a special issue for next May 2021. AIHA will host a special topic issue in May 2021, the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, focusing on a myriad of issues and solutions associated with health equity in the workplace. The deadline to submit is Oct. 30.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

How the Military Could End Up Following State-Proposed PFAS Limits

Michigan is close to enacting new, tougher standards for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. Meanwhile, a provision in the U.S. House version of the Pentagon budget could force the military to abide by the new state standards when the military agrees to clean up PFAS contamination near former military sites in the state. Some military facilities in Michigan are sources of PFAS contamination, including the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda, and the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County.

Michigan Radio [Author: Tyler Scott]

Green Jobs Can Be Just as Good as Fossil Fuel Jobs

Conversations about jobs and the environment tend to play out along predictable lines: Fossil fuel jobs are havens of well-paid, unionized employment, so the story goes. Any move away from them will place an undue burden on workers in those sectors—leading many to advocate for a longer decarbonization timeline than climate scientists say the world needs.

New Republic [Author: Kate Aronoff]

NIEHS Grantees Construct New Database to Facilitate Nanomaterial Research

The July 2020 issue of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Environmental Factor includes an item on a new database that facilitates nanomaterial research. According to the article, NIEHS grantees constructed PubVINAS, “a large database of structure, chemical property, and activity information on 705 nanomaterials, covering 11 material types.”

National Law Review

American Public Health Association Launches New Spanish-Language Resource Hub at for Public, Policymakers is a Spanish-language resource that shares up-to-date, science-based information and tools from credible sources. Topics include guidance on reopening, personal and community prevention tips, workplace safety guidance, and recommendations for safe voting and returning to school. It is the sister site to, an English-language site that was launched last month.

COVID-19 Posing Difficult Choices for Wisconsin’s Immigrant Workers

As COVID-19 uproots businesses and lives across the country, Wisconsin’s essential front-line workers, including thousands of immigrants, remain among the most vulnerable. Many immigrant workers must decide: Stay at home and risk losing a paycheck or go to work but risk the coronavirus. That decision is further complicated because many lack health care coverage. [Authors: Shirin Ali and Anabel Mendoza]

Amazon Warehouse Worker Alleges Retaliation for Safety Activism

An Inc. warehouse worker in Shakopee, Minnesota, has accused the company of retaliating against her for protesting what she says are unsafe working conditions during the pandemic. In a letter to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Hibaq Mohamed said managers were demanding that she account for time away from her workstation -- including increments of less than three minutes.

Bloomberg Quint [Author: Spencer Soper]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Announces Grant to Support Safe Pesticide Use Outreach

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a grant opportunity for projects that promote safe pesticide use. The recipient will receive an estimated $1.2 million to conduct public engagement outreach through a 5-year cooperative agreement. Nonprofits, universities and tribal and state governments are eligible to apply until Sept. 16.


Do You Have Work-Related Asthma?

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created a new fact sheet on work-related asthma. The guide helps workers figure out if they have work-related asthma and what they can do about it. If you have a cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or chest tightness, you might have work-related asthma.

OSHA Fact Sheet

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

CPWR Addressing COVID-19’s Health Disparities Webinar Series

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on minorities who have an increased risk of getting COVID-19 and experiencing severe illness. In 2019, 30.4% of construction workers were Hispanic, compared to 17.7% of workers in all industries. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) will host this webinar on how to address minority and ethnic groups at risk for COVID-19 with effective health and safety messaging. The webinar will be held on July 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Worker's Mental Health Training Series

The Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH) and the Northeast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH) is hosting a series of webinars on worker mental health during the pandemic. The first, “Mental Health during COVID-19: How Do We Cope?”, will be held on July 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Minimizing Workplace Exposures through Design and Engineering Controls Webinar Recording

The NIEHS Worker Training Program hosted a webinar on July 1, which featured a panel of speakers discussing how occupational exposures to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 can be prevented through building, workplace, and job design using engineering controls such as architectural features, physical barriers, local and general dilution ventilation, directional airflow, ultraviolet radiation, and filtration. The webinar recording and presentations are now available.

NIEHS COVID-19 Webinars and Presentations

Job OpeningsBack to Top

CSB Seeks Chemical Incident Investigator

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is hiring a chemical incident investigator. The position serves as an expert in industrial chemical safety and nationwide incident investigation and analysis of major incidents involving the accidental release of hazardous materials and, developing and presenting reports with safety recommendations for adopting by the Board. The deadline to apply is July 27.

Job Posting

Position Available at National Education Association to Address Pandemic

The National Education Association (NEA) seeks a occupational health and safety consultant. The position will support NEA and its affiliates’ pandemic response by designing and implementing a pandemic occupational safety and health program for the largest union in America. Programmatic functions will include identifying and alerting NEA and its affiliates to developments in the fast moving research on COVID-19, the transmission of the novel coronavirus, and the effectiveness of various mitigation strategies. The deadline to apply is July 30.

Job Posting

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