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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: July 31, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, July 31, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

July 31, 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

How the Government Is Removing the Brookhaven Plume Shows Possible Future for Nassau

Long Island’s largest mass of carcinogenic groundwater pollution, the Grumman plume is expanding a foot a day from Bethpage toward the Great South Bay, centerpiece of the region’s South Shore estuary system. The spread of its 24 contaminants, most notably the cancer-causing solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, contrasts markedly with the shrinking of a similarly toxic groundwater plume from the property of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, 35 miles east.

Newsday [Authors: Paul LaRocco and David M. Schwartz]

NRDC Report: How Climate Crisis Threatens Worker Health and Safety, Both Outdoors and Inside

A new report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) warns that the health and safety of workers across the country, both indoors and outdoors, is increasingly at risk from excessive heat, increasing air and water pollution, spreading infectious diseases, extreme weather, challenges to their mental health and other impacts from climate change.


NRDC Report

Arizona Train Derailment and Fire Described as 'A Scene From Hell'

One person was treated for smoke inhalation after a Union Pacific train derailed and caught fire on a bridge over Tempe Town Lake in Arizona, officials said on July 29. Plumes of black smoke could be seen rising into the sky beneath a trail of flames on video and images from the site of the derailment, where part of the bridge collapsed. The National Transportation Safety Board said via Twitter that it would investigate but that it was not traveling to the crash site at this time.

CNN [Authors: Ray Sanchez and Hira Humayun]

Deepwater Horizon Still Plagues the Health of Children a Decade Later

Research published in the journal, Environmental Hazards, shows that children who grew up in the Gulf during the spill and its aftermath also experienced lasting physical and emotional effects. In 2014, researchers from Columbia University surveyed over 700 parents living in areas of coastal Louisiana that were most affected by the spill. This included the New Orleans metropolitan area, which is 35% Black and 9% Hispanic; 17.5% of the population lives below the poverty line while the national rate is 13.1%.

One Zero [Author: Drew Costley]

Coastal Commission Paves Way for Nuclear Waste Storage at San Onofre

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) enters a new phase. Last week, in a unanimous vote of 10-0, the California Coastal Commission approved an inspection and maintenance program that will allow Southern California Edison to continue to store spent nuclear fuel and waste on-site.

San Clemente Times [Author: Jake Howard]

No DOE Cleanup Sites Entering Third Stage of Restart as COVID Cases Climb

The number of active cases of COVID-19 among U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear cleanup personnel rose substantially this week, and some industry sources suspect this is slowing a return to normal operations at former Cold War and Manhattan Project sites. There were 94 active cases as of July 23 within the DOE Office of Environmental Management complex, a representative said. The count at the end of the previous week was 66.

Exchange Monitor [Author: Wayne Barber]

California Workplace Safety Rules Are Likely to Change Due to Coronavirus Fears

With many of California’s workplaces facing significant changes fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers are considering whether labor laws need to evolve too. Legislators have proposed expanding workers’ compensation eligibility so that more employees will be covered if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, increasing the number of sick days for food service workers and requiring employers to pay a portion of utility and internet bills for teleworkers.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Melody Gutierrez]

Sixth Case of COVID-19 Reported at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Near Carlsbad

A worker at the Waste Isolation Pilot was reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 on July 28 after falling ill earlier this month. The case was the sixth positive test reported for a worker at the nuclear waste repository and the second employed by contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership.

Carlsbad Current-Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

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 AIHA. 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

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

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 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field. The closing date is Sept. 22.

EPA EWDJT Information

Request for Information on Federal Coordination To Promote Economic Mobility for All Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is publishing this Request for Information (RFI) to seek public input on the development of a federal interagency Council on Economic Mobility (Council). HHS and the Council will analyze information collected in this RFI to gather feedback from our stakeholders to better inform the Council's priorities and how the Council can promote economic mobility, recovery, and resilience.

Federal Register

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

Physical Stress on the Job Linked With Brain and Memory Decline in Older Age

A new study out of Colorado State University has found that physical stress in one's job may be associated with faster brain aging and poorer memory. The study connected occupational survey responses with brain-imaging data from 99 cognitively normal older adults, age 60 to 79. They found that those who reported high levels of physical stress in their most recent job had smaller volumes in the hippocampus and performed poorer on memory tasks.

Science Direct

Disaster Relief For The Elderly And Disabled Is Already Hard. Now Add A Pandemic

In a natural disaster, shelters quickly get crowded with people and families in cots set close together. To enable social distancing, new federal guidelines recommend adding more space per person, meaning that fewer people can fit into any one shelter. Even before the pandemic, most counties in Florida, for example, reported they were already short on space for people with disabilities.

KPBS [Author: Joseph Shapiro]

NYU School of Global Public Health to Study Impact of COVID-19 on Transit Workers

New York University (NYU) School of Global Public Health is embarking on a series of studies to evaluate the risks and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on one of the city’s essential workforces: transit workers. This research will be conducted in coordination with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, representing more than 40,000 New York City bus and subway workers.


As Factories Reopen, What Role Can AI Play in Worker Safety?

As the country begins to slowly reopen from the COVID-19 lockdown, many people are heading back to work. While this is great for the nation’s supply chains and overall economy, a growing concern exists for an increase in the risk of transmission and the likelihood of cluster outbreaks within the workforce.

Industry Week

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Revised Rule Concerning OSHA Access to Employee Medical Records

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised the Rules of Agency Practice and Procedure Concerning Occupational Safety and Health Administration Access to Employee Medical Records. The rule describes internal procedures that OSHA personnel must follow when obtaining and using personally-identifiable employee medical information.


CSB Release Factual Update into Fatal Incident in Odessa Texas

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), released a factual update detailing the events surrounding an Oct. 26, 2019, hydrogen sulfide release at a water flood station in Odessa, Texas. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, and toxic gas that is present in the area’s oil and gas reservoirs. The site is operated by Aghorn Operating, Inc. (Aghorn).


FDA Requiring Labeling Changes for Opioid Pain Medicines, Opioid Use Disorder Medicines Regarding Naloxone

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is requiring that labeling for opioid pain medicine and medicine to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) be updated to recommend that as a routine part of prescribing these medicines, health care professionals should discuss the availability of naloxone with patients and caregivers, both when beginning and renewing treatment.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

NYU School of Global Public Health Creates COVID-19 Safety Training for Rideshare Drivers

New York University’s School of Global Public Health (NYU GPH) is teaming up with the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) to increase the safety of rideshare drivers and passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic. NYU GPH environmental and occupational health experts are developing training programs and targeted protocols focused on evidence-based COVID-19 safety practices and tailored for rideshare drivers and passengers.


(The Right) Learning Modalities To Deliver Digital Learning: Part 1

Digital learning modalities are the technologies and tools that we can use to teach and learn online. But which should you use? There are many ways of categorizing digital tools that are made for or can be used for teaching and learning, but a very common way is asynchronous and synchronous.

eLearning Industry

Job OpeningsBack to Top

OSHA Seeks Supervisory Industrial Hygienist

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is hiring a supervisory industrial hygienist position based in Washington, DC. The position will oversee and manage OSHA’s health enforcement program. He or she will be responsible for enforcement activities that include hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protection, workplace noise, hazardous waste cleanup operations, hazards covered by existing substance-specific OSHA health standards. The deadline to apply is Aug. 18.

Job Posting

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