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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: July 9, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, July 9, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

July 9, 2021

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

Oregon Enacts Rules to Protect Workers as Heat Wave Death Toll Continues to Rise

As state officials report more than 100 deaths from the region-wide heatwave last week, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced she’s directing state Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) officials to enact temporary rules to protect workers from future extreme heat events.

OPB [Author: Sam Stites and Jeff Thompson]

OSHA Heat Protection Rule Lags While Record Temperatures Rise

Confronted by record-high temperatures stretching from the Pacific Northwest across the U.S., the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been relying on a 51-year-old statute as its bulwark for compelling employers to protect workers from being felled by the heat.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Fatima Hussein and Bruce Rolfsen]

In Disaster City, Texas, Rescues Are a Way of Life

Many of the men and women working around the clock in Surfside, Florida, first spent hours practicing for similar situations in Disaster City, Texas, a one-of-a-kind instructional facility that includes debris from real-world disasters.

New York Times [Author: Edgar Sandoval]

Wildfires Threaten All of the West – And One Group More Than Others

The U.S. may be facing its worst wildfire season in a century, and a new analysis of census, insurance and wildfire data show Latino residents in western states face the greatest danger. That threat to Latinos has grown in the past decade, and they are twice as likely to live in areas most threatened by wildfires relative to the overall U.S. population, according to data compiled by climate services firm risQ, which analyzes financial sector climate risk.

Politico [Author: Zack Colman]

More People Are Moving to Fire-Prone Land Without Realizing the Risk

The West is bracing for another ugly wildfire season, but many people don't realize that the threat exists all across the country. Nearly all of the United States evolved with fire, and the warming climate is amplifying the risk. As Molly Samuel of member station WABE reports, more and more people are moving to wildfire-prone land, often without realizing the danger.

NPR [Author: Emily Alfin Johnson]

Opioid Epidemic Is Raging in D.C., Treatment Centers Struggle to Stay Afloat

As news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be positive, there is another issue plaguing our nation: the opioid epidemic. In the District, treatment service providers are concerned about the future of their operations due to lack of funding, and how it might impact the ongoing crisis in the city.


Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

COVID-19 Research: Electrostatic Sprayers for Disinfectant Application

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development hosts the Emergency Response Research Webinar Series to share current research activities and results. This webinar series covers the latest information on research supporting EPA's response to chemical, biological, and radiological incidents, as well as natural disasters. The next webinar on electrostatic sprayers will be held on July 15.

Webinar Series Information

Update on OSHA Guidance for Workers Not Covered by the COVID-19 ETS

On June 10, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its guidance to help employers and workers not covered by the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) identify COVID-19 exposure risks and take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on July 18 at 1:00 p.m. ET to discuss OSHA’s guidance.

Webinar Registration

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Availability of More Than $21M in Grants for Training on Workplace Hazards, Infectious Diseases

The U.S. Department of Labor announced funding opportunities for more than $21 million in Occupational Safety and Health Administration training grants for non-profit organizations. The first availability will provide $10 million under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for Workplace Safety and Health Training on Infectious Diseases, including the Coronavirus grants. Applications are due July 19.

Application Information

Needs and Challenges in PPE Use for Underserved User Populations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests information on the needs and challenges in personal protective equipment (PPE) use for underserved user populations. The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory is expanding its portfolio to include activities that consider the needs of U.S. worker populations who are underserved related to PPE. Comments must be submitted by Aug. 23.

Federal Register

2021 National Cleanup Workshop

The National Cleanup Workshop is hosted by the Energy Communities Alliance with the cooperation of the Energy Facility Contractors Group and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM). The 2021 workshop will be held on Sept. 8-10. The workshop will bring together senior DOE executives and site officials, industry executives, and other stakeholders to discuss EM’s progress on the cleanup of the environmental legacy of the nation’s Manhattan Project and Cold War nuclear weapons program.

Meeting Registration

Brownfields 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ICMA are committed to ensuring the National Brownfields Training Conference provides the best networking and learning environment possible for the Brownfields community. Several considerations were made related to the current, and anticipated, COVID-19 situation. The event has been rescheduled from its September dates to December 8-11, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Organizations Call on EPA to Protect Communities from Climate-Driven Chemical Disasters

The Center for Progressive Reform, Earthjustice, and the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a joint call for reform in the new policy brief, released one day before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds a virtual public listening session on preventing industrial chemical disasters in which the agency has requested information on climate risks and resilience.

Center for Progressive Reform

Several Tribal Departments Complete HAZWOPER Training

Staff from Lac du Flambeau Land Management, Emergency Management, Public Health, Police and Conservation Law Departments, Tribal Natural Resources, LDF Fire Department representatives, and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission staff, participated in a Hazardous Materials Training June 7-11 here in Lac du Flambeau.

Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

The Scientist Who Found Her Voice by Listening to Workers

When Teniope Adewumi-Gunn was growing up, she remembers feeling like she had three career options: lawyer, doctor, or engineer. “You pick one of those paths and you realize the American dream,” she says, noting that it’s a familiar expectation among many children of immigrants. But partway through her premed program at California State University, San Bernardino, she began shifting her focus from the patients to the practitioners around her.

NRDC [Author: Nicole Greenfield]

Two Years After a Huge Refinery Fire in Philadelphia, a New Day Has Come for its Long-Suffering Neighbors.

Dorthia Pebbles inhaled harmful pollutants and smelled noxious odors from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery for years when she would leave her rowhome on Hoffman Street to walk to the corner store.

Inside Climate News [Author: Daelin Brown]

Environment Plays Underappreciated Role in Infectious Diseases

At a June 8-9 workshop, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) convened experts to discuss the complex relationship between the environment and pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Environmental Factor [Author: Marla Broadfoot]

Better Risk Communication Can Reduce Harmful Exposures, Experts Say

NIEHS grantees, partners, and colleagues came together to discuss how they have engaged with local groups and communicated potential health risks to reduce exposures and improve health. Hosted by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program June 21-22, the online workshop drew more than 200 participants.

Environmental Factor [Authors: Natalie Rodriguez and Adeline Lopez]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

OSHA Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it will publish a notice in the Federal Register to extend the comment period for the COVID-19 healthcare emergency temporary standard (ETS) to Aug. 20. OSHA is extending the comment period by 30 days to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment.


OSHA Revises its National Emphasis Program, Updates Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its National Emphasis Program (NEP) for COVID-19. The agency launched the NEP on March 12, 2021, to focus on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus, and on employers that engage in retaliation against employees who complain about unsafe or unhealthful conditions or exercise other rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.


Most Hanford Cleanup Workers Exposed to Hazardous Materials: Washington State Report

More than half of all current and former workers involved in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation cleanup effort have said they were exposed to hazardous materials, according to a new report from the Washington state government. The report, the last in a series from the Department of Commerce's Hanford Healthy Energy Workers Board, found that 57 percent "of all current and former workers reported being in an exposure event," with 32 percent saying they experienced "long-term exposure to hazardous materials."

The Hill

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

After Disasters, Scientific Partnership and Local Engagement Are Key

When disaster strikes, whether due to wildfires, hurricanes, chemical spills, or other calamities, it is critical to understand effects on human health and the environment. Some concerns are grounded in short-term recovery and response efforts, involving questions about whether it is safe to breathe air or drink water in an affected neighborhood.

Environmental Factor

Dr. Robert Bullard: ‘We Don’t Have 40 Years’ to Fight for Climate Justice

A recent study of industrial farming’s impact on climate change confirm what nearby communities have known for decades: The air pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is killing 16,000 people in the U.S. every year.

Civil Eats [Author: Ray Levy Uyeda]

Environmental Racism Collection 2021: Exposure and Health Inequities in Black Americans

Environmental Health Perspective compiled the first Environmental Racism Collection in the summer of 2020. As the reaction to George Floyd’s murder evolved, the collection was developed to bring a deeper understanding of what “Black Lives Matter” really means, and it has begun to grasp what authentic systemic change will require.

Environmental Health Perspective

Job OpeningsBack to Top

National COSH Seeks Worker and Network Organizer

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) is seeking a Worker and Network Organizer to contribute to its mission of ensuring safe, healthy working conditions for all workers. The Worker and Network Organizer works both independently and as part of a team to support a network of worker leaders through outreach, organizing, technical assistance, program development, and engagement. The deadline to apply is July 16.

Job Posting

National COSH Seeks Communications Coordinator

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) is seeking a bilingual Communications Coordinator to contribute to its mission of ensuring safe, healthy working conditions for all workers. The position will coordinate communications efforts in English and Spanish including social media, promotion of events, media relations, and support the organization to maintain the highest quality communication practices. The deadline to apply is July 16.

Job Posting

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