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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: June 12, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, June 12, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

June 12, 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

NIH Names Rick Woychik Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has appointed Richard (Rick) P. Woychik, Ph.D., as director of NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Dr. Woychik served as acting director of the NIEHS since October 2019 and officially began his new role as the NIEHS director on June 7, 2020.


States Consider Bevy of Bills to Regulate Toxic PFAS Chemicals

A flurry of bills introduced in recent months shows that states aren’t waiting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set federal standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). State legislators from Minnesota to Delaware have written bills that would set maximum contaminant levels for PFAS, provide funds for cleaning up drinking water, or ban the distribution of PFAS entirely.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Andrew Wallender]

Population of Top 10 Counties for Disasters: 81% Minority

Communities with large minority populations are among the most vulnerable in the U.S. to the effects of climate change and could become more threatened as the coronavirus pandemic weakens their resilience to disasters, according to experts and federal data. It's the result of long-lived policies that clustered minorities in undesirable areas such as floodplains and denied them amenities like green spaces and tree canopies that can mitigate some effects of climate change.

E&E News [Author: Thomas Frank]

FDA Says Some Masks Made in China Shouldn’t Be Reused

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 7 changed its policy on decontamination for some N95 masks mainly used by health professionals, saying certain masks made in China should not be reused. Shortages of N95 masks in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic have prompted loosening of some rules by the FDA in the form of emergency use authorizations.

New York Times [Author: James Gorman]

Idaho Sees an Influx of Coronavirus Infections Among Health Care Workers

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) has reported a notable jump in the number of health care workers infected with the coronavirus. The number of health care workers currently being monitored with COVID-19 is unknown, but IDHW lists a total of 341 workers who have contracted the virus as of June 6. That’s an increase of 23 workers since June 4.

Idaho Statesmen [Author: Rachel Roberts]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

National Tribal Toxics Council Technical Support Request for Applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) is announcing a five year assistance agreement to eligible applicants to provide technical support to OPPT's National Tribal Toxics Council (NTTC) in order to represent tribal interests in the development and implementation of chemical risk assessment, risk management and pollution prevention programs. Applications are due on June 15.


Safety 2020 Is Now Virtual

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) presents Safety 2020: Virtual. Now more than ever, safety professionals need access to the valuable training, networking, knowledge and skills that Safety 2020 provides. ASSP has a long-standing reputation of delivering top-quality occupational safety and health education that members can immediately put into practice. The event will be held June 23-25.

Safety 2020 Information

OSHA and DOT Request Public Input in Advance of International Meetings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration plan to hold public meetings on June 24, in advance of July meetings. The purpose of the June 24 public meetings is to discuss proposals and receive input for the July meetings. Both June 24 meetings will be convened virtually and are open to the public.

Meeting Information

EPA Environmental Justice Grants Opportunity to Address COVID-19 Impacts Faced by Vulnerable Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $1 million in grant funding available to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for projects to improve the health and welfare of low income, minority, tribal and indigenous communities. EPA will give special consideration to those applications aimed at addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic communities with EJ concerns. The deadline to apply is June 30.


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. Manuscripts can be submitted immediately and for the foreseeable future. Accepted papers will be published as quickly as possible.

Call for Papers

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Lake Ontario ‘Aquatic Landfill’ to Contain 150-Year-Old Toxic Blob From Industrial Pollution

A $139-million underwater box the size of six city blocks is being built to contain an underwater contaminated zone in Hamilton’s Randle Reef for some 200 years. While critics point out the answer to the steel town’s historic pollution shouldn’t be found in making more steel, others say the technique should be considered for other toxic sites in Canadian waters.

The Narwhal

'Sea Change:' Advanced Reactors Spur Look at Recycling Waste

The nuclear industry's push for the next generation of reactors is spurring a renewed look at reusing nuclear waste as reactor fuel, rather than burying it. The implications of such a move have the potential to upend decades of nuclear waste management and global nonproliferation strategies. It also highlights a debate about safety and cost issues from recycling — longtime concerns that advocates say can be overcome.

E&E News [Author: Jeremy Dillion]

California’s COVID-19 Presumptions Could Mean Big Costs for Workers’ Comp

According to California’s Governor, Gavin Newsome, and Executive Order N-62-20 he recently signed, any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, the executive order says an employee can access workers’ compensation benefits so long as they test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of performing “labor of services” at their place of work.

Risk and Insurance

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Face Coverings, Surgical Masks and Respirators in the Workplace

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a series of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the use of masks in the workplace. The new guidance outlines the differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators.


Guidance for Law Enforcement and First Responders Administering Naloxone

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a Guidance for Law Enforcement and First Responders Administering Naloxone in the context of COVID-19. SAMHSA recognizes the concerns about COVID-19 exposure and recommends the following to promote first responder safety for intranasal naloxone and intermuscular naloxone.


U.S. Department of Labor Schedules Advisory Committee On Construction Safety and Health Meeting

The U.S. Department of Labor has scheduled a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) via teleconference and WebEx on Wednesday, July 1 at 12:00 p.m. The meeting will include an update on key Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiatives from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.


DOE Issues Decision on Disposal of Depleted Uranium Oxide from Kentucky and Ohio Plants

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a formal Record of Decision (ROD) for the safe shipment and disposal of depleted uranium oxide from former gaseous diffusion plants in Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky. The decision reinforces the department’s commitment to the safe and effective management and disposition of materials from its cleanup sites.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

COVID-19 – Updates on CDC Guidance Webinar

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hosting a webinar on June 17 at 2:00 p.m. COVID-19 has created a new occupational health hazard for all types of workers, including those in the construction industry. This webinar will hear from experts to better understand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance on protecting workers.


Safe Cleaning and Disinfecting Training Announcement

Connecticut Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Northeast NY Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health, with support from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health have joined efforts to provide a training on Safe Cleaning and Disinfecting. The training will discuss ways you can keep yourself safe if you are cleaning and disinfecting during an infectious disease outbreak.

June 15 3:30-5 p.m. ET Training

June 16 1:30-3 p.m. ET Training

COVID-19 Prompts Development of New Training for Essential, Returning Workers

Jonathan Rosen, MS, CIH, FAIHA, provided an overview of new training tools developed by the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training and intended for workers in industries with the potential for exposure to COVID-19. The tool seeks to teach participants about the risk factors for work-related exposure to COVID-19, workers’ rights related to health and safety in the workplace, and strategies for protecting mental health during the pandemic.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

NIEHS WTP COVID-19 Training Tools

Job OpeningsBack to Top

CPWR Seeks Training Specialist

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is hiring a training specialist, who will work as part of a team to ensure the delivery of CPWR’s Construction Consortium for Hazardous Waste Training and National Resource Center (NRC) courses remains at the highest quality.

Job Posting

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