June 4, 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 Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
|Top Stories||Back to Top|
NIH Disaster Research Response Program Launches New Website
For more than 20 years, NIEHS has played a lead role in our nation’s health research following oil spills, hurricanes, and other environmental calamities. Now, the institute is providing a new home for the Disaster Research Response (DR2) program and its vast collection of web-based resources needed for scientists to conduct vital and timely public health research in the aftermath of disasters.
Environmental Factor [Author: Carol Kelly]
Sharon Beard Recognized by American Industrial Hygiene Association
Sharon Beard, Acting Chief of the NIEHS Worker Training Program has received the 2021 Rachel Carson Award from the American Industrial Hygiene Association. The honor is conferred in recognition of the recipient’s outstanding work in environmental and industrial health and safety.
Environmental Factor [Author: John Yewell]
Idaho Waste Site Receives Final Shipment
The largest waste disposal site at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has received its final shipment of radioactive waste, meaning work can now begin on the closure of the facility. Separately, the DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) has announced the award of a $6.4 billion cleanup contract for INL's site near Idaho Falls.
Navajos Voice Concern Over Plan to Transfer Uranium Waste
U.S. nuclear regulators are considering a licensing change proposed by a uranium company that would clear the way for 1 million cubic yards (765,000 cubic meters) of waste to be transferred from a mining area in western New Mexico to a mill site a short distance away as part of a cleanup effort. But indigenous activists and nuclear watchdogs say the proposal doesn’t go far enough in protecting the area and surrounding Navajo communities from more contamination.
AP News [Author: Susan Montoya Bryan]
With the World Focused on Reducing Methane Emissions, Even Texas Signals a Crackdown on ‘Flaring’
In 2016, Apache Corp., a large oil company based in Houston, announced finding massive quantities of oil and natural gas in a huge shale field it called Alpine High. The company started drilling test wells, releasing polluting gases into the atmosphere. Some residents worried that the fracking would damage the natural springs that fed Balmorhea’s famous swimming pool, while others obsessed over the air. For vulnerable people, a sudden change in air quality can have disastrous effects on their quality of life.
Inside Climate News [Author: Jonathan Moens]
Network of Companies Looking to Move Fracking Wastewater in Barges Up and Down Pittsburgh’s Rivers
Millions of gallons of briny, toxic, wastewater from shale gas drilling and fracking operations could soon be loaded onto barges and pushed down the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. A loose network of river tank terminal and barge companies has floated plans to begin shipping wastewater containing petroleum condensates, cancer-causing chemicals, and radioactive material, between as many as seven river terminal sites spread out over hundreds of miles of the region’s major waterways.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Author: Don Hopey]
Below Aging U.S. Dams, a Potential Toxic Calamity
A 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan research arm of the U.S. Congress, found roughly 3 percent of the nation’s dams are federally owned, including some of the country’s largest, with the rest owned and operated by public utilities, state and local governments, and private owners. The report estimated that half of all dams were over 50 years old, including many that were built to now obsolete safety standards.
Undark [Authors: James Dinneen and Alexander Kennedy]
Mothers Fought to Save Their Community, Louisianans Still Need the Lesson
In the late 1980s, a group of mothers formed a political organization called South Louisiana Against Pollution. The women attended meetings and petitioned officials to prevent their families and communities from being poisoned with the largest handler of hazardous waste in the country and won their fight. Their work taking on Marine Shale Processors in Morgan City led to a federal lawsuit. It took about a decade to get it closed, followed by another 15 years to get the site cleaned up.
Monroe News Star [Author: Bonnie Bolden]
Historic Black Town in Maryland Seeks Justice for Stormwater Discharge
A Maryland power plant has been releasing stormwater for years into a small Patuxent River town founded in the late 1920s as a vacation resort for Black professionals. A resident of the town, Eagle Harbor, spotted a culvert in a wooded area earlier this year that appears to feed stormwater from a Pepco-controlled portion of the Chalk Point generating station into the town’s drainage system.
|Calendar Features||Back to Top|
Exploring the Future of Worker Health and Safety in the Post-Pandemic World
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series is hosting a webinar on the occupational safety and health challenges facing workers in the post-pandemic world. The speakers will include Gary Childress, Oil States Energy Services, Barbara Dawson, DuPont, Brian Fielkow, JetCo, and Paul Riley, Agriculture Safety and Health Council of America. The webinar will be held on June 9 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Stigma of Addiction Summit
The National Academy of Medicine, Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, and Shatterproof are pleased to announce the Stigma of Addiction Summit on June 10. It is a half-day, virtual, action-oriented summit entirely dedicated to understanding, addressing, and eliminating the harmful impacts of stigma on people who use drugs. The goal of the Summit is to elevate current efforts at reducing stigma, identifying successes and gaps in the evidence base, and prioritizing and identifying areas for future research.
Overview of EPA’s Climate Change Indicators
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a major update, expansion, and enhancement of its Climate Change Indicators in the United States website. This webinar will explore the new website, which 54 indicators (140 figures). The indicators show clear evidence of changes to our climate reflected in rising temperatures and sea level, increases in drought conditions, heat waves, and wildfires, among many other climate-related changes. The webinar will be held on June 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Ventilation for COVID-19: An Overview
The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is hosting a webinar on basic ventilation principles, including infection control, using mechanical and natural ventilation systems, and industrial ventilation technology. This webinar will explore the ways ordinary ventilation design should be modified in order to build systems that can be easily adapted to address hazards ranging from a local infectious diseases outbreak to the next pandemic. The webinar will be held on June 17 at 3:00-5:00 p.m. ET.
SRP Risk Communication Strategies to Reduce Exposures and Improve Health
This virtual workshop on June 21-22, sponsored by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), will bring together SRP grantees, partners, and colleagues to discuss strategies to communicate potential health risks with the goals of preventing and reducing exposures, and improving health.
Climate and Heat: Trends, Health Impacts and Risks
This webinar will highlight information on observed U.S. trends from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Change Indicators and future conditions based on EPA’s Climate Impacts and Risk Analysis efforts. The presentation will feature recent science on extreme heat and health impacts including from the U.S. Global Change Research Program and EPA research on climate vulnerability and heat islands. It will be held on June 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Request for Information on Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern for the National Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative
NIEHS on behalf of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, requests input from all interested parties on research needed to identify, analyze, monitor, and mitigate drinking water contaminants of emerging concern. Comments provided through this Request for Information will inform the development of a National Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative. The comment period closes June 24.
OSHA Issues a Notice of Informal Hearing to Discuss Updates to the Agency's Hazard Communication Standard
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a notice of informal hearing on the agency's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The hearing will begin Sept. 21, at 10 a.m., ET, and will be held virtually. If necessary, the hearing will continue from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. ET. Additional information on how to access the informal hearing will be posted on OSHA's Proposed Rulemaking to Amend the Hazard Communication Standard webpage.
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.
Save the Dates for 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.
|On The Web This Week||Back to Top|
Environmental Protection Agency Reminds EHS Pros and Facility Operators to Get Ready for Hazardous Weather
June marks the beginning of hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Facility operators and EHS professionals are reminded to review requirements for minimizing, preventing, and reporting chemical releases in preparation for such hazardous weather.
EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Lisa Whitley Coleman]
Study Blames Climate Change For 37% Of Global Heat Deaths
More than one-third of the world’s heat deaths each year are due directly to global warming, according to the latest study to calculate the human cost of climate change. But scientists say that's only a sliver of climate's overall toll — even more people die from other extreme weather amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought — and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures.
Baytown Sun [Author: Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer]
Michigan Revises COVID-19 Emergency Rules, Withdraws Permanent Rulemaking
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced updates to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) COVID-19 emergency rules, reflecting new public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health officials. MIOSHA announced its draft permanent rules have been withdrawn, and a public hearing on the permanent rules has been canceled.
EHS Daily Advisor [Author: Guy Burdick]
Most Vaccinated California Workers Must Keep Masks On
On June 3, conflicted California workplace regulators approved controversial rules that allow workers to go maskless only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. But the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board made clear that the regulations are only a stopgap while they consider further easing pandemic rules in coming weeks or months.
AP News [Author: Don Thompson]
|Federal Agency Update||Back to Top|
U.S. Energy Secretary Visits Houston to Tout Clean Energy Jobs Plan
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited Houston to tout a federal clean energy jobs plan, in her first trip outside Washington since taking office. Granholm toured Air Liquide's hydrogen production facility in La Porte, then visited the Greentown Labs clean energy incubator in Midtown Houston. She hosted a roundtable at the latter stop, listening to the concerns of members of Congress, Houston's mayor, and a variety of business and nonprofit leaders and researchers.
Houston Public Media [Author: Andrew Schneider]
Hazardous Waste Cleanup Focus of Federal Roundtable
Leaders from NIEHS and ten other federal agencies discussed innovative strategies to tackle emerging challenges related to hazardous waste cleanup as part of Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable (FRTR) webinars, held May 19 and May 26. The meeting brought together senior leaders of the agencies’ remediation programs and attracted more than 350 stakeholders, including individuals from academia and engineering firms.
Environmental Factor [Author: Mali Velasco]
U.S. Department of Labor schedules meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
The U.S. Department of Labor has scheduled a meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health from 1-5 p.m. ET, June 22, via teleconference and WebEx. The tentative agenda will include an update from Occupational Safety and Health Administration Acting Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick, remarks from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Director Dr. John Howard and discussions about occupational safety and health issues and NACOSH’s previous work.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning||Back to Top|
WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and Workshop Materials Are Now Available
The WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and Workshop, "Using Best Practices to Sustain Training Programs During COVID-19 and Other Disasters," was held in April 2021. While we heard many stories of challenges and frustration during the COVID-19 pandemic, people adapted to overcome gaps in worker training and protection. The workshop reviewed the best practices of WTP, awardees, and partnering organizations to sustain training programs during COVID-19 and other disaster preparedness and response efforts. Presentations are now available. Recordings will be coming soon.
Dangers of Working in the Heat
Every year, dozens of workers die and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions. There are a range of heat illnesses, and they can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. A new heat safety poster developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emphasizes the importance of allowing workers to gradually build up a tolerance to higher temperatures.
|Job Openings||Back to Top|
OSHA Seeks Industrial Hygienist
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking an industrial hygienist to conduct training in wide range of complex occupational health subject matter at basic and advanced levels. The role will also conduct equipment and process demonstrations in laboratory, training site, other field-staged locations. The position is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and applications are being accepted through June 11.
Howard University Seeks Environmental Health and Safety Specialist
Howard University seeks an environmental health and safety specialist to investigate, recognize, and evaluate air-related hazards and recommend controls, including include air contaminants, and chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards. Howard University is a comprehensive, research-oriented, historically Black private university based in Washington, DC.
|We Want Your Feedback||Back to Top|