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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: March 2, 2018 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, March 2, 2018

Weekly E-Newsbrief

March 2, 2018

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

Hurricane Recovery Support in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

As communities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Maria and Irma, the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) is developing local expertise to deliver health and safety training, and foster resilience. Using experiences from previous disasters, WTP grantees and NIEHS staff are partnering with local organizations to assess needs of residents and increase the number of trainees in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Environmental Factor [Author: Kenda Freeman]

Black Lung Disease Comes Storming Back in Coal Country

Federal investigators identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung cases ever officially recorded. More than 400 coal miners frequenting three clinics in southwestern Virginia between 2013 and 2017 were found to have complicated black lung disease, an extreme form characterized by dense masses of scar tissue in the lungs. The cluster, identified following an investigation by National Public Radio, adds to a growing body of evidence that a new black lung epidemic is emerging in central Appalachia.

The New York Times [Author: Nadja Popovich]

Federal Watchdog Identifies New Workplace Safety Problems at Los Alamos Lab

Los Alamos National Laboratory has failed to keep track of a toxic metal used in nuclear weapons production, potentially exposing workers to serious health consequences, a federal watchdog has found. The New Mexico lab’s failure to adequately track beryllium — small amounts of which can cause lung disease and cancer — violates federal regulations put in place to prevent worker overexposure, according to a report from the Department of Energy’s inspector general.

ProPublica [Author: Rebecca Moss]

DOE Inspection Report

Montana Wildfires Provide a Wealth of Data on Health Effects of Smoke Exposure

Seeley Lake in Missoula County in Montana had several large wildfires that lasted from the end of July through mid-September — weeks longer than usual — and led to the worst season on record for wildfire smoke. Rachel Hinnenkamp, epidemiologist with the state health department, has been tracking how many people went to emergency rooms complaining of respiratory-related symptoms during the 2017 wildfire season. For people who live in Missoula and Powell counties, that number more than doubled in 2017, compared to the year before.

NPR [Author: Nora Saks]

Puerto Rico Deaths Related to Hurricane Maria Continued for Months After the Storm, Data Suggest

Two months after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, scores of people were still dying in its aftermath, new government data suggest. The data show total deaths in the U.S. territory by month and do not break them down by cause. But month-to-month comparisons with previous years show the number of deaths after the hurricane was far higher than average.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Milton Carrero]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Webinar: Hospital Preparedness Program and the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule

This webinar will include an overview of Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), a review of resources ASPR TRACIE has to support health care preparedness and response, and a discussion of the impact and opportunities that the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Emergency Preparedness Rule offers health care coalitions. The webinar will take place on March 8, 2018, 10:30-11:30 a.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Live Webcast: Extreme Hurricanes – The Challenges for Puerto Rico and Beyond

Six months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a panel of experts will assess persistent public health challenges on the island and the outlook for long-term recovery. Power restoration, health care coordination, and medical services delivery on the island are just some of the pressing issues the panelists will explore. The panel will discuss the potential threats of extreme hurricanes more broadly, noting that 2017 was one of the most destructive seasons on record. Webcast will take place on Friday, March 9, 2018, from noon – 1 p.m. An on-demand video will also be posed after the event.

Webcast Information

Workshop: The Opioid Epidemic and Infectious Disease Consequences

The National Academy of Science is hosting a public workshop on the infectious disease consequences of the opioid epidemic. Participants will discuss the scope of the problem, giving attention to viral hepatitis, HIV, and endocarditis. The workshop will focus on reducing the infectious disease co-morbidities of injection drug use, especially strategies that emphasize empathy, respectful treatment, and patient satisfaction. The workshop will be held on March 12-13, 2018 in Washington, DC or via webcast.

Workshop Information


Webinar: Superstorms and Superfund Sites: Preventing Toxic Exposures from Climate Change Disasters

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) and the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BUSPR) are hosting a webinar to describe the range of toxic exposures and mixtures of chemicals that may be encountered during climate disasters from water, air, and industrial sources. Panelists will discuss community prevention plans and policies that can help protect human and environmental health when the next disaster strikes. The webinar will take place on March 13, 2018, 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information and Registration

Total Worker Health Webinar Series: Numbers to Know How: Linking Research to Healthier Workplace Practices

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is hosting a webinar to discuss the challenges facing today’s workplaces and the role of health survey data to inform Total Worker Health interventions. Speakers will discuss results from the Workplace Health in America Survey, the National Health Interview Survey, and the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance System. The webinar will take place on March 21, 2018, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Information and Registration

Public Workshop of the Committee on the Use of Elastomeric Respirators in Health Care

The Committee on the Use of Elastomeric Respirators in Health Care will host a public workshop on March 22, 2018, at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, DC. Topics to be discussed include, 1) elastomeric respirator efficacy and effectiveness as compared to N95s and PAPRs; 2) use and maintenance of elastomeric respirators; 3) lessons learned from elastomeric respirator use in health care and other industries; 4) challenges and opportunities for the use of elastomeric respirators in public health preparedness and emergency response.

Event Information and Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

New Evidence of Nuclear Fuel Releases Found at Fukushima

Uranium and other radioactive materials, such as cesium and technetium, have been found in tiny particles released from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. This could mean the environmental impact from the fallout may last much longer than previously expected according to a new study by a team of international researchers.

Science Daily

How to Counter Fake News During a Disaster

State and federal emergency responders should have plans ready to go to counter rumors, misinformation, and fake news in the wake of disasters, according to a new white paper from a Homeland Security Department advisory group. The report states, emergency responders should engage with popular social media “influencers” in the area and with local radio and broadcast media who can amplify facts and correct fake information. It also states emergency response agencies should train local volunteers to spot rumors and fake information online.

Nextgov [Author: Joseph Marks]

Draft Report

How Healthcare Ready Used Google Search Trends Information to Respond to Disasters

The 2017 hurricane season was historic, seeing three catastrophic hurricanes impact the U.S. and Caribbean within two months. Healthcare Ready provided critical response and recovery for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. By using Rx open data and aggregated Google search trends, Healthcare Ready identified patient concentration areas to prioritize healthcare resources and connect patients to healthcare.

Healthcare Ready

LA County Isn’t Doing Enough to Protect People Living Near Oil Wells, Study Says

Los Angeles County is not doing enough to keep people who live alongside oil wells from getting sick. That’s the finding of a new study by the county’s Department of Public Health (DPH), which recommends increasing the distance between oil wells and places where people live, work and play. Los Angeles County has more than 5,300 wells, some 3,400 of which are actively producing oil or gas. The DPH study largely focused on wells in the City of Los Angeles in areas like Wilmington, South Los Angeles, and Echo Park where residents are mostly low-income and people of color.

KPCC [Author: Emily Guerin]

DPH Study Report

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Request for Nominations to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). The NEJAC was chartered to provide advice regarding broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice. Nominations are due April 13, 2018. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). The NEJAC was chartered to provide advice regarding broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice. Nominations are due April 13, 2018.

Federal Register

CDC Accepting Nominations for the Lead Exposure and Prevention Advisory Committee

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is soliciting nominations for membership on the LEPAC. The Lead Exposure and Prevention Advisory Committee (LEPAC) consists of 15 federal and non-federal experts in fields associated with lead screening, the prevention of lead exposure, and services for individuals and communities affected by lead exposure. Nominees will be selected based on expertise in the fields of epidemiology, toxicology, mental health, pediatrics, early childhood education, special education, diet and nutrition, and environmental health. Nominations for membership on the LEPAC are due April 15, 2018.

Federal Register

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Framework for Healthcare Disaster Resilience: A View to the Future

A new report published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security proposes a framework for building a more effective disaster health system in the U.S. based on an analysis of the threats and the gaps and embracing new concepts of community resilience. The report proposes new initiatives, makes policy recommendations, and outlines priority actions, including a research agenda.

Center for Health Security Report

Press Release

Job OpeningsBack to Top

CPWR Seeks to Fill Deputy Director Position

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) seeks a full-time deputy director. Please visit the page below for specific job description. CPWR is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD. Interested candidates should email their resume and a cover letter detailing their experience related to the position to

CPWR Job Description

UIC Seeks Division Director for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health (SPH) is seeking an innovative leader and accomplished scholar to direct the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS). The EOHS Division serves about 90 students in MPH, MS, and PhD programs with nine tenure-system faculty, and twice that number of research and clinical faculty. The Director is responsible for operation of the EOHS Division, which includes, but is not limited to: promoting a collaborative environment that fosters success through strong leadership and shared governance; representing the division at the School and University levels; managing the division’s budget, and more. The application deadline is March 15, 2018.

UIC Job Description

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