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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: March 23, 2018 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, March 23, 2018

Weekly E-Newsbrief

March 23, 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

WTP Training Tool Now Available: Prevention of Occupational Exposure to Fentanyl and Other Opioids

For many years, the NIEHS WTP has focused on providing safety training for emergency responders who may encounter illicitly-manufactured drugs during their work. This Training Tool was developed in response to recent concerns over potential toxic exposures for responders to incidents of fentanyl and opioid usage.

Illicit Drug Exposure Training Tool

Silent Spills: Environmental Damage from Hurricane Harvey is Just Beginning to Emerge

As first responders and residents struggled to save lives and property during the record-shattering deluge of Hurricane Harvey, the toxic onslaught from the nation's petrochemical hub was largely overshadowed. But nearly seven months after floodwaters swamped America's fourth-largest city, the extent of the environmental assault is beginning to surface, while questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered.

Houston Chronicle [Authors: Frank Bajak and Lise Olsen]

Dispersants Can Turn Oil Spills into Toxic Mist, Research Shows

The dispersant chemicals used to clean up oil spills have the unintended effect of transforming crude oil into a toxic mist able to travel for miles and penetrate deep into human lungs, new research finds. A Johns Hopkins University study indicates that the dispersants used during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and other large spills breaks down oil into particles so small that they can easily take to the air. If inhaled, the compounds – some of which can cause cancer – are drawn to the innermost parts of the lungs where they are quickly absorbed into the body.

The Times-Picayune [Author: Tristan Baurick]

New Mexico Nuke Repository Studied for Plutonium Storage

The Department of Energy has commissioned a national group of scientists to study the viability of diluting surplus weapons-grade plutonium and storing it permanently at the federal government’s underground repository in New Mexico. The panel of about 15 scientists from universities, corporations, and laboratories around the nation will evaluate the storage potential at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only facility for permanently disposing of tons of Cold War-era waste contaminated with small amounts of plutonium and other man-made radioactive elements.

The Associated Press

Is Fukushima Doomed to Become a Dumping Ground for Toxic Waste?

Seven years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns and explosions that blanketed hundreds of square kilometers of northeastern Japan with radioactive debris, government officials and politicians spoke in hopeful terms about Fukushima’s prosperous future. Nevertheless, perhaps the single most important element of Fukushima’s future remains unspoken: the exclusion zone seems destined to host a repository for Japan’s most hazardous nuclear waste. Given that Japan possesses approximately 17,000 tons of spent fuel from nuclear power operations, development of a secure repository for nuclear waste is vital.

The Guardian [Author: Peter Wynn Kirby]

Study Finds Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Near Fracking Wells

Dozens of chemicals that can affect the fertility of humans and animals are being found in the air near unconventional oil and gas development, according to a new Environmental Health study. More than 200 chemicals have been found near unconventionally drilled sites, most-commonly fracked wells. Carol Kwiatkowski, executive director of a nonprofit called the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, said that of those chemicals, 34 are known to be endocrine disruptors, or chemicals that interfere with hormone systems in mammals.

WV Public Broadcasting [Authors: Brittany Patterson and Glynis Board]

Environmental Health [Authors: Bolden et al.]

Opportunity to Comment on NIEHS Strategic Plan

For nearly a year, NIEHS conducted planning, collected input, and weighed priorities for its next strategic plan. The draft document, “Strategic Plan 2018–2023: Advancing Environmental Health Science, Improving Health 2.0,” is available for public comment until March 30, 2018. The goal of this strategic planning process is to define strategic objectives that support the NIEHS mission and vision by anticipating, setting, and meeting priorities in environmental health sciences research, training, and translation.

2018-2030 Strategic Plan

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Webinar: Best Practices for Vision Protection

Even in 2018, eye injuries are a persistent concern for American workers, with an average of 2,000 such injuries occurring daily and more than 10 percent of the injuries causing lost time. The costs of serious injuries are significant, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, and a reduced quality of life. Yet experts agree that as many as 90 percent of eye injuries can be avoided by using the proper safety eyewear. This one-hour webinar, scheduled for April 11, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET, will outline vision protection strategies and examine personal protective equipment (PPE) choices for effective protection.

Webinar Registration

Seminar: Firefighter Health, Wellness, and Safety, Federal Policy – Regulation – Legislation

The 30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner will be held on April 18-19. As part of this symposium, a seminar will explore the status of specific federal policies, regulations, and legislation that address firefighter health, wellness, and safety. Panelists will cover such areas as injury and line-of-duty death prevention; physical well-being and monitoring; psychological and emotional wellness; and firefighter occupational cancer among other diseases. Seminar will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, from 2:00 – 2:50 p.m. at the Washington Hilton (1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW; Washington, DC).

Seminar Information

30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner

Registration for 2018 Preparedness Summit Now Open

The upcoming 2018 Preparedness Summit will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia, April 17-20, 2018. The theme is: “Strengthening National Health Security: Mastering Ordinary Responses, Building Resilience for Extraordinary Events.” Since its beginning in 2006, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has taken a leadership role in convening a wide array of partners to participate in the Summit; presenting new research findings, sharing tools and resources, and providing a variety of opportunities for attendees to learn how to implement model practices that enhance the nation’s capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and other emergencies.

Summit Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

100 Years After the Influenza Pandemic — Are We Prepared for Another Epidemic?

One hundred years ago this month, Private Albert Gitchell, a company cook at Camp Funston-Fort Riley Kansas, woke up with a high fever, chills, aches, pains, and a sore throat. Within three weeks, 1,100 soldiers at Fort Riley were struck down and hospitalized with the same symptoms — the first clearly identified record of the catastrophic 1918 Influenza pandemic. The pandemic would go on to claim the lives of up to 50 million people worldwide and infect a third of the world’s population. Now 100 years later, our capacity to protect ourselves is vastly improved, but we are still remarkably vulnerable to an outbreak of a deadly virus.

The Hill [Author: Dr. Richard Hatchett]

Musculoskeletal Health Research to Benefit Construction Workers

In October 2017, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Musculoskeletal Health Cross-Sector program published the first blog in a series to highlight musculoskeletal health research at NIOSH. With spring just around the corner, this blog—the fourth installment in the series—will discuss how best to promote musculoskeletal health and reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among construction workers.

NIOSH Science Blog [Authors: Emily Warner and Jack Lu]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

EPA Requests Nominations for New Members to National Environmental Justice Advisory Council

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting nominations for additional new members to fill four new vacancies for terms through September 2019. The NEJAC was chartered to provide advice regarding broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice. To maintain the representation outlined by the charter, nominees will be selected to represent: academia (2 vacancies); business and industry (1 vacancy); and state and local government (1 vacancy). The deadline for applications is April 13, 2018.

Nominations to the NEJAC

Frequently Asked Questions

Workers’ Memorial Day Is April 28

Workers' Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is also the day the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1971. Every year, events are held across the country to remember workers who have died on the job and honor them by continuing to fight for improved worker safety.

OSHA Worker’s Memorial Day List Events

AFL-CIO's Workers’ Memorial Day Materials

CDC Accepting Grant Applications to Strengthen Public Health Preparedness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Health is accepting grant applications for a funding opportunity, titled “Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation's Health.” The funding is intended to "strengthen the nation's public health infrastructure, ensure a competent, current and connected public health system, and improve delivery of essential services through capacity building assistance." Application deadline is March 29, 2018.

View Grant Opportunity

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Disaster Information Specialist Webinar Recording and Slides Available

The recording and slides are now available for the Disaster Information Specialist webinar, titled “Hospital Preparedness Program and the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule.” The webinar, hosted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), featured Melissa Harvey, Director of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), National Healthcare Preparedness Program (HPP). Harvey discussed the Hospital Preparedness Program, resources to support health care preparedness and response, and the impact and opportunities that the new CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule offers health care coalitions.

Webinar Recording and Slides

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NIEHS Seeks Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Applications are being accepted for a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in the NIEHS Health and Safety Branch. The Branch is a team of environmental, health, and safety professionals dedicated to reducing or eliminating the risks of illness and injury from occupational and environmental health hazards at NIEHS. The successful candidate will prepare and update guides, standards, instructions, operating procedures, and/or policies, reports, and other substantive documentation for high risk activities, and responds to accidents, exposures, and other emergencies.

Job Description (Open to All U.S. Citizens)

Job Description (Open to Government Employees)

Research Center Director and Associate/Full Professor in Environmental Health

The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Department of Public Health seeks a successful Environmental Health researcher to serve as the director for two leading environmental health centers. The successful candidate will have strong expertise and research interests in environmental health and will be appointed at the associate or full professor level, depending upon qualifications. This faculty member will be expected to provide leadership within the department on environmental health.

UMass Job Description

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

Featured Safety Jobs with the American Society of Safety Engineers

Featured Jobs

Featured Safety Jobs with the American Industrial Hygiene Association

Featured Jobs

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