March 22, 2019
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.
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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
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WTP Resources on Hurricanes and Floods
The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) and its awardees have been actively involved in flood response and cleanup activities. WTP resources aim to protect the health and safety of those responding to the aftermath of a flood, including emergency responders, skilled support personnel, homeowners, and business owners. These resources can help address challenges related to the historic flooding taking place in the Midwest.
Nebraska Governor: ‘We Have the Most Widespread Flooding Damage in Our State’s History’
Governor Pete Ricketts is calling the widespread flooding in Nebraska the worst in state history. The flooding is being attributed to conditions that included a bomb cyclone weather pattern, frozen ground, warming weather conditions, and heavy rains. The Governor is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get a federal disaster declaration in place to help muster the resources needed to deal with damaged homes, levees, roads, and infrastructure.
WBUR [Author: Peter O’Dowd]
A Huge Fire at a Houston-Area Chemical Plant is Out Four Days After It Started
A fire that burned over four days at a petrochemical plant in suburban Houston was finally extinguished on March 20. The fire began in a single tank at Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), a storage facility in Deer Park, Texas, and quickly spread to a second tank, the company said. The battle quickly moved from a defensive mode to an offensive one, according to Ray Russell, a spokesman with Channel Industries Mutual Aid, a nonprofit that handles firefighting, rescue, and hazardous materials in the local refining and petrochemical industry.
CNN [Authors: Darran Simon, Madison Park, and Rebekah Riess]
EPA Scaling Back Proposed Ban, Plans Limits on Deadly Chemical in Paint Strippers
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new limits on a lethal chemical found in paint stripping products that has been linked to more than 50 deaths since the 1980s. Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, signed a rule that prohibits the manufacture and use of consumer products containing methylene chloride, but did not ban it for commercial use. The agency is also considering a proposal for a certification and training program for workers who use the chemical commercially.
New York Times [Author: Lisa Friedman]
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WTP Spring Meeting on Addressing Workplace Stress – Registration Now Open!
Registration is now open for the WTP Spring Awardee Meeting and Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (USW SCEO)/WTP Workshop being held May 14-16, 2019, at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The workshop will explore training interventions to address workplace stress, fatigue, and addiction. The awardee meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 15 (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, May 16 (9:00 a.m. – noon).
PEPH Webinar: Citizen Science
Collaborations between citizens and researchers can take many forms along a continuum of public engagement in scientific research. In the context of environmental health science, citizen science is considered a part of this community-engaged research spectrum. However, an important distinguishing factor is the motivation for being involved in the research process. This webinar will describe how citizen science approaches are being used to address environmental health disparities. The webinar will be held on March 27, 2019, at 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.
NACCHO Preparedness Summit 2019
The 2019 Preparedness Summit, sponsored by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), will look at how threats to our national health security have evolved significantly. The summit will feature experts from the healthcare and emergency management fields as well as public health preparedness professionals, looking at opportunities to address the gaps between these life-saving industries and work more collaboratively in the face of emerging threats. The summit will be held on March 26-29, 2019, in St. Louis, MO.
Webinar: Climate Change and Toxic Hazards: After the Storm
The webinar “Climate Change and Toxic Hazards: After the Storm” is the final webinar in a three-part series on climate change, toxic hazards, and how to prepare to protect public health from a superstorm or flood. The webinar is organized by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and Boston University Superfund Research Program and will address the range of issues communities face after a storm, with a focus on preventing exposures to toxic substances that have been unleashed by the flood into the air, water, and soil. The webinar will be held on March 28, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. ET.
HUD Webinar: Lead Paint Safety Field Guide
Join the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes in the upcoming lead paint safety webinar. This webinar will discuss important updates to HUD's Lead Paint Safety field guide. This guide was recently updated to include important safety and lead handling practices for painting, repairs, and home maintenance. The webinar will be held on April 1, 2019, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.
Webinar: Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health
The first in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) webinar series, “Expanding Research Partnerships: Emerging Issues in Occupational Safety and Health,” this webinar will discuss the work of innovative and impactful intramural and extramural research partnerships. This upcoming webinar is on Robotics and Workplace Safety and Health and will delve into three topics from three experts in the field: human-robot collaborations, ergonomic benefits of robot collaborations, and the future of occupational robotics safety and health. The webinar will be held on April 10, 2019, at 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET.
EPA Launches State EJ Training Webinar Series
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced training to build the capacity of states to integrate environmental justice into their decision-making process. EPA will conduct a national webinar series in collaboration with state partners. The first webinar “Identifying and Prioritizing Environmentally Impacted and Vulnerable Communities” will provide state management and staff with a basic overview of the factors, data sources, and tools to identify environmentally impacted and vulnerable communities. The webinar will be held on April 16, 2019, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET.
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Report Release: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Save Lives
Medications for opioid use disorder (OUD) save lives. Yet most people with OUD in the U.S. receive no treatment at all, and only a fraction of those who do receive medications for OUD. With support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an expert committee to examine the evidence base for medications to treat OUD and to identify barriers that prevent people from accessing safe, effective, medication-based treatment.
Ergonomics Major Concern for Firefighters, EMTs, NIOSH Says
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters experience musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at five times the rate of most workers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said in a summary of research priorities for the public safety sector. Public safety workers not only experience MSDs at a higher rate than most workers but also experience more days away from work as a result. Overall, MSDs result in 13 median days away from work.
The Latest: Storm Knocks Out Colorado Mine’s Treatment Plant
New Mexico officials have told some municipal drinking water systems to stop using water from two rivers after the weather-related failure of a mine wastewater treatment plant upstream in Colorado. The New Mexico Environment Department said anyone who uses the San Juan and Animas rivers for drinking water or irrigation should take appropriate precautions, but it did not say what those precautions might be. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees the wastewater plant, doesn’t believe drinking water will be harmed.
Linking Pollution and Infectious Disease
Environmental pollutants can interact with pathogens to change how people and wildlife respond to infectious diseases. Decades ago, researchers showed that persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins, make mice less resistant to an influenza virus. New research suggests that other contaminants—including fluorochemicals, arsenic, and mercury—can also interfere with the immune response in laboratory animals, as well as in people.
Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Britt E. Erickson]
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NIEHS Superfund Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request
The Fiscal Year 2020 President’s Budget for NIEHS Superfund is $66.6 million, which is $10.8 million below the FY 2019 annualized CR level. A full-year 2019 appropriation for this account was not enacted at the time the budget was prepared; therefore, the budget assumes this account is operating under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019. The amounts included for 2019 reflect the annualized level provided by the continuing resolution.
DOE Fiscal Year 2020 Congressional Budget Request: Budget in Brief
The President requests $31.7B in discretionary funds for the Department of Energy (DOE) in Fiscal Year 2020 to secure America’s future through energy independence, scientific innovation, and national security. The Budget Request advances key Administration investments in early-stage research and development to facilitate private sector energy activity, cybersecurity, next generation supercomputers, artificial intelligence, technology transfer, cleanup of U.S. cold war nuclear sites, and modernization of the Nation’s nuclear deterrent.
New OSHA Resources on Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Response
The new webpage provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on radiation emergency preparedness is intended to help protect the health and safety of workers during situations ranging from small, isolated incidents in laboratories to potentially catastrophic radiation releases at nuclear facilities. The webpage also provides resources on health and safety planning, medical monitoring and dosimetry, and other relevant topics.
EPA Identifies 40 Chemicals to Prioritize for Risk Evaluation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process – the initial step in a new process of reviewing chemicals currently in commerce under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA is releasing this list to provide the public an opportunity to submit relevant information, such as the uses, hazards, and exposure for these chemicals. A docket has been opened for each of the 40 chemicals. The publication of this list in the Federal Register initiates a 90-day public comment period.
NIOSH Study Explores Styrene Exposure at Work and Cancer
Chemicals are used in manufacturing to make everything from food containers to your favorite pair of shoes. One such chemical is styrene, a colorless, strong-smelling liquid used to make plastics and rubber for these products and others, including insulation, fiberglass, pipes, vehicle parts, and carpet backing. To explore the relationship between work-related styrene exposure and cancer, NIOSH investigators compared styrene exposures to cancer deaths among 5,201 former workers in two boat-building facilities in Washington State.
NIOSH Study Focuses on Community to Improve Worker Health
Workplaces can play a large role in improving worker health, resulting in improved community health. But, how can workplaces and communities interact to influence the overall health of workers? Using the holistic Total Worker Health® (TWH) concept, NIOSH-supported researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public health are exploring how to implement safer and healthier approaches to work that extend into the community.
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REMM Website and Mobile REMM App Updates
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) website and mobile apps have been updated. The website is updated to include key detailed guidance documents, new information on personal protective equipment (PPE), and more. The new version of the Mobile REMM app reflects the content updates published on REMM online.
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CSB Seeks Chemical Incident Investigator
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is seeking a Chemical Incident Investigator. The position is located in the Office of Investigations. The incumbent serves as an expert in industrial chemical safety and nationwide incident investigation and analysis of major incidents involving the accidental release of hazardous materials and, developing and presenting reports with safety recommendations for adopting by the Board.
TURI Seeks Multiple Positions
The Toxic Use Reduction Institute is seeking applicants for the following three positions: Toxic Use Reduction (TUR) Science/ EHS Support Specialist; TUR Learning Support Specialist; and Research Center Director and Associate/Full Professor in Environmental Health. For more information, please see links below.
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