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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: March 20, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, March 20, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

March 20, 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

Spring 2020 NIEHS WTP Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak Recording Coming Soon

On March 17, the NIEHS Worker Training Program, in collaboration with the Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center, hosted the webinar, “Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak.” The webinar featured a time-sensitive discussion on worker protection and biosafety issues. The presentations along with Q&As from participants will be made available on the NIEHS website as soon as possible.


A Magnitude 5.7 Earthquake Hits Utah. It Was the Largest Since 1992.

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit the Wasatch Front shortly after 7 a.m., on March 18 shaking homes from at least Logan and going all the way down to Utah County. It was the state’s largest earthquake since 1992, though at least so far there are no reports of major collapses. The epicenter of the earthquake was northeast of Magna, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Salt Lake Tribune [Author: Matt Canham]

Military Sees Surge in Sites With ‘Forever Chemical’ Contamination

The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally. The information was released March 13 in a report from the Department of Defense, part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the water supply near numerous military bases.

The Hill [Author: Rebecca Beitsch]

Los Alamos National Laboratory Waste Is Unearthed at Housing Site

A utility crew found hazardous waste buried on land the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had transferred to Los Alamos County, stalling work on an affordable housing project. The discovery of low-level radioactive waste 7 to 12 feet in the ground off DP Road last month prompted the state Environment Department to write a letter that ordered the agency to supply more information about the waste, how it got there and how the agency planned to avoid future incidents.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

As Western Coal-Fired Plants Close, Who Gets Their Water?

With coal gradually being phased out as the source of energy in the West, the new high-value commodity becomes the center of attention. The future of water rights owned by the energy companies is being debated as it may decide the economic future of many rural communities. The conversation is beginning in Craig, in the northwest Colorado, which is home to nearly 9,000 residents and hundreds of coal industry workers.

The Daily Yonder [Author: Luke Runyon]

Virginia Becomes the First State in the South to Target 100% Clean Power

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 43, which laid out a plan for the state to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050 and to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, a nine-state carbon trading network). The General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which puts Northam’s vision into law.

Vox [Author: David Roberts]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Call for Papers

New Solutions seeks high quality manuscripts for a special issue, Opioids and the Workplace - Risk Factors and Solutions, dedicated to work and the opioid crisis. The workplace has been the forgotten element in the national response to the opioid crisis, even though workers and their families have been particularly impacted nationwide. Manuscripts will be accepted until June 30. Accepted papers will be published March 2021.

Call for Papers

Resilience: Helping Communities and Countries Move from Crisis to Stability Webinar

This webinar looks at resilience, what it really means, how it is relevant to diverse stakeholders, and how to strengthen resilience at local, regional, and national scales. Speakers will describe how communities and nations experience and recover from impacts to their environment and climate, energy systems, health, and cultures, and how to develop effective resilience-building strategies. The webinar will be held March 24, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

ProAct Now: Planning Effectively in a Rapidly Changing World Webinar

The Smart Growth Network is hosting an online webinar on Friday, March 27, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Climate change, artificial intelligence, changing demographics, workforce automation, increasing socioeconomic inequality. Change is accelerating at a rapid pace in today’s world, and the future of communities depends on our ability to respond and adapt to disruptive technologies and other emerging challenges.

Registration Link

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Early Results From 174 Flint Children Exposed to Lead During Water Crisis Shows 80% of Them Will Require Special Education Services

Five years ago, lead seeped into the tap water in Flint, Michigan, while state and local officials said everything was fine. The turning point came when a local pediatrician found conclusive proof that the children of Flint were being exposed to high levels of lead in their water and prompted the state to declare an emergency. Now, the same doctor who proved something was wrong is taking the first comprehensive look at the thousands of kids exposed to lead in Flint.

CBS News

Vulnerable Communities Continue to Bear Greater Pollution Burden

In an effort to address this inequality, the City of San Diego released its Climate Equity Index late last year, using indicators – like pesticide use, asthma rates, tree coverage, access to healthy foods and to public transportation – to score hundreds of census tracts in the city on access to these kinds of opportunities.

San Diego Union-Tribune [Author: Lisa Deaderick]

Ohio Solar Project Will Benefit Low-Income Communities

An innovative solar project in Toledo will do triple duty when it’s completed this spring. It will provide renewable power to a nearby axle factory. It will use otherwise unproductive land. And hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of the project’s electricity will benefit nearby low-income communities.

Energy News Network [Author: Kathiann M. Kowalski]

COVID-19 Resources for Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding

In a message from Michael Lauer, M.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIH is deeply concerned for the health and safety of people involved in NIH research, and about the effects on the biomedical enterprise in the areas affected by the declared public health emergency for COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and NIH is aware that many institutions are taking a variety of “social distancing” measures, including switching to telework and cancelling or postponing classes and non-essential meetings.

NIH Extramural Nexus

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Temporary Enforcement Guidance for Respirator Fit-Testing in Healthcare during COVID-19 Outbreak

Following the White House’s memorandum on the availability of respirators during the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new temporary guidance regarding the enforcement of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard. This guidance is aimed at ensuring healthcare workers have full access to needed N95 respiratory protection in light of anticipated shortages.


Energy Department Announces $20 Million Investment in Workforce Development in Emerging Fields

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $20 million in funding for workforce development at universities in emerging energy fields. This funding supports the Administration’s commitment to preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers, thereby sustaining American global leadership in the renewable power, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency sectors.


EPA Continues to Deliver on Commitments under Amended TSCA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing amendments to the Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule that reduce the burden for certain CDR reporters, improve the quality of CDR data collected and align reporting requirements with the Lautenberg Act amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).


More Than $43 Million in Coastal Resilience Grants Announced for Communities Devastated by 2018 Natural Disasters

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management announced more than $43 million in grants to improve the resilience of local communities and wildlife habitat in the face of increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters. The grants will support natural and nature-based infrastructure that will help people and wildlife recover from hurricanes Michael and Florence, Typhoon Yutu, and the California coastal wildfires of 2018, and be better prepared for future events.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Steps Construction Employers and Workers Should Take in Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has been working closely with the North America's Building Trades Unions and our research, government, and other industry partners to respond to questions about the spread of this disease and to provide the latest information on protecting construction workers on the job. To make this information readily accessible, CPWR developed a COVID-19 resource page on, including a one-page guidance document.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

LOSH Seeks Health and Safety Training Coordinator

The University of California Los Angeles Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) is looking for an individual with a passion for worker and environmental health to join our team. The Health and Safety Training Coordinator is responsible for overseeing LOSH’s program of courses that meet the needs of workers covered by the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, other health and safety standards, and those working in hazardous work environments. The deadline to apply is March 24.

Job Posting

NIEHS Hazardous Substances Research Branch Seeks Health Specialist

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is hiring a Health Specialist in the Hazardous Substances Research Branch (HSRB) within the Division of Extramural Research and Training. The HSRB supports biomedical and environmental science/engineering research to address consequences associated with hazardous substances in the environment and supports all activities of the Superfund Hazardous Substances Basic Research and Training Program. The deadline to apply is March 30.

Job Announcement

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