May 11, 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.
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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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Resources on Sulfur Dioxide Gas and Volcano Eruptions
One of the public health concerns that arises during the rare eruptions of a volcano is the toxic chemicals found in the air of the volcanic fumes. Of special concern is sulfur dioxide gas. First responders can make sure they have access to information on protective equipment and clothing, health effects and medical treatment, and protective distance information. Resources available include WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders), available as an app or mobile web, and the ERG Guide Book on sulfur dioxide.
Days, Weeks, Years? Scientists Say Hawaii Volcano Eruption Has No End in Sight
The eruption at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues. The lava has now destroyed at least 35 structures and covered the equivalent of more than 75 football fields. Scientists have been tracking this event since it started last week — but there are still big unanswered questions, the biggest of which is when it will end. Scientists are tracking earthquakes and the composition of gas coming out of the cracks in the ground, which hints at whether the eruption will intensify. But what will happen longer-term is much more difficult to predict, says Bill Chadwick, a volcanologist at NOAA.
NPR [Author: Merrit Kennedy]
A Year After a Radioactive Tunnel Collapsed, Is Hanford Safer?
A year after the Hanford nuclear reservation's PUREX tunnel collapsed, the discussion continues on how to address risk at the site given limited funding and no shortage of radioactive and chemical contamination. In the year that followed the tunnel collapse on May 9, 42 workers inhaled or ingested airborne plutonium or other particles of radioactive material. Those exposures, which occurred during demolition of the highly contaminated Plutonium Finishing Plant, and the collapse of the tunnel were the result of the Department of Energy (DOE) not taking risk seriously enough, said Tom Carpenter, executive director of Hanford Challenge.
Tri-City Herald [Author: Annette Cary]
How the Response to Hurricane Maria Compared to Harvey and Irma
The 2017 hurricane season was unlike any other. Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma swept through multiple states and caused an estimated $175 billion in damages. Then came Maria, which damaged or destroyed more than a third of homes on Puerto Rico and crippled the island’s aging power grid. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has defended its efforts in Puerto Rico, but the FRONTLINE/NPR investigation found that the response to Maria lagged behind the actions taken following Harvey and Irma.
Frontline [Author: Nicole Einbinder]
The Mysterious Long-Term Effects of Inhaling Smoke from Forest Fires
For residents of Seeley Lake, Montana where the geography is maximally suited to retain smoke, impacts of wildfire smoke inhalation is a serious concern. When the Rice Ridge Fire broke out following a lightning strike, the smoke would roll into the valley and settle between the mountains. While the short-term health impacts are alarming, they are, at least, easily studied. On the other hand, physicians know almost nothing about the chronic and long-term effects of such events.
Pacific Standard [Author: Sophie Yeo]
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Registration Now Open for EPA Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is announcing its third Safer Choice Partner & Stakeholder Summit. The Summit provides an opportunity for partners, purchasers, retailers, NGOs, trade associations, chemical manufacturers, and other stakeholders to collaborate on exploring topical questions and developing solutions that can advance Safer Choice. This year’s discussion will focus on the value of the Safer Chemical Ingredients List as a starting point in identifying Low Priority Substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Summit will be held on May 14, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Webinar on a National Analysis: Racial and Economic Disparities in Residential Proximity to Particulate Matter Emission Sources
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a webinar on a recent study on disparities in pollution exposure published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). The study aimed to quantify nationwide disparities in residential proximity to particulate matter (PM)-emitting facilities by race/ethnicity and poverty status. They found that those in poverty had 1.35 times higher burden from emissions than did the overall population, and non-whites had 1.28 times higher burden. Blacks, specifically, had 1.54 times higher burden than did the overall population. The webinar takes place May 15, 2018, from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET.
Safe + Sound Employee Perception Survey
The National Safety Council is hosting a webinar on Employee Perception Surveys, to show how worker input can help employers achieve workplace safety excellence. Conducted in a rigorous way, employee perception surveys provide a comprehensive and sensitive set of leading indicator safety metrics that evaluate: management commitment, supervisor engagement, employee involvement, and culture. The webinar will be held on May 16, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Webinar Program for National Healthy Homes Month 2018
During May and June, the National Healthy Homes Partnership is hosting webinars to support the theme on Unlocking the Potential of America’s Children: Check Your Home-Protect Your Family. This theme focuses on the importance of protecting current and future generations of children from the exposures to lead from contaminated paint, dust, and soil. The first webinar is this series, Improving Your Home Environment, will be held on May 22, 2018 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.
Webinar: Tools for Assessing Exposure and Toxicity
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program (SRP) invites you to join a series of free Risk e-Learning webinars on New Approaches and Alternatives for Toxicity Testing. Assessing environmental exposure and identifying health hazards are both important aspects of chemical safety evaluation, and rapid screening tools may be used to improve our understanding of both aspects. In the second session, speakers will discuss tailoring read-across methodology to address chemical evaluation challenges, explore analysis of environmental toxicants in the environment, and highlight genetic screening tools to examine mechanisms of toxicity. The webinar will be held on May 23, 2018, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET.
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Experts Review 1918 Pandemic, Warn Flu Is Global Threat
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with Emory University to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu with a symposium about influenza pandemics: when and if they will strike, how ready the United States is to confront a pandemic, and how to do so. Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), argued that during the next influenza pandemic, more people will die from the non-pandemic aspects of such a global health crisis.
CIDRAP [Author: Stephanie Soucheray]
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EPA Announces Applicants Selected for FY18 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide approximately $3.3 million in grant funding to 17 communities across the U.S. to recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed individuals with the skills needed to secure long-term employment in the environmental field. Each recipient will receive funds to develop and operate environmental job training programs that advance environmental justice by providing opportunities for residents living in areas impacted by contaminated lands. Residents will secure employment within their communities conducting brownfields remediation, Superfund cleanup, wastewater management, solid waste recycling and cleanup, and related environmental work.
EU-OSHA Updates its Website Thematic Section on Dangerous Substances
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s (EU-OSHA) updated website section provides essential information on dangerous substances in the workplace. It covers the relevant legislation, explains its principles, and provides tips on how to manage dangerous substances at work. It also includes sections on carcinogens, biological agents, and emerging risks.
Webinar Series: NIOSH 2nd Installment of Expanding Research Partnership
The Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series provides a forum to continue the learning and discussions on National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research and partnerships from the 2017 Expanding Research Partnerships: State of the Science Conference. The series features intramural and extramural research within the NIOSH Program Portfolio. Upcoming webinars are scheduled for May 16 and November 14 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET.
CDC 2016 Nonfatal Injury Data Now Available
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) to include 2016 nonfatal injury data. WISQARS is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury data from a variety of sources. Researchers, practitioners, the media, and the public can use the data to learn about the public health and economic burden of injury in the United States. Users can search, sort, and view the injury data and create reports, charts, maps, and slides.
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Introduction to Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC)
Presentation slides for the webinar: Introduction to Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) are now available online. Hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), this webinar aims to help emergency responders and health communication professionals learn more about Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) principles so that they can communicate more effectively during emergencies. It defines all six CERC principles and how communication works at each phase of a crisis.
Newly Released Response to Synthetic Opioids App
Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, are quickly becoming the most common high hazard response. FentaTIPS, is an app that provides example operational response protocols for response to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs including communications, protections, decontamination, detection, and medical countermeasures. This app is intended for emergency response personnel, including law enforcement, fire, hazardous materials, emergency medical services, and public health who may respond to incidents involving synthetic opioids.
Fentanyl: Preventing Occupational Exposure to Healthcare Personnel in Hospital and Clinic Settings
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a new resource on how illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid analgesic, and its analogues pose a potential hazard to healthcare personnel who could come into contact with these drugs in the course of their work in hospital and clinic settings. It provides recommendations for work practices, training, personal protective equipment, and decontamination.
NIOSH Oil and Gas Video Now Available in Spanish
The Spanish version of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) video Protecting Oil and Gas Workers from Hydrocarbon Exposures is now available. This video describes the hazards associated with manual gauging and fluid sampling on oil and gas production tanks and describes steps that employers and workers can take to do this work safely.
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New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) Seeking Executive Director
The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is seeking an Executive Director. This is an opportunity for someone with the skills, experience, and commitment needed to help build a powerful movement for social change that unites labor, environmental, and community constituencies. The Executive Director (ED) is WEC’s chief executive officer, reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for the achievement of the organization's mission and programmatic and financial objectives.
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