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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: May 10, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, May 10, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

May 10, 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.

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

NIEHS Funding Opportunity For SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) that propose to further the development of Advanced Technology Training (ATT) products for: the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers; waste treatment personnel; skilled support personnel associated with an emergency/disaster; emergency responders in biosafety response, infectious disease training and cleanup; emergency responders in disasters and resiliency training; and for ATT tools to assist in research into the acute and long-term health effects of environmental disasters. The application due date is July 31, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. local time of applicant organization.


‘The Ground Shook’: 4 Hospitalized After Large Waukegan Chemical Plant Explosion

Four people were transported to area hospitals after an explosion at the AB Speciality Silicone plant in Waukegan late Friday, May 3, night. Steve Lenzi, spokesman for the Waukegan Fire Department, said officials were working with a plant manager to determine how many people were working in the Sunset Avenue factory when the explosion happened. Speaking around midnight, Lenzi added officials did not know what caused the explosion.

Chicago Tribune [Author: Frank Abderholden]

Critiques of Chemical Analyses Set for June, EPA’s Dunn Says

The EPA expects scientists to begin critiquing its 10 draft chemical risk evaluations in June to enable the agency to decide by December whether any of the substances pose an unreasonable risk that triggers regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals is likely to hold its first meeting in June, Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, told Bloomberg Environment May 6.

Bloomberg Environment [Author: Pat Rizzuto]

50 Years After It Began Dumping Poison Sludge in a Poor N.J. Mountain Community, Ford Agrees to Spend $21M to Put a Cap on Toxic Sites

The plan, a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is the latest step towards remediation of a site that was environmentally devastated decades ago.

E.P.A. Leaders Disregarded Agency’s Experts in Issuing Asbestos Rule, Memos Show

Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency disregarded the advice of their own scientists and lawyers in April when the agency issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, according to two internal memos. Because of its fiber strength and resistance to heat, asbestos has long been used in insulation and construction materials. It is also is a known carcinogen. Last month’s rule kept open a way for manufacturers to adopt new uses for asbestos, or return to certain older uses, but only with E.P.A. approval.

New York Times [Author: Lisa Friedman]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) Abstract Submission Now Open

Abstracts for the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC), scheduled for May 11 – 14, 2020 in New Orleans, LA are now open. IOSC 2020 brings together the broadest range of global oil spill response professionals to discuss the latest research, technology, and resources impacting our community today. Paper and poster presentations are the backbone of the IOSC’s technical program, contributing to the vast canon of oil pollution knowledge shared between government, industry, and academia.

Abstract Submission

Fall Protection: When Your Job Takes You to the Edge

In work sites of every variety, edges are much more common than people realize, and they may pose a greater risk than you'd expect. Whether you're laying roofing, traversing a beam, or simply working near the unprotected sides of an upper floor, falls over an edge are more hazardous than other falls. Join this webinar to discuss the issues, applications, and solutions workers need to eliminate these dangerous hazards. The webinar will be held on May 23, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Opiates and Work Injury: Lessons on the Ground

National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) is hosting a Protecting Workers Alliance webinar on Thursday, May 23, at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT. The web call with cover the following topics: Learn about efforts from around the country that are confronting work-induced opiate addiction and overdose with a focus on prevention. Hear directly from workers and unions who have been part of these efforts as they share their stories and experiences. Discuss ways to maximize our collective impact and promote shared resources to stem this epidemic.

Webinar Registration

Introduction to the Planning for Natural Disaster Debris Guidance – Date Change

Natural disasters challenge communities every year and are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. To assist communities (including cities, counties, states, tribes) in planning for debris management before a natural disaster occurs, EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery updated its Planning for Natural Disaster Debris Guidance. Pre-incident planning can significantly aid decision-making during a response and enhance a community's resiliency. This webinar will provide an overview of the guidance and highlight lessons learned and best practices. After the presentation, we look forward to answering stakeholder questions. The webinar will be held on June 20, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

The Building Bridges to Enhance the Well-Being of American Indian and Alaska Native Workers Workshop

Please join us July 30 – 31 in Aurora, Colorado for the Building Bridges to Enhance the Well-Being of American Indian and Alaska Native Workers Workshop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in partnership with the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) are excited to bring together American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, organizations, and other stakeholders to identify safety and health priorities for American Indian and Alaska Native workers.

Workshop Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

The Intersection of Hurricane Response and Opioid Use Disorder

Hurricane season is just around the corner. If you are thinking about ways to prepare for the next hurricane, take a moment to consider this: approximately 2.1 million people have an opioid use disorder according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and over 47,000 of them died by overdose in 2017 according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After a hurricane, flood or other disaster, responders, emergency healthcare professionals, and disaster relief service providers face the challenge of considering the specific vulnerabilities of people struggling to manage treatment and recovery while meeting the increased needs of the community at large.

HHS Blog [Author: Rachel Kaul]

NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2019

On World Asthma Day 2019, the National Institutes of Health stands with patients, families, advocates, researchers and health care professionals around the globe to raise awareness about this common chronic respiratory disease. In 2016, asthma affected 26 million Americans and nearly 340 million people worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. The disease can profoundly affect quality of life and financial and emotional health and is a major cause of missed time from school and work. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency room visits and hospitalizations and can be fatal.

NIEHS News Release

The Gulf Research Program Annual Report 2018

Each year, the Gulf Research Program (GRP) produces an annual report to summarize how funds were used. These reports review accomplishments, highlight activities, and, over time, will assess metrics to determine how the program is progressing in accomplishing its goals. The 2018 annual report is the fifth report in this series. The GRP is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013. Through grants, fellowships, and other activities, it seeks to enhance oil system safety and the protection of human health and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico region and other areas along the U.S. outer continental shelf with offshore oil and gas operations.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic Webinar Recording and Slides

The National Academy of Medicine hosted the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic Webinar, a public session on April 30. The webinar recording and slides are now available. The session included a keynote presentation and updates from the four working groups of the Action Collaborative. The Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic is a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership of government, communities, health systems, provider groups, payers, industry, nonprofits, academia, and more – all committed to sharing knowledge, aligning ongoing initiatives, and advancing collective, multisector solutions.

Webinar Recording and Slides

Zika Virus in Workers: Considerations for Ongoing Exposure Prevention

Since at least 2015, a major Zika virus epidemic has impacted the Americas and the Caribbean. There is an ongoing risk of Aedes mosquito‐borne transmission in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. In these areas, as well as in places that are not experiencing active outbreaks, workers in a variety of jobs may be exposed to the virus. In addition to outdoor workers in places with ongoing, vector‐borne transmission who may be exposed when bitten by Zika‐infected mosquitoes, biomedical researchers studying the virus and health care workers and staff in clinical laboratories may encounter blood and infectious body fluids from infected individuals, including travelers from Zika virus‐affected areas.

American Journal of Industrial Medicine [Authors: Christopher K. Brown and Jill M. Shugart]

New Database: Water Sources in 43 States Contain Potentially Unsafe Chemical Levels

More than 610 drinking water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe levels of chemical compounds that have been linked to birth defects, cancers, infertility, and reduced immune responses in children, according to a new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University. Using Pentagon data released last year and recently obtained public water utility reports, the researchers now estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.

McClatchy [Author: Tara Copp]

ISEA Launches 2019 Safety at Heights Campaign

The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has launched its 2019 Safety at Heights campaign, which aims to reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries from falls and dropped objects. Falling and being struck by dropped objects are among the top causes of injuries and fatalities in the workplace, with dropped objects the third leading cause of construction-industry injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As part of the campaign, which kicked off this week, ISEA is providing educational resources for workers and employers at

Occupational Health & Safety

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $10.5 Million in Worker Safety and Health Training Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) May 3 announced the availability of $10.5 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants for nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities. The Harwood Training Grant program supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency or are temporary workers.


Update to Chemical Dashboard Adds Wealth of Chemical and Biological Data and Improves User Interface

The CompTox Chemicals Dashboard is a one-stop-shop for chemistry, toxicity, exposure, and bioactivity data that allows for searches based on chemical identifiers (e.g. names and CAS Registry numbers), product categories that chemicals are found in, and assay and gene associations with the bioactivity data from the ToxCast and Tox21 projects. The latest version, released in March 2019, adds 110,000 chemicals and associated data, bringing the total number of chemicals to 875,000. The dashboard release also includes several new improvements to the user interface allowing for improved navigation for all data associated with the chemicals collection.


EPA Has Taken Steps to Improve Timeliness, Transparency of Chemical Assessments, GAO Says

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made progress addressing “historical timeliness and transparency challenges” in its Integrated Risk Information System Program’s assessment process, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in a recently released assessment report. The IRIS Program, which identifies and characterizes health hazards of chemicals and produces chemical assessments, has been criticized for its slow results and lack of transparency. GAO and the National Academy of Sciences previously offered recommendations to improve these issues.

Safety and Health Magazine

GAO Overview of EPA’s Efforts to Produce Assessments

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

New Method Quickly Screens Chemicals for Cancer-Causing Potential

Scientists developed a fast, accurate, and cost-effective way to assess whether a chemical is carcinogenic, or likely to cause cancer in humans. The work involved a collaboration between researchers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP), Boston University, and the Broad Institute. Funded in part by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), the study was published April 9 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

NIEHS Environmental Factor [Author: Marla Broadfoot]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

ILO Programme Manager, Better Factories Cambodia Job Opportunity

Under the Direction of the Better Work Programme Director, the Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) Programme Manager reports to the Head of Better Work in Asia (Bangkok based) for Better Work-related activities. The BFC Programme Manager will remain under the direct supervision of the International Labour Organization (ILO's) Country Director with respect to political and administrative matters of the BFC Programme. The incumbent will manage all aspects of the BFC project as part of the global Better Work programme and within the policy and procedural requirements established by the global programme and the ILO. The application deadline is June 3, 2019.

Job Description

Safety and Occupational Health Specialist Job Opportunity

The National Park Service within the Department of the Interior is seeking a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in Lowell, Massachusetts. A successful candidate for this position will have demonstrated specialized experience and/or education in safety and occupational health fields including industrial hygiene, occupational health, occupational medicine, toxicology, or public health.

Job Description

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