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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: May 29, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, May 29, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

May 29, 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

WTP Workshop Highlight Video Now Available

The March 17 Workshop on Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak, sponsored by Emory University Woodruff Health Sciences Center, in conjunction with the NIEHS WTP, has been condensed into a 12-minute highlight video.


Pain in the Nation Series Update – Alcohol, Drug and Suicide Deaths in 2018

Nearly 152,000 Americans (151,964) died due to alcohol, drugs or suicide in 2018. For the year, alcohol deaths were up 4 percent and suicide deaths were up 2 percent. The 2018 data also show a continuing shift within the opioid crisis with reductions in deaths due to prescription opioid overdose, but increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. Death rates for all opioids were down 2 percent, but the death rate for synthetic opioids was up 10 percent.

Trust for America’s Health

Radioactive Waste Cleanup Paying off for Giant Idaho Aquifer

Radioactive and chemical contamination in a giant aquifer below an eastern Idaho federal nuclear facility has decreased or remained constant in recent years, scientists say. A report released earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey attributes the decreases to radioactive decay, changes in waste-disposal methods, cleanup efforts and dilution from water coming into the Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

Associated Press [Author: Keith Ridler]

Decommissioned Nuclear Reactor Will Be Heavy Load for Nevada Roads

The nuclear reactor vessel from Southern California’s decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has started to make its way toward Las Vegas by rail. At more than 1.5 million pounds, it will be the largest and heaviest object ever moved on a Nevada road.

Las Vegas Review-Journal [Author: Marvin Clemons]

The Sioux Man 'Empowering' Standing Rock with Solar Power

Thirty-five-year-old Cody Two Bears from Cannon Ball is the driving force behind the 300-kilowatt solar farm, North Dakota's first, which formally opened last year and he dreams of bringing solar-powered energy infrastructure and "energy sovereignty" to Native American reservations around the U.S.

Al Jazeera [Author: Stephen Starr]

As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive

The Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, N.C., is one of the world’s largest pork processing facilities, employing about 4,500 people and slaughtering roughly 30,000 pigs a day at its peak. And like more than 100 other meat plants across the United States, the facility has seen a substantial number of coronavirus cases. But the exact number of workers in Tar Heel who have tested positive is anyone’s guess.

New York Times [Authors: Michael Corkery, David Yaffe-Bellany, and Derek Kravitz]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Providing Multilingual and Multicultural Health Information

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine (NLM) will host a webinar on June 2 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The presentation will start with some background data about immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. It will touch briefly on concepts related to cultural competence and humility. Finally, it will review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Refugee Health Profiles, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Minority Health, and the NLM’s MedlinePlus and HealthReach.

Webinar Information

COVID-19 and Health Equity: A Policy Platform and Voices from Health Departments

Human Impact Partners is hosting a virtual convening on June 4 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT to discuss how public health can play a role in advancing long-term policy solutions that center equity. The webinar is being co-hosted in partnership with the American Public Health Association, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Big Cities Health Coalition, HealthBegins, and National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Webinar Registration

APHA Chemical and Health Committee Monthly Call

Given the increase in public attention and potential exposure to disinfectants and their biproducts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Chemical and Health Committee will feature a special guest on their monthly call. Stephanie Holm, Ph.D., from the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit will present on why making safer cleaning and disinfecting choices is important, the health risks of common disinfectants, and how to find safer products. The call will be on June 5 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Link

National Tribal Toxics Council Technical Support Request for Applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) is announcing a five year assistance agreement to eligible applicants to provide technical support to OPPT's National Tribal Toxics Council (NTTC) in order to represent tribal interests in the development and implementation of chemical risk assessment, risk management and pollution prevention programs. Applications are due on June 15.


EPA Environmental Justice Grants Opportunity to Address COVID-19 Impacts Faced by Vulnerable Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $1 million in grant funding available to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for projects to improve the health and welfare of low income, minority, tribal and indigenous communities. EPA will give special consideration to those applications aimed at addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic communities with EJ concerns. The deadline to apply is June 30.


U.S. Department of Labor Announces Availability of $11.5 Million In Worker Safety and Health Training Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the availability of $11.5 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 deadline to apply is July 20.


Superfund Research Program Occupational Health and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies

The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The overarching goal of this R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. The deadline to apply is Aug. 3 by 5:00 p.m. local time.

NIEHS Grants

New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Workplace – Risk Factors and Solutions

New Solutions seeks manuscripts on the subject of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and its occupational and environmental health policy impacts from the local to international levels. Manuscripts can be submitted immediately and for the foreseeable future. Accepted papers will be published as quickly as possible.

Call for Papers

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

With Summer Heat Waves, Hurricanes, and Flooding on the Horizon, Disaster Responders Grapple with Planning for Extreme Weather in the Time of COVID-19

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above-normal 2020 hurricane season, with the possibility of three to six major hurricanes this summer looming over millions of Americans. In Michigan, record rainfall caused two dams to fail in quick succession, triggering an evacuation of over 10,000 nearby residents. In the time of COVID-19, crowding into an emergency shelter with thousands of others seems unsafe, if not impossible.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [Author: Megan Lowry]

What Data Do We Need to Reopen the Country? Webinar Explores What to Watch

Instead of an “all-or-nothing” approach to disease prevention, Americans need guidance on how to safely return to school, work, and other activities mid-pandemic, said panelists at a May 13 COVID-19 Conversations webinar. “We’re going to have to do things more safely and with a lot more awareness about the risk of transmission,” said moderator Scott Gottlieb, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [Author: Stephanie Miceli]

Up to 220 Million People Globally May Be at Risk of Arsenic-Contaminated Water

As many as 220 million people around the world may be at risk of drinking arsenic-contaminated groundwater, a new study finds. Combining climate, environmental and geologic data with machine learning, researchers made a global map, described in the May 22 Science, that predicts where groundwater arsenic concentrations are likeliest to exceed 10 micrograms per liter, a safe drinking water limit set by the World Health Organization.

Science News [Author: Carolyn Gramling]

Renewable Energy Industry Hammered by Job Losses

In a setback for efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the long list of the newly unemployed includes solar technicians, HVAC contractors, and a legion of others hired in recent years to build renewable energy projects and install efficient appliances.

Boston Globe [Author: David Abel]

BlueGreen Alliance Safe Job Checklist

Whether you are delivering take-out dinners, shelving food in a grocery store, shipping out boxes in a warehouse, manufacturing toilet paper or nursing patients in an intensive care unit, there are six things you need to keep yourself safe. By sharing your workplace information anonymously, the BlueGreen Alliance can identify where rules are needed most and focus our efforts to help keep workers and communities safe.

BlueGreen Alliance

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Partnership Is the Key to Legacy Management Success on the Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation extends over 26,000 square miles and is the largest sovereign nation in the U.S. The legacy of mining on the Navajo Nation dates to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Mining activities included uranium, vanadium, copper, coal, sand, and gravel. The rush to build nuclear weapons, in order to fight World War II and the Cold War, brought an unprecedented need for the exploration, mining, and milling of uranium.

U.S. Department of Energy

EPA Announces Additional Procedures to Add New Disinfectant Products to List N and Creates New Web-Based Application Tool for Consumers to Find Disinfectant Products to Use Against SARS-CoV-2

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced additional procedures for registrants to add new disinfectant products to EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 that are considered to be safe and effective for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


COVID-19 Guidance for Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. The agency will be issuing a series of alerts designed to keep workers safe. In a nursing home or long-term care facility, the following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

OSHA Alert

COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season

To address the challenges of managing disaster response and recovery efforts during this year’s hurricane season, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is releasing the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters, while continuing to respond to and recover from coronavirus.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

The Disaster Worker Resiliency Training Program: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Disaster workers are at elevated risk for mental health problems as a result of trauma exposures during response efforts. A new study published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health evaluates the efficacy of a resilience building workshop, the Disaster Worker Resiliency Training Program, in disaster workers previously exposed to Hurricane Sandy.

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health

Job OpeningsBack to Top

UCLA-LOSH Seeks Health and Safety Training Coordinator

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH) is hiring a new position. The Health and Safety Training Coordinator is responsible for providing open-enrollment and contract courses related to hazardous materials handling, hazardous waste cleanup, and hazmat emergency response.

Job Posting

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