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NIEHS WTP: May 20, 2022 Newsbrief

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Weekly E-Newsbrief, May 20, 2022

Weekly E-Newsbrief

May 20, 2022

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

Climate Change Is Endangering the Health of Communities Living Near Chemical Facilities

There are roughly 872 chemical facilities that are susceptible to experiencing a hazardous substance leak triggered by climate change within 50 miles of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Alarmingly, over 4,374,000 people live in close proximity to these chemical plants, which makes these communities prone to toxic exposure in the event of a natural disaster striking one of the chemical facilities.

MedCity News [Author: Jonathan Sharp]

Michigan State University Study Raises Health Concerns for Sand and Gravel Workers

A new study by Michigan State University shows an increase in doctor visits for shortness of breath among long-term sand and gravel mine workers in the state, compared to the rate for production workers in other industries. The College of Human Medicine studied lung disease and the exposure to silica, other allergens and irritants of mine workers who have worked more than 15 years in the industry.

Lenn Connect [Author: Jada Penn]

New Mexico Governor Seeks More U.S. Aid for Wildfire Response

New Mexico's governor is asking for additional federal assistance to respond to wildfires burning across the state's north, including one that is the second-largest in the state’s history and that officials estimate has destroyed hundreds of homes. Nearly 3,000 firefighters and other personnel are fighting the two fires.

ABC News

Why the U.S. Department of Energy Wants $463 Million for Nuclear Waste Facility Near Carlsbad

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) recently-published funding request for its Office of Environmental Management included $462.8 million for the DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office in Fiscal Year 2023 to fund its ongoing activities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant site, an increase of about 10 percent compared to last year’s total of about $420.1 million.

Carlsbad Current Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

The Legacy of Uranium Mining on Navajo Lands

For more than 40 years, millions of tons of Uranium ore were mined from Navajo lands to make nuclear weapons. Thousands of workers were exposed to deadly radiation. Those workers are about to lose funding to cover their health costs.

WBUR [Author: Paige Sutherland and Meghna Chakrabarti]

Hate Your Face Mask? There’s Hope

Now, the mask, named the Airgami, is vying for part of the half-million dollar purse in the final phase of the Mask Innovation Challenge, run by the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The contest aims to promote masks that have a better fit, function, and look than existing designs and to nurture the “rather underfunded and a little stagnant” ecosystem of mask development, says Kumiko Lippold, a BARDA pharmacologist and toxicologist who organizes the challenge.

Science [Author: Jon Cohen]

New Texas Plan for Federal Hurricane Harvey Aid Yields Same Old Result: Funds Diverted Away from Gulf Coast

Of the more than 300,000 homes in Texas damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, none were in Coryell County. Located 220 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, this small agricultural county was not the place Congress had in mind when it sent Texas more than $4 billion in disaster preparedness money six months following the storm, said U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston.

Texas Tribune [Author: Zach Despart]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

NIOSH Webinar: Promoting Partnerships to Explore the Impacts of Technological Change on Work and Well-being with a Focus on Disparities

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Expanding Research Partnerships webinar series is designed to promote innovative and impactful work and expand partnerships in occupational safety and health. This three-part series for 2022 explores how technological change is impacting work and well-being. The June 8 webinar at 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET webinar will approach this topic through the lens of work-related disparities.

Webinar Registration

Opioids and the Workplace, Risk Factors and Solutions

NIEHS WTP is hosting a webinar on opioids and the workplace on June 9 at 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET. The presenters will share potential strategies to reduce the negative impact of workplace factors on the opioid crisis and reform punitive policies into supportive ones. These strategies include policy changes at the workplace, community, state, and federal levels to begin or expand interventions, as well as training, research, and funding opportunities.

Webinar Registration

NHMA COVID-19 Virtual Briefing Series

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and its partners held its first virtual briefing on COVID-19 in May of 2020. The NHMA COVID-19 Virtual Briefing Series addresses timely lessons learned by physicians and healthcare providers from the COVID-19 pandemic on managing chronic care patients, mental health, the future of healthcare delivery, elderly issues, and terminal illness planning. The next webinar will be held on June 29 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

2022 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media

After two years of hosting the conference in a virtual only environment, we look forward to convening the 2022 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media (NCHCMM) in-person August 16-18 in Atlanta, Georgia.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Opioid Crisis: U.S. Overdose Deaths Hit Record 107K Last Year, CDC Says

More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation's escalating overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated. The provisional 2021 total translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes. It marked a 15% increase from the previous record, set the year before.

ABC7 [Author: Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer]

Workers Exposed to PFAS in a Variety of Industries

Most ski wax is a petroleum product filled with chemicals that can be harmful to human health. Some high-end wax can contain PFAS–a type of petroleum derivative added to make skis glide faster. PFAS, which stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are toxic chemicals linked to health problems such as certain types of cancer, reproductive issues, and birth defects.

Environmental Health News [Author: Grace van Deelen]

Closing the Loop: IAEA Promotes Reuse and Recycling of Sealed Radioactive Sources

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has brought together decision makers, users, regulators, manufacturers, suppliers, and waste management specialists to share their strategies and experiences. The initiative will lead to the publication of a technical document on the reuse and recycling of disused sealed radioactive sources.

IAEA News Center

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health

Missouri Legislators Weaken Regulations for Hazardous Waste, ‘Advanced Recycling’

Legislation would bar Missouri from enacting hazardous waste rules that are any stricter than federal regulation. It would also allow advanced — or chemical — recycling facilities to operate without a solid waste permit. Critics worry the two policies will leave Missourians more vulnerable to being exposed to dangerous chemicals.

Missouri Independent [Author: Allison Kite]

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Rates of ‘Moral Injury’ Among Health Care Workers Similar to Combat Vets

The rates of “moral injury” that health care workers experienced during the first year of COVID-19 pandemic was akin to those of U.S. military combat veterans, results of a recent study show. Researchers from Duke University, Vanderbilt University and the Department of Veterans Affairs define a “moral injury” as damage to a person’s identity or conscience after witnessing, causing or failing to prevent acts that are contradictory to their own moral standards.

Safety and Health Magazine

Meat Industry Hyped ‘Baseless’ Shortage to Keep Plants Open Amid COVID-19

The biggest players in the U.S. meat industry pressed “baseless” claims of beef and pork shortages early in the pandemic to persuade the Trump White House to keep processing plants running, disregarding the coronavirus risks that eventually killed at least 269 workers, according to a special House committee investigation.

The Washington Post [Author: Taylor Telford]

U.S. to Boost Green Jobs, Curb Emissions by Plugging Old Oil and Gas Wells

For years, the smell of gas wafting through the grounds of the Franciscan Village senior housing facility in Cleveland was a joke among its residents, although they did not realize where the odor was coming from. A few months ago, they found out.

Go Erie [Author: Carey L. Biron, Thomson Reuters Foundation]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Biden Administration Launches an Initiative to Help Protect People’s Health from Climate Events

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity launched the first installment of a new public information series called the Climate and Health Outlook (Outlook). This new Outlook series connects weather forecasts to health resources to create actionable data that saves lives and reduces illness and health risks.

HHS News Release

GAO Report: Disaster Resilience and Opportunities to Improve National Preparedness

Disasters like hurricanes and wildfires affect hundreds of American communities. Investments in disaster resilience can reduce the overall impact and costs of future disasters. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on federal opportunities to improve national preparedness and resilience.

GAO Report

EPA to Award $6.5 Million to Address Contaminated Sites in New Jersey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is awarding $254.5 million in Brownfields Grants to 265 communities, including four grants totaling $6.5 million across New Jersey. Grants are supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.

Insider NJ

U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Southwest Employers That Workers Need Protection from The Dangers of Heat Illness

As temperatures rise in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds employers and workers not to ignore the dangers of working in hot weather – indoors and out – and remember “Water. Rest. Shade.” can be the difference between ending the workday safely or suffering serious injuries or worse.

U.S. Department of Labor Newsroom

FOA: 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 Technology-enhanced training products for the health and safety training of, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers; and disaster response and recovery workers, among others.

Grant Posting

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

NIAA Resource: The Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has just launched The Healthcare Professional’s Core Resource on Alcohol. This new online resource will help a wide range of healthcare professionals to improve care for patients whose use of alcohol may be affecting their health. The “Core Resource” was created by NIAAA with input from practicing primary care providers, clinical psychologists, and pharmacists.

NIAA Resource

WTP Opioids and Substance Use: Workplace Prevention and Response

The Trauma of Avian Flu: What Workers Need

Avian flu is back, and it’s killing millions of chickens and turkeys across the Midwest and East Coast. In the short time that the H5N1 strain of avian flu has been spreading, over 37 million poultry have been affected in 29 states. The current outbreak is much wider geographically, but not yet as destructive as the last significant outbreak in 2015, where more than 50 million poultry died of avian flu or were culled to prevent the spread.

Migrant Clinician Network

Job OpeningsBack to Top

UW Seeks Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program Director

The University of Washington (UW) announces an open national faculty search for an Associate or Full Professor to serve as the Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) Program Director. The UW OEM Program includes an academic scholarly research program, a clinical service, a component in a NIOSH Education and Research Center, and an MPH track in the School of Public Health.

Job Posting

UC Berkeley LOHP Seeks Coordinator of Public Programs

The University of California Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) is seeking a bilingual (English/Spanish) program coordinator to develop training and outreach programs with low-wage and immigrant workers, with a special emphasis on reaching workers who may be exposed to chemical/environmental hazards or who play roles in disaster preparedness and response, for example, for wildfires.

Job Posting

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