November 6, 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.
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- Top Stories
- Calendar Features
- On The Web This Week
- Federal Agency Update
- Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
- Job Openings
- We Want Your Feedback
- Newsbriefs Past Issues
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Unified Vision for Training Workers
Participants in the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) fall 2020 workshop on Sept. 23-24 discussed strategies to enhance and unify their efforts. “Regardless of the circumstances we face, the principles of industrial hygiene, exposure, and public health are not going to change,” said WTP Director Joseph “Chip” Hughes. “These are the principles we must hold onto as we consider a vision forward.”
Environmental Factor [Author: Kenda Freeman]
WIPP: Shipments to Increase from Los Alamos After Indoor Facility Completed
An indoor facility for preparing nuclear waste shipments at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) could mean more loads of nuclear waste could be sent year-round to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. On Oct. 22, the U.S. Department of Energy announced two shipments of transuranic waste were shipped from the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing facility at Los Alamos.
Carlsbad Current-Argus [Author: Adrien Hedden]
Clouds of Concern Linger as Wildfires Drag into Flu Season and COVID-19 Numbers Swell
Worry is only growing as the fire season expands into the flu season, and continues to choke the air with wildfire smoke, while the risk of COVID-19 infections swells, too. Roughly 78 million people who live in the smoky West also face heightened health risks from two viruses, the common flu and the coronavirus that has claimed more than 223,000 American lives.
Inside Climate News [Author: Judy Fahys]
Exposure to Environmental Immunotoxicants May Worsen Outcome of SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Several studies have shown that increased exposure to polluted air is associated with the severity of disease. Air pollution has also been shown to aggravate the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Many industrial chemicals are known to suppress immune functions and worsen the disease course in many infections. Immunotoxic industrial chemicals like perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFAS) may contribute to this as well.
News-Medical [Author: Susha Cheriyedath]
About 20% of Grocery Store Workers Had COVID-19, and Most Didn't Have Symptoms, Study Found
Grocery store work puts employees at serious risk for infection, a new study found, particularly those who have to interact with customers. These workers likely became a "significant transmission source" for COVID-19 without even knowing it because most in the study were asymptomatic.
CNN [Author: Jen Christensen]
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Webinar: COVID-19 and Native American Health: How Tribal Leaders Are Beating Back the Virus
US News & World Report is hosting a webinar on Nov. 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The webinar, “COVID-19 and Native American Health, How Tribal Leaders Are Beating Back the Virus,” will be an in-depth discussion of why American Indians are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and the strategies tribal leaders are implementing to protect their communities. This webinar is part of the Community Health Leadership Forum, a virtual event series focused on improving community health and addressing the social determinants of health.
Superfund Research Program Progress in Research Webinar Part 3: Vulnerable Populations
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program’s (SRP) “Progress in Research” webinar series features the Superfund Research Center grants awarded in 2020. In this session taking place on Nov. 9 at 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET, awardees from Northeastern University and University of Alabama at Birmingham will describe their research projects, accomplishments, and next steps.
Biomonitoring and Risk Assessment: Essential Concepts & Emerging Technology Webinar
Biological monitoring (biomonitoring) is a method for capturing information on cumulative exposures and health-related effects of chemical and nonchemical stressors. This presentation, hosted by the University of Cincinnati Education and Research Center, will examine the rapidly evolving state of biomarker research and application in risk assessment using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) exposure as an illustration. The webinar will be hosted on Nov. 10 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.
EPA Hosts Webinar on Tribal and Indigenous EJ Policy, EJ Financial Assistance Programs, and Tribal and Indigenous Experiences Using the EJ Financial Programs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a webinar for federally recognized tribes and indigenous peoples to learn about the EPA Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples and EPA’s EJ financial assistance programs. These programs are available to help tribes and indigenous peoples in the United States to address their EJ concerns and interests. The webinar will be held Nov. 10 at 2:30-4:00 p.m. ET.
Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic Nov. 12 Public Virtual Symposium
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) established the Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic in 2018 as a public-private partnership to foster greater coordination and collective action across the health system and beyond in addressing the opioid addiction crisis. During this virtual symposium, Action Collaborative members will present the resources and tools created since the inception of the Action Collaborative that address among the most critical drivers of the opioid epidemic.
ECA and ECOS: Post-Election Insights Webinar
On Nov. 12 at 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET, the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) and Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) will host a webinar with post-election insights from experts on possible implications and changes to the U.S. Department of Energy and an outlook for state and local governments.
Emerging Technologies: The Future of Ergonomics Webinar
The field of ergonomics is rapidly changing. Emerging technologies such as exoskeletons, wearable sensors, computer-vision, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality are being integrated into how companies & ergonomists provide services. This presentation, hosted by North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center, will provide a “high-level” overview of this topic. The webinar will be held Nov. 18 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.
OSHA, PHMSA Request Public Input in Advance of International Meetings
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will hold virtual public meetings on Nov. 19. The purpose of the meetings is to consider public comments and gather information in advance of the 39th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS).
National Conference on Worker Safety and Health Registration Is Open
The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON2020) is the only national gathering of its kind. It brings together a diverse, inclusive, and bilingual group of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists, and academics united around common goals. With a global pandemic, all of this matters more than ever, so COSHCON2020 is still on virtually on Dec. 1-3 and Dec 8-10.
Data, Professional Judgment, and Modeling in Occupational Exposure Assessment Webinar
Exposure underestimates are a professional and ethical issue for Industrial Hygienists. This presentation, hosted by Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupational Safety and Health, will discuss the lack of adequate monitoring data for decision-making in industrial hygiene (IH), the over-reliance on professional judgment, and the limitations of professional judgments. The webinar will be held Dec. 8 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.
Fatigue in the Workplace: Effects on Health and Performance and Measurement Considerations Webinar
A leading cause of non-fatal work injuries is overexertion and bodily reaction. What is less understood is the role fatigue plays as a contributing factor. Fatigue in the workplace is a multidimensional process that results in diminished worker performance and is often underappreciated and unrecognized. This webinar will present an overview of worker fatigue and how it may be defined, examine ramifications on worker health and performance, and identify measurement considerations. The webinar will be held Dec. 16 at 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET.
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Face Coverings Could Save 130,000 American Lives from COVID-19 by March
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has already claimed the lives of more than 230,000 Americans, the population of a mid-sized U.S. city. As we look ahead to winter and the coming flu season, the question weighing on the minds of most folks is: Can we pull together to contain the spread of this virus and limit its growing death toll? Referenced studies are linked below.
Chemicals, Training and Equipment Strategies For Indoor Air Quality
In the early days of the green cleaning movement, chemicals with lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were often fairly ineffective. That's no longer the case, thanks to advancements in technology. When selecting floor and other cleaning chemicals, the key is choosing the least caustic option that will deliver the desired results.
CleanLink [Author: Becky Mollenkamp]
Talking About Mental Health with Your Employees — Without Overstepping
It’s been called a second pandemic – the mental health implications of the global health crisis, political unrest, economic uncertainty, rising unemployment, social isolation, remote work, home schooling, and so much more. And while it can feel like the first pandemic has been with us long enough for employees to have accessed the necessary resources and strategies for handling their stress, the fact is, many of us are struggling more, not less.
Harvard Business Review [Author: Deborah Grayson Riegel]
The Front Line At Home: A Health Care Worker's New Normal
In the spring, before wearing masks was common, my mother wouldn't leave the house without one. She'd return from a 12-hour shift as an emergency room technician with trenches dug into her face by the N95 she had to reuse for a week at a time.
NPR [Author: Melissa Bunni Elian]
Confronting Urgent Threats to Human Health and Society: COVID-19 and Climate Change
The first virtual National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Annual Meeting was a resounding success. NAM inducted 100 new members and welcomed hundreds more to celebrate another year of improving human health and addressing critical issues in health, medicine, biomedical sciences, and related policy. Presentations and video recordings are now available on the NAM website.
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NIOSH Releases Program Performance Summaries
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released reports on the performance of six of its programs: chronic disease prevention; health hazard evaluations; occupational safety and health surveillance; safe, skilled, ready workforce; services workers; and wholesale and retail trade.
Workplace Safety Targeted in Watchdog’s New Virus-Oversight Plan
The U.S. Labor Department’s (DOL) independent watchdog is expanding the reach of its already wide-ranging review of how multiple DOL agencies have responded to the pandemic, increasing its focus on workplace safety and unemployment insurance. The department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) will launch probes into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to reduce workplace inspections while facing a lawsuit.
EPA Reverses Course, Determines TSCA Chemical Presents ‘Unreasonable Risk’
In a reversal of preliminary findings that the chemical substance Pigment Violet 29 poses no unreasonable risk of injury to humans or the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on a revised draft risk evaluation that states the chemical substance presents unreasonable risk to workers under certain conditions, according to a notice published in the Oct. 30 Federal Register.
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CPWR-NIEHS-NIOSH COVID-19 Webinar: NIEHS Activities, Tools and Resources to Protect Workers from COVID-19
The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) and the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training, with support from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will give an overview of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) activities, tools and resources to provide health and safety guidance to workers who work in industries with the potential for exposure to COVID-19. The webinar will be held on Nov. 12 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Rebooted Chemical Safety Database Now Hosted by CAS
A crowdsourced database of hazardous chemical reactions has become more accessible and scalable thanks to backing from the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) data division, CAS. The freely available Chemical Safety Library (CSL) is intended to improve awareness of potentially hazardous experiments and was originally developed by the U.S. non-profit Pistoia Alliance in 2017.
Chemistry World [Author: Rebecca Trager]
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OAI Seeks Director for Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Training Programs
Chicago-based Opportunity, Advancement, Innovation in Workforce Development (OAI) is looking for an exceptional Occupational Safety, Industrial Hygiene, or Public Health professional to lead OAI’s nationwide worker health and safety training programs. These programs address the needs of first responders, underrepresented workers and job seekers who are most vulnerable to workplace-related injuries and illnesses.
ICWUC Seeks Center Director Position
The International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) seeks applications for the position of Center Director (CD) at its Center for Worker Health and Safety Education, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Center is operated by the ICWUC in cooperation with eleven other major unions and organizations.
NCFH Seeks Manager of Communications and Product Development
This position is responsible for the National Center for Farmworker Health’s (NCFH) corporate communications to promote NCFH mission, products and services, highlight partnerships, and enhance corporate public image through NCFH communication channels to include website, E-digest, constant contact, e-groups, social media channels, etc.
UMN Seeks Midwest Consortium Coordinator Position
This position will coordinate and help manage the administration of the Midwest Consortium in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota (UMN) School of Public Health. The Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training (MWC) delivers model training programs to workers and residents who may be exposed to hazardous substances through 13 training centers in 9 states.
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