November 3, 2023
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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Bringing Attention to Our 2023 SBIR Grant Award Recipients
Technological advances have created opportunities to deliver accessible, accurate, and interactive training electronically. The Small Business Programs (SBIR/STTR) E-Learning for HAZMAT Program focuses on the development of e-learning products that support health and safety training of hazardous materials workers, emergency responders, and skilled support personnel; community and citizen preparation and resiliency; and research into the acute and long-term health effects of environmental disasters. The WTP awards SBIR grants to further the development of e-learning products that support the health and safety training of hazardous materials workers, emergency responders, and skilled support personnel.
Medical School on Cherokee Reservation Will Soon Send Doctors to Tribal, Rural Areas
Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation is the only medical program on a Native American reservation and affiliated with a tribal government. The program in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, aims to increase the number of Cherokee and other Indigenous physicians. It’s also focused on expanding the number of doctors from all backgrounds who serve rural or tribal communities. Rural residents make up about 14% of the U.S. population but fewer than 5% of incoming medical students. Native Americans are 3% of the population but represented only 0.2% of those accepted to medical school for the 2018-19 school year.
Kaiser Health News [Author: Arielle Zionts]
A 'Tropical Disease' Carried by Sand Flies Is Confirmed in A New Country: The U.S.
The World Health Organization says between 600,000 and 1 million new infections of cutaneous leishmaniasis happen worldwide every year, mostly in tropical regions of the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and Central Asia. These illnesses can be disfiguring, even if they are rarely fatal. In 2014, a 3-year-old in Texas was diagnosed with cutaneous leishmaniasis and had not been outside the U.S. Research shows that Leishmania mexicana, the parasite responsible for most infections within the U.S., are genetically distinct from ones picked up abroad, making clear that they have made a home for themselves in the U.S.
NPR [Author: Max Barnhart]
Extreme Heat Could Lead To 233% Increase in U.S. Excess Cardiovascular Deaths, Study Says
Between 2008-2019, extreme heat was associated with 1,651 excess cardiovascular deaths like this each year in the U.S. As a result of climate change over the coming decades, these deaths could increase by as much as 233% annually. Just how big of an increase in excess cardiovascular deaths the U.S. will face depends on how much greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Non-Hispanic Black adults and elderly adults are expected to experience a higher burden of heat-related illness and death than younger, non-Hispanic white adults. The increase in excess deaths will likely be even greater in countries and regions with even more extreme heat, more population density, and fewer resources than the U.S.
STAT News [Author: Theresa Gaffney]
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Generative AI and the Implications for Science Communication
New innovations in large language modeling and other generative artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, have spurred debate about their capacities, risks, and broader societal implications. This webinar will explore what these technologies are, how they work, and how they may change the information landscape going forward; consider positive innovations they could facilitate in science communication; and discuss systemic limitations and risks, as well as the broad ethical and social implications of these technologies. The webinar will take place on November 7, 2023, from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET.
Climate Conversations: Future of Fossil Fuels
As the United States decarbonizes its economy and strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, production and consumption of fossil fuels will need to decline substantially. The conversation will include discussion of environmental remediation, maintaining the safety and reliability of existing fossil fuel infrastructure, and socioeconomic impacts in fossil fuel dependent communities. The webinar will be webcast on November 16, 2023, from 3:00-4:15 p.m. ET.
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Health Care Workers More Likely to Report Burnout, Worse Mental Health Than Before the COVID Pandemic
Health care workers are facing increased mental health struggles that can lead to burnout or workers thinking of finding another job, according to survey results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC urged health care employers to take care of their worker’s mental health and foster a healthy work environment. Health care workers are now more likely to report that they struggle with anxiety, depression, harassment in the workplace, and workplace pressures that compound on these issues, compared to surveys from before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maryland Matters [Author: Danielle J. Brown]
How Hurricane Otis Stunned Forecasters with Its Leap to a Category 5
When residents of Acapulco, Mexico, went to bed on Monday, Wednesday’s forecast called for gusty winds and some downpours. Instead, Otis intensified faster than any other eastern Pacific storm on record Tuesday and became the strongest hurricane to ever strike Mexico slamming Acapulco as a “potentially catastrophic Category 5.” As winds catapulted to Category 5 strength Tuesday evening, shocked forecasters at the National Hurricane Center described the storm’s extreme intensification as a “nightmare scenario” and “extremely dangerous situation.” Some climate scientists have warned that extremely rapid intensification, made more likely by the effects of human-caused climate change and warming oceans, will lead to more unpredictable storms.
The Washington Post (subscription may be required) [Authors: Matthew Cappucci & Jason Samenow]
Stigma, Solutions & Sympathy | Native Leaders Confront the Overdose Epidemic in Indian Country on Live Stream Series
In 2020, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that Indian Country saw a 39% spike in opioid overdoses, killing more than 7,500 people. The opioid epidemic has hit Native Americans especially hard, killing Indigenous people at 2.6 times the rate of white Americans. Solutions for the opioid epidemic and stories from impacted individuals were shared during two live streams held on the Native News Online Facebook page in late October 2023. The livestreams were sponsored by Cherokee Nation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, and Kauffman and Associates Inc.
Native News Online [Author: Chez Oxendine]
|Federal Agency Update
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EPA Advances Enforcement Actions to Protect Communities from Hazardous Lead Paint
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a snapshot of enforcement actions taken across the country in 2023 to protect children and their families from the health hazards posed by exposure to lead-based paint. EPA enforcement actions help ensure that renovation contractors, landlords, property management companies and realtors comply with rules that protect the public from exposure to lead from lead paint. EPA rules require renovation firms to protect their customers by using certified renovators and lead-safe work practices. They also require renovators, landlords and others to tell tenants and buyers about known lead paint in a home.
CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Launches First Federal Campaign for Hospitals to Tackle Healthcare Workers Burnout
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced the launch of Impact Wellbeing. This new campaign provides hospital leaders with evidence-informed resources to improve workplace policies and practices that reduce burnout, normalize help-seeking, and strengthen professional wellbeing. Impact Wellbeing supports hospital leaders, and in turn their healthcare workforce, by providing actionable steps to fine-tune quality improvements, establish new workflows, and help staff feel safe seeking help.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces $1.3 Billion to Build Out Nation’s Electric Transmission and Releases New Study Identifying Critical Grid Needs
As part of the President’s Investing in America agenda the Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to a $1.3 billion commitment in three transmission lines crossing six states. This historic commitment will advance transformative projects aimed at adding 3.5 gigawatts (GW) of additional grid capacity throughout the United States, equivalent to powering approximately 3 million homes, and creating more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs. To ensure that transmission buildout is done in an informed and precise manner, DOE also released the final National Transmission Needs Study to provide insight into where the grid—and American communities—would benefit from increased transmission.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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The Ripple Effect of Climate-Induced High Heat: One Step Beyond Heat Stress, a Myriad of Health Effects
Even as this record-breaking hot summer winds down, some parts of the country continue to experience unprecedented high heat days, giving a disturbing preview of climate crisis-fueled summers to come. Heat stress, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses are top of mind. Health statuses and social determinants of health can increase one’s risk of illness, hospitalization, and death from heat exposure – and may have compounding effects. As the climate crisis progresses, extreme heat will become more frequent. Clinicians must educate patients, year-round, about how heat can affect their conditions and medications, and brainstorm strategies together to avoid those effects.
Workshop Report- Preventing Aerosol-Transmissible Diseases in Healthcare Settings
The report from the “Preventing Aerosol-Transmissible Diseases in Healthcare Settings” workshop, which includes key recommendations made by participants, speakers and panelists for the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on infection control in healthcare settings, has been transmitted to CDC and is now posted on the workshop webpage, along with the recording of the workshop.
2024 Disaster Site Response for Trainers Institute Application is Now Open
Participants of this training will be prepared through a five-day program to obtain safety authorizations for public and private disaster site responders and workers. Courses include OSHA’s 15-hour Disaster Site Worker, Hazardous Awareness and Communications, and Incident Command. Training will take place from January 8-12, 2024, at the Indian River State College Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex in Fort Pierce, Florida. Upon successful completion of training, participants will receive an OSHA Disaster Site Worker card. The application deadline is November 13, 2023.
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CenterPoint Energy Seeking Industrial Hygiene Specialist
CenterPoint Energy is looking for an Industrial Hygiene Specialist to join the Safety & Technical Training Team, located in Houston, Texas. Responsibilities will include ensuring compliance with applicable State and Federal Regulations as well as CenterPoint Energy's policies and best practices. This position will focus on the continuous improvement of CenterPoint Energy's policies, programs, and work practices in an effort to maintain a safe work environment.
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