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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: October 23, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, October 23, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

October 23, 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

People Power: SRS History Includes the People who Have Worked There

While the Savannah River Site (SRS) celebrates its 70th anniversary, it is a time to reflect on the government complex’s major economic impact locally over the years and its missions to first provide nuclear materials for weapons during the Cold War and then to make sure the resulting waste was disposed of safely.

Aiken Standard [Author: Dede Biles]

Toxic PFAS Waste that Lasts ‘Forever’ Poses Financial, Logistical Challenges for Landfills

For decades, the Marathon County Solid Waste Department in Wisconsin sent leachate from all three of its landfills for treatment to a facility along the Wisconsin River. Last year, that facility sent a letter to the county through an attorney stating they would no longer accept the leachate. Johnson, the department’s director, said they cited concerns about PFAS and “the potential for litigation.”

Waste Dive [Author: E.A. Crunden]

Burning ‘Forever Chemicals’ Emerges as Industry Flash Point

Earlier this year, federal and state officials prepared a study meant to address one of the biggest issues facing the waste industry. Focused on PFAS, the test would use surrogate compounds in smokestacks to gauge how the chemicals react to traditional MSW incineration. The test would take place in August, at a public sector facility operated by Covanta in Rahway, New Jersey.

Waste Dive [Author: E.A. Crunden]

Scottsdale Fire Department Flying Drones to Increase Public, Firefighter Safety

Scottsdale Fire Department is embracing new drone technology to increase the safety of its firefighters and reduce wait times on rescue missions. Drones have been used by the Scottsdale Fire Department for about a month; however, Oct. 15 was the official launch of the program. In the past month, the drones have flown six times to assist in structure fires.

Arizona Republic [Author: Katelyn Keenehan]

Hurricanes Repeatedly Devastate this South Carolina Town, Leaving a Stinking Threat Behind: Mold

Almost every time Gwen Felton opened the door to her father’s mobile home, a blast of stinking, moldy air smacked her in the face. Mold had spread across the floors, crept up the walls and darkened the windowsills of her dad’s trailer after a series of hurricanes and floods began pounding Sellers five years ago. And as the fungus advanced, her father’s already fragile health seemed to get worse.

News and Observer [Author: Sammy Fretwell]

‘Game Changer.’ Could Tri-Cities Be the Future Home of an Advanced Nuclear Reactor?

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that X-energy of Rockville, Maryland, and TerraPower, of Bellevue, Washington, partnered with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, were each awarded $80 million under the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. The awards are intended to build two, first-of-kind advanced reactors that can be operational within seven years.

Tri-City Herald

Union President said Baltimore Health Department Worker’s Death Can be Traced Back to Job

The president of a union representing community health nurses in the Baltimore City Department of Health attributed a school health aide’s death earlier this month to poor working conditions exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Wendy Smith, president of Local 558 of AFSCME Council 67, said Marchiel McDuffie had expressed fears about reporting to work. The veteran health department employee died Oct. 8 of COVID-19.

Baltimore Sun [Author: Hallie Miller]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Save the Date: Fall 2020 NIH Virtual Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a virtual seminar that will cover the NIH grant process. If you’re new to working with the NIH grants process as an investigator or administrator, then mark your calendar for Oct. 27-30 for a unique opportunity to learn, share and meet virtually with NIH and HHS experts.

NIH Extramural Nexus

Webinar: Home Office Safety for Remote Workers

Compliance leaders are now faced with a critical challenge: how do you adapt your safety compliance program to support a remote workforce? In this EHS Today session, Donna McEntee, Director of EHS Compliance Products for Skillsoft, will discuss the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s perspective of remote work, the principal safety concerns and key issues to consider when implementing compliance policies for remote workers. The webinar will be held on Oct. 29 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Management During Difficult Times: Supporting Workers and Families to Prevent Burnout and Promote Well-Being

For National Work and Family Month, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Total Worker Health Program is pleased to host Dr. Gwen Fisher, from Colorado State University, and Corey Berkey of JazzHR in conversation. During the presentation, speakers will cover topics including resources for workers to address work stress. The webinar will be held Oct. 29 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting Registration

Call for Abstracts: 2021 Preparedness Summit

The National Association of County and City Health Officials is accepting abstract submissions for their 2021 Preparedness Summit. This year’s theme, "When Crisis is Commonplace: Transforming Your Community’s Public Health Preparedness Practices". Summit Planning Committee members will review all abstracts. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31.

2021 Preparedness Summit Submissions

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.

Meeting Registration

Save the Date: Brownfields 2021 Dates Are Moving

The goal of the National Brownfields Training Conference is to provide a networking and learning environment for the brownfields community. Due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and having these considerations in mind, Brownfields 2021 will be rescheduled from its current April dates. Brownfields 2021 will now be held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, from Sept. 27-30, 2021.

More Information

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Publication of Environmental Justice Panel Presentations at Feb. 13 Michigan EJ Commemoration

In February, the University of Michigan commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the 1990 Michigan Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards. The 1990 Conference was credited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of two events to bring the issue of environmental racism and injustice to the attention of the agency and sparked high-level government meetings. Below are articles on several of the panels held at the conference.

Thirty Years Working for Environmental Justice: Commemorating the 1990 Michigan Conference on Race and the Environment and Looking Toward the Future [Authors: Paul Mohai and Bunyan Bryant]

The Rocks and Stones Themselves… [Author: Michel Gelobter]

Commemorating, Celebrating, and Rededicating to the Fight for Environmental Justice: National Environmental Justice Game Changers [Authors: Paul Mohai, Bunyan Bryant, and Craig Slatin]

“I Didn't Choose This. It Chose Me.” Community-Based Environmental Justice Leaders [Authors: Paul Mohai, Bunyan Bryant, and Craig Slatin]

Gulf Research Program Annual Report 2019

Each year, the Gulf Research Program (GRP) produces an annual report to summarize how funds were used. These reports review accomplishments and highlight activities. This report 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.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Gulf Research Program

COVID-19 and Mental Health in the Workplace: Solutions for Employers and Employees

The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM) hosted a webinar that brought together experts to explore the challenges that the pandemic poses for mental health and workplace well-being. It also provided actionable strategies for employees and employers to prioritize mental health.


COVID-19 in a Correctional Facility Employee Following Multiple Brief Exposures to Persons with COVID-19 – Vermont, July–August 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance on close contact to include individuals who have 15 minutes of cumulative exposure to an infected individual within six feet over the course of a day, without regard to wearing respiratory personal protective equipment. The tightening of the guidelines came after a report in the CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Report (MMWR) on a corrections officer becoming infected after close contact with positive individuals but for less than 15 consecutive minutes.


Top 25 Most Dangerous Jobs in the United States

AdvisorSmith studied the most dangerous jobs in the United States based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The report studied professions with minimum employment of 50,000 workers to find the 25 most dangerous jobs among 263 total professions in the study. The fatality rate was normalized by adjusting the number of fatalities by employment in each profession.

AdvisorSmith [Author: Adrian Mak]

New Release: Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Workshop

In August 2020, the Environmental Health Matters Initiative (EHMI) at the National Academies hosted a virtual workshop on airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. Thousands of researchers and experts in aerosol sciences, virology, infections disease, and epidemiology came together to discuss the evolving science related to the spread of the virus.

Workshop Summary

Japan to Release 1m Tonnes of Contaminated Fukushima Water Into the Sea – Reports

Japan’s government has reportedly decided to release more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea, setting it on a collision course with local fishermen who say the move will destroy their industry. Media reports said work to release the water, which is being stored in more than 1,000 tanks, would begin in 2022 at the earliest and would take decades to complete.

The Guardian [Author: Justin McCurry]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Frequently Asked Question and Answer Confirming N95 Respirators Protect Against the Coronavirus

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on how N95 respirators effectively protect wearers from coronavirus exposure. OSHA is aware of incorrect claims stating that N95 respirators filter does not capture particles as small as the virus that causes the coronavirus. OSHA's new FAQ explains why an N95 respirator is effective at protecting users from the virus.


Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

New: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Preservation Planning Toolkit

This toolkit was developed by the COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group and includes links to a guide and an Excel spreadsheet that can help users understand types of PPE preservation strategies and calculate how using those strategies can increase the duration of a specified PPE supply.

ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange

Job OpeningsBack to Top

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.

Job Posting

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.

Job Posting

MassCOSH Seeks Youth Programs Director

The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) is a nonprofit organization that builds the power of workers – both youth and adults – to lead efforts that achieve safe, healthy working conditions. MassCOSH is seeking a Youth Programs Director for its youth-led Teens Lead @ Work (TL@W) youth leadership and organizing program. The deadline to apply is Oct. 24.

Job Posting

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