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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: October 1, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, October 1, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

October 1, 2021

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

At Least Three Killed and 50 Hurt in Amtrak Derailment in Montana, Officials Say

At least three people were killed and 50 others were injured after an Amtrak train derailed in Montana on Sept. 25, setting off a frantic response by rescuers who scrambled to extricate passengers from cars, the authorities said. Amtrak said that eight cars on an Empire Builder train had derailed at about 4 p.m. local time near Joplin, Mont.

The New York Times [Authors: Christopher Mele, Vimal Patel, and Michael Levenson]

Cadmium Spiked Inside a Tampa Lead Factory. Workers Didn’t Get Help

In June 2014, an air monitor strapped to a worker inside a Tampa lead factory picked up an unmistakable red flag. The level of cadmium, a toxic metal known to cause cancer, had soared to more than 100 times the federal limit. It happened again the next winter, with the level reaching 75 times the limit. Both times, the amount of cadmium in the air far exceeded the capability of most workers’ protective equipment.

Tampa Bay Times [Authors: Rebecca Woolington, Corey G. Johnson, and Eli Murray]

Cancer-Causing Wastes Still Exist Along the Texas Eastern Pipeline 30 Years After Settlement

It’s been more than 30 years since the public first learned that the former Texas Eastern Transmission Corp. buried industrial fluids containing the carcinogen polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in pits along the natural gas line, including in Shermans Dale. The sites could represent thousands of tons of contaminated soil. The PCBs still have not been fully cleaned up and there isn’t an estimate for when that will be completed.

Penn Live [Author: Jim T. Ryan, Perry County Times]

Vermont Health Care Organizations Help Vaccinate Migrant Farmworkers

Alicia Rodriguez dashed through the cow corrals, searching for her husband. In her hand was a COVID-19 vaccine dose that would expire in just five minutes. Rodriguez was volunteering with Middlebury-based Open Door Clinic in March at the start of its campaign to vaccinate migrant farmworkers in Addison County. The clinic provides free medical services to underserved populations.

VT Digger [Author: Sophia McDermott]

West Oakland Air Pollution Disproportionately Affects Black, Latino Residents, Report Finds

ABC Owned Television Stations launched the Equity Report this week to track and measure racial equity in neighborhoods across 100 of the largest U.S. cities. The results reveal grave inequities in air quality in the Bay Area, with West Oakland residents facing worse health outcomes than almost all other Alameda County residents.

ABC7 News [Author: Julien Glover]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Webinar: Major Chemical Safety Incidents – A Review of Common Causes

Velocity EHS is hosting a webinar on Oct. 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET. This webinar will review incident investigations from The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board with a focus on gathering data on common causes and failure modes and severity data, as well as any links between the facility’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compliance history and major incidents. 

EHS Today

Health Literacy in Practice: Risk Communication

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California Berkeley is hosting a webinar on Oct. 6 at 12:00-1:00 p.m. PT. Health literacy refers to an individual’s ability to understand and act on health information. It also refers to a communicator’s ability to develop messages or materials that are easy for readers of all literacy levels to comprehend. This webinar will explain why health literacy matters for many professionals, including those in risk communication, and provide a few basic strategies for developing clear messages and simple design.

Webinar Information

Assessing Ventilation for COVID-19 Mitigation

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California Berkeley is offering a course on ventilation. Adequate ventilation is a key mitigation factor in the global fight against COVID-19. This hybrid, online and in-person course will review the basics of assessing ventilation at the occupant level and help you establish a framework to identify ventilation vulnerabilities. It will be held on Oct. 26-27.

More Information

APHA Occupational Health and Safety Section Awards Luncheon

The Occupational Health and Safety Section (OHS) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) will be recognizing the contributions of seven exceptional leaders in the fight for worker health and safety during its annual OHS awards luncheon. The luncheon will be held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.

Registration Link

NIHB Save the Date for the 2021 Infectious Disease Regional Institute

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is excited to announce the 2021 Infectious Disease Regional Institute. The Institute will be virtually held on Thursday, November 4, 2021. NIHB is hosting three free regional institutes to provide a learning environment for Tribal frontline personnel and communities experiencing significant disease outbreaks.

More Information Coming Soon

Texas A&M Superfund Research Center Disaster Research Training Workshop

The Texas A&M Superfund Research Center is sponsoring a two-day, hands-on workshop that will be held at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Disaster City, Emergency Operations Training Center, College Station, Texas, on Dec. 2-3. Registration and the workshop agenda are now available.

More Information

Workshop Agenda

COSHCON Registration Now Open

Registration for the National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON2021) is now available. The conference brings together a diverse, inclusive and bilingual group of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists and academics united around common goals. It will be held Dec. 7-9 and 14-16.

Registration Link

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

U.S. Seeks to Ease Testing of Los Alamos Lab's Cancer-Causing Contaminants

Tests that are less able to detect cancer-causing chemicals in water would replace Los Alamos National Laboratory’s current, more acute testing under a regulatory change the U.S. Department of Energy is proposing. The federal agency is using New Mexico’s three-year review of surface water rules to push for a test that’s more limited in detecting polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and to adjust state regulations to accommodate this method.

Santa Fe New Mexican [Author: Scott Wyland]

‘Too Hot to Work’ Report Looks at Impacts of Extreme Heat on Health, Earnings

Temperatures have been reaching record breaking levels across the country — affecting working conditions for farmers, those in construction and even delivery workers. The Biden administration recently launched a plan with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers and communities from extreme heat. According to the White House, OSHA will develop a workplace heat standard.

WTTW [Author: Acacia Hernandez]

Is Climate Change a Worker Safety Issue?

As the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed parts of the U.S. Northeast earlier this month, social media posts documented the extent of the storm system's impact. Particularly notable were videos from cities including New York, where flash flooding led to cascades of stormwater in some of the city's subway stations.

HR Dive [Author: Ryan Golden]

Here Are the Workers Now Eligible for a COVID-19 Booster Shot

Workers whose jobs put them at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 are now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots, according to the latest guidance from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is also now recommended six months after the second dose for adults aged 65 and older, people in institutions, homeless shelters, long-term care facilities, as well as for older Americans with underlying medical conditions.

CBS News [Author: Megan Cerullo]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

CSB Chairman Katherine Lemos Testifies at Congressional Hearing

U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairman Katherine Lemos Testified at the September 29th Hearing Protecting Communities from Industrial Accidents: Revitalizing the Chemical Safety Board. Chairman Lemos was joined by Managing Director LaCerte for invited testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.


CSB Held a Public Board Meeting on September 24, 2021, and Released Two Final Investigation Reports

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) held a public board meeting on Sept. 24 to release two final investigation reports. The first report details the investigation into a fatal incident on May 3, 2019, at the AB Specialty Silicones, LLC (AB Specialty) facility in Waukegan, Illinois. AB Specialty was making a silicon hydride emulsion when a flammable vapor cloud developed and ignited, causing an explosion and fire.


GAO Calls on Congress to Break Used Fuel Disposal Impasse

Congress needs to take action to break the impasse over a permanent solution for commercial used nuclear fuel, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report identifies four matters for congressional consideration - including amending legislation to authorize a new consent-based siting process and restructuring the Nuclear Waste Fund - and recommends that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalize its consent-based siting process.

World Nuclear News

GAO Report

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Registration for Fall 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Now Open

Registration for the semi-annual WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop is now open. The awardee meeting will be held the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 19 and the workshop will be held the afternoons of Oct. 20 and 21. The topic of the workshop is “Advancing partnerships to improve worker health and safety.”

Meeting Website

Meeting Registration

COVID-19 Spanish Language Resources

The Community Health Justice Lab (CHJL), part of the Rutgers University School of Public Health, launched their COVID-19 Spanish site to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in the Hispanic/Latino community. They also produced a video in Spanish with more information. These projects were funded by NIEHS.

CHJL Spanish Website

COVID-19 Video in Spanish

NYU Public Health Researchers Receive NIH Grant to Protect Transit Workers from COVID-19

Researchers at the New York University (NYU) School of Global Public Health have received a five-year, roughly $4-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study efforts to protect New York City Transit workers from COVID-19, and how these infection prevention and control programs impact the health and well-being of frontline workers.

Mass Transit

Reminder of COVID-19-Related Flexibilities for NIH Grants

When the public health emergency was first declared, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) quickly identified a long list of flexibilities to support the research community. The list has evolved since the pandemic began, so we would like to take this opportunity to remind the community of many of the current flexibilities we have in place.

NIH Extramural Nexus [Author: Mike Lauer]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Brookhaven Seeks Compliance and Technical Training Specialist

Brookhaven National Laboratory is looking for an experienced, Compliance and Technical Training Specialist to develop and deliver classroom, virtual, and online training to our diverse Lab population. This position has a high level of interaction within a multicultural and international scientific community.

Job Posting

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