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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: October 8, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, October 8, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

October 8, 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

Agenda Now Available for Fall 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop

The agenda for the semi-annual WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop is now available. 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.”

Awardee Meeting Agenda

Workshop Agenda

WTP MUSTID Now Available

The Material Upload and Search Tool for Infectious Disease (MUSTID) is a searchable portal that provides easy access to resources on infectious disease and worker safety shared by and relevant to WTP and others interested in worker safety and health. It is now available to the general public.


WTP COVID-19 Brief Now Available

The WTP COVID-19 Brief titled, “Building an Occupational Infection Prevention and Control Plan” provides key elements for employers and training providers to include in their infection prevention and control plans to facilitate readiness and preparedness in occupational settings. The plan components include required controls, resources, training, and key elements to protect workers from exposure to infectious diseases.


WTP Mitigating the Impact of Climate Change and Securing Environmental Justice through Safety and Health Training

WTP produced a fact sheet on the impacts of climate change and the need for safety and health training to further the goals of environmental justice. The fact sheet demonstrates how WTP addresses environmental and climate justice and prepares workers for climate change impacts through a variety of activities, supporting the Justice40 initiative.


Crews Race to Limit Damage from Major California Oil Spill

Crews on the water and on shore worked feverishly on Oct. 3 to limit environmental damage from one of the largest oil spills in recent California history, caused by a suspected leak in an underwater pipeline that fouled the sands of famed Huntington Beach and could keep the beaches there closed for weeks or longer.

AP News [Authors: Amy Taxin and Christopher Weber]

MSHA Citations Reveal Mine Unsanitary Conditions Left WV Miners Even More Vulnerable to COVID-19

Crawling maggots. Sewage near the shower. The nearest toilet more than a mile away. These are among unsanitary conditions federal regulators found at mine sites throughout West Virginia from March to December 2020 that could have contributed to the coronavirus. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulators issued state mines 195 citations for such cases, accounting for a fifth of the total nationwide.

West Virginia Gazette [Author Mike Tony]

The Northwest’s Unhealthy New Season: Smoke

Unhealthy, smoky air has quickly become an unfortunate fact of summer life as a hotter climate fuels more fires across the West. When Kelsey Horne and her husband graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma in 2010, the climate was different. “Fire season wasn't a thing,” she said. “We didn't talk about wildfires. We didn't talk about getting ready for wildfire season.”

KUOW [Author: John Ryan]

Scientists Eye Opioid Vaccine as a Shot to Stem Overdose Epidemic

The vaccination felt like most others — a slight pinprick in M.'s upper arm, followed by the application of a Band-Aid and advice to monitor the injection site for any unusual reactions. The vaccine, however, is unlike any other. It's not meant to protect against the coronavirus, or any germ, for that matter.

NBC News [Author: Ericka Edwards]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Virtual Workshop on Communities, Climate Change, and Health Equity – A New Vision

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine is hosting a two-day virtual workshop that will bring together people with lived experience, environmental health experts, resilience practitioners, and climate scientists to outline the disproportionate impact that climate change has on communities experiencing health disparities and environmental injustice. The workshop will be held on Oct. 12 and Oct. 14.

More 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, Nov. 4. 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

National Brownfields Training Conference Postponed to 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ICMA are committed to ensuring the National Brownfields Training Conference provides the safest and most effective networking and learning environment possible for the brownfield community. Unfortunately, ongoing public health concerns, travel restrictions, and uncertainty related to COVID-19 have yet again driven the difficult decision to postpone the Dec. 8-11, 2021, conference to a later date.

Brownfields 2022

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Climate Change and ‘A New Normal of Extremes’

Summer 2021 inflicted a range of destructive extremes on the U.S., from record-breaking heat waves in the Pacific Northwest to a hurricane that battered the South before driving disastrous flooding in the Northeast. “We had the warmest summer on record, we had Hurricane Ida devastate not one but two parts of our country, and floods are becoming all too common,” said J. Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program. “We are in a new normal of extremes.”

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine [Author: Sara Frueh]

‘A Sinking Ship’: Pandemic’s Mental Health Toll Continues to Roil Health Care Workers

A new Morning Consult poll found that in September, 51 percent of health care workers said their mental health has gotten worse during the pandemic, while 42 percent said their day-to-day lives have gone downhill and 33 percent have said as much about their physical health.

Morning Consult [Author: Gaby Galvin]

In Arizona, Drought Ignites Tensions and Threatens Traditions Among the Hopi

Alarmed by the two-decade drought that has dried up springs, withered crops and killed cattle, the Hopi Tribal Council ordered ranchers in August to slash their herds in a bid to preserve water supplies and avoid the cruelty of an even larger death toll. But an outcry by Hopi cattlemen, who say they are providing families with locally raised food, compelled the council to rescind its edict.

The New York Times [Author: Simon Romero]

FDA Must Step Up Its Role as a Chemical Safety Regulator

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with regulating the safety of chemical food additives, but the “generally recognized as safe” exemption to the FDA’s approval process has been stretched beyond recognition to cover virtually all new substances, writes the Environmental Defense Fund’s Tom Neltner.

Bloomberg [Author: Tom Neltner]

A Big Job for Small Government Agency. Enforce Vaccine Mandate For 80 Million Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency overseeing workplace safety, is still working out the details but is expected to issue a rule later this fall. And then comes the challenge of OSHA enforcement, which brings us back to the question about co-workers.

NPR [Author: Andrea Hsu]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor to Hold Virtual Meeting to Solicit Public Input on OSHA Whistleblower Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will hold a virtual meeting Oct. 13 to solicit public comments and suggestions on key issues facing OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. This is the eighth in a series of meetings on how the agency can improve the whistleblower program.

OSHA News Release

OSHA’s Diminished Enforcement Put Workers at Risk for Toxic Exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) “diminished” enforcement of its 2016 Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica rule has left “more workers at risk for exposure to silica,” according to a U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit report.

Business Insurance [Author: Louise Esola]

OIG Report

EPA Resources on Wildfires Smoke and Exposures

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been working on resources and actions to bring awareness to the health impacts of wildfire smoke. EPA developed an app, Smoke Sense, to increase public awareness, is expanding air monitoring capabilities to support wildfire-impacted states, and also released a report comparing the air quality and health impacts of smoke from prescribed fires.

EPA Smoke Sense

EPA Air Monitoring

EPA Air Quality Report

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

Novel Technology, New Contaminants, And Safety Addressed in Training

Through support from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), academic institutions are developing educational and training programs for industrial hygienists and scientists in the areas of emerging technologies, new environmental contaminants of concern, and disaster response.

Environmental Factor [Author: Mali Velasco]

Environmental Health Disparities Key Topic at International Conference

At the 31st annual meeting of the International Society of Exposure Science, NIEHS researchers and grantees tackled topics ranging from health disparities to disaster response. The conference, which was held Aug. 30-Sept. 2, was funded in part by the institute. Community engagement, racism, and environmental health issues among vulnerable individuals were the focus of the first day.

Environmental Factor [Author: Jennifer Harker]

Coping With Grief and Loss During COVID-19 Focus of Webinar

The NIEHS Women’s Health Awareness program welcomed 234 registrants to the Sept. 9 virtual presentation “Coping With Grief and Loss During COVID-19,” the latest webinar in its virtual series RealTalk With the Experts. Alesia Alexander, an author; clinician; and grief, loss, and inclusion consultant from Richmond, Virginia, shared her insights with attendees.

Environmental Factor [Author: John Yewell]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

New Labor Seeks Positions in Domestic Worker Campaign Organizer and Donor Relations and Grant Writing

New Labor is hiring for a Domestic Worker Campaign Organizer based in Lakewood, New Jersey, and a Donor Relations and Grant Writing Specialist based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. New Labor is an organization of mostly low-wage immigrant workers that educates, organizes, and fights for better conditions of work.

Job Postings

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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