October 28, 2022
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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NIEHS WTP Urban Flooding and the Health Risks to Recovery Workers Webinar
In urban areas where there are increasing impervious surfaces and storm water systems designed for less severe storms, heavy rainfall can quickly overwhelm such infrastructure, and result in rapid urban flooding. Projections show more severe storms, increasing the frequency of flooding in the urban environment resulting in a greater need for clean-up workers. The NIEHS National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training is hosting a webinar that will explore the unique features of the urban environment and its potential to impact the health of workers, including residents, performing recovery activities following urban flooding. The event will be held on November 17, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
A Proclamation on National First Responders Day, 2022
National First Responders Day honors the bravery of U.S. heroes who put their lives on the line for their fellow Americans each and every day — from law enforcement officers who keep our streets safe and firefighters who rush into burning buildings, to relief workers who care for our families after natural disasters and EMTs, paramedics, and other public health workers who provide life-saving emergency care at a moment’s notice. When tragedies strike, these women and men are always there to help us, and we thank them for their extraordinary service to our country. National First Responders Day is observed annually on October 28.
Long COVID Appears to Have Led to a Surge of the Disabled in the Workplace
Data on the incidence of long COVID is scarce, but recent Census Bureau data suggest that sixteen million working age Americans suffer from it. The economic costs of long COVID is estimated to be in the trillions. While many with long COVID have dropped out of the labor force because they can no longer work, many others appear to be working despite having disabilities related to the disease.
Liberty Street Economics [Author: Richard Deitz]
When it Comes to Addiction, Americans’ Word Choices are Part of the Problem
Even as the nation’s substance use crisis has escalated, new research has emerged showing that simple word choices can have a big impact on the way health professionals view their patients and, accordingly, the care they receive. In recent years, a coalition of doctors, recovery advocates, researchers, and even government officials have pushed to swap out stigmatizing terms like “addict” in favor of language that recognizes addiction as a medical condition — and acknowledges those who suffer from it as human beings.
Stat News [Author: Lev Facher]
How Hurricanes Batter Mental Health
Well after the floodwaters dry up and the debris is collected, the mental effects of a disastrous hurricane can linger. Research shows that people who are subjected to a conveyor belt of catastrophes are at even greater risk for mental health struggles related to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mood disorders.
Scientific American [Author: Emily Willingham]
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Webinar: Developing and Demonstrating Nanosensor Technology
The informational webinar will provide information on the new research funding opportunity, Developing and Demonstrating Nanosensor Technology to Detect, Monitor and Degrade Pollutants. Webinar attendees will hear an overview of this research grant funding opportunity and have a chance to ask questions. A copy of the webinar slides will be posted on the funding opportunity's webpage. The webinar will be held on November 1, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
The Environmental Justice Index: A National Tool to Measure the Cumulative Impacts of Environmental Burden on Health
Join the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Environmental Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) for a zoom webinar that showcases the Environmental Justice Index (EJI). The EJI builds off existing environmental justice indexes to provide a single score for local communities across the United States. It is the first national, geographic-driven tool designed to measure the cumulative impacts of environmental burden through the lens of human health and health equity. Next webinar will be held on November 2, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
Indoor Air Management of Airborne Pathogens: A Virtual Workshop Series
As a follow-up to the 2020 workshop on the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, this workshop series will convene stakeholders from a variety of disciplines and sectors to consider novel scientific discoveries, accumulated community knowledge, and on-the-ground observations in indoor environments, such as schools and public transportation, to help refine and inform public health decisions and guidance at the local, state, and federal levels. The third workshop in the series will be held on November 16, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
EPA Request for Comments: Clean Air in Buildings Challenge
Building upon the Biden-Harris Administration’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, a key component of the President’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment to inform efforts by EPA and others to support the widespread adoption of actions that lead to improvements in indoor air quality in the nation’s building stock, with a particular emphasis on schools and commercial buildings, to help reduce disease transmission indoors and improve public health. Comments are due by December 5, 2022.
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EPA Calls Out Environmental Racism in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley
Louisiana must examine how polluters imperil the health of Black residents, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a letter it sent last week to state regulators in response to civil rights complaints about air pollution in the region known as Cancer Alley. Black residents in southeastern Louisiana bear a disproportionate cancer risk from industrial air pollution, the agency found.
Government Executive [Authors: Lisa Song and Lylla Younes]
‘Integrated Team’ to Hash Out Savannah River Site’s Transfer to Nuclear-Weapons Agency
The Department of Energy (DOE) could be prepared to start transferring control of the Savannah River Site to its semiautonomous nuclear-weapons agency in bits and pieces starting around 2023. DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), which owns the Aiken, S.C. site and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which plans to take over the site by September 30, 2025, “are forming an integrated team of senior subject matter experts to develop a transition plan by 2023” an NNSA spokesperson wrote in an email.
Exchange Monitor [Author: Dan Leone]
The Cost of Inaction: The Failure of Employers to Mitigate the Effects of Heat Stress on Workers Causes Preventable Heat-related Illness, Injury and Fatalities and Costs the U.S. Economy $100 Billion Each Year
This report addresses the substantial financial costs of failing to protect workers from heat stress. It discusses the human and economic costs of workplace heat stress for employees. The report outlines the myriad financial costs to employers who do not implement simple protocols to mitigate heat stress on the job, with a focus on the reduced physical and mental capacity of their employees when working in hot and humid conditions.
|Federal Agency Update
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OCCHE Climate and Health Outlook
The sixth edition of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity’s (OCCHE) the sixth edition of the Climate and Health Outlook is now available. This edition provides a retrospective review of 2022 of heat and drought affects and drought levels in the U.S, heat-related illness compared to previous years, and responses from one federal program and state Medicaid agency. In addition to this retrospective information, the Climate and Health Outlook also includes prospective forecasts for November 2022 – January 2023.
Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Expands Public-Private Cybersecurity Partnership to Chemical Sector
The nation’s leading chemical companies and the government’s lead agency for the chemical sector – the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) – have agreed on a plan to promote a higher standard of cybersecurity across the sector, including capabilities that enable visibility and threat detection for industrial control systems. The Chemical Action Plan will serve as a roadmap to guide the sector’s assessment of their current cybersecurity practices.
NOAA Awards Over $15 Million for Climate Science, Community Resilience
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Program Office announced a total annual award of $15.2 million to support 63 new, innovative, and impactful projects that will improve our nation’s resilience at a critical time in the fight against the climate crisis. Universities, other research institutions and agency partners across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will conduct newly funded projects in partnership with NOAA programs, laboratories and research centers.
|Awardee Highlights/Online Learning
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OSHA Resources: Workplace Stress
While there are many things in life that induce stress, work can be one of those factors. However, workplaces can also be a key place for resources, solutions, and activities designed to improve our mental health and well-being. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers information, guidance, solutions, and outreach materials for addressing mental health in the workplace.
Environmental Justice Groups Debut First-Ever Climate Justice Pavilion at COP27
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University will debut the first-ever Climate Justice Pavilion inside the Blue Zone at the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27). COP27 will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, November 6-18, 2022. The pavilion will bring together representatives from the Global South, the U.S. Environmental Justice Movement, and Indigenous peoples to spotlight the voices of communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.
Major Radiological or Nuclear Incidents: Potential Health and Medical Implications
A new document developed by the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) provides an overview of the potential health and medical response and recovery needs following a radiological or nuclear incident and outlines available resources for planners.
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OSHA is Seeking an Occupational Medicine Physician
The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Technology Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM) is seeking an Occupational Medicine Physician. The position duties include but are not limited to, applying clinical understanding of disease, epidemiological principles, toxicological information, and information and data management expertise to questions affecting worker safety and health.
National Academies Early-Career Research Fellowship: Human Health and Community Resilience Track
The Human Health and Community Resilience track goal focuses on contributing to the understanding and mitigation of factors that may amplify the compounding effects of disasters on the health and resilience of historically disadvantaged, overburdened, or marginalized communities in the Gulf of Mexico region or Alaska.
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