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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 13, 2019 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 13, 2019

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 13, 2019

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

Trump Administration Awards $1.8 Billion in Grants to Combat Opioid Epidemic

The Trump administration on Sept. 4 announced it was awarding $1.8 billion in grants to help states and communities continue to battle the opioid epidemic, part of the administration’s broader effort to drive down overdose deaths and addiction. About $930 million in funding approved by Congress will go to states and some territories with a focus on prevention and treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a press call.

The Wall Street Journal [Author: Stephanie Armour]

EPA Announces JBER Settlement Over Hazardous Waste

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has reached a settlement with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) over violations of federal hazardous waste laws. EPA officials say personnel at the Anchorage base failed to evaluate and categorize two waste streams as hazardous waste. Officials say the base also failed to inspect waste accumulation areas weekly and failed to ensure personnel participated in yearly training reviews, among other violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Associated Press

How a CDC Program Is Changing Behavior to Reduce Mine Worker Injuries

According to the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), as many as 6,000 miners are injured each year at 13,000 mines across the country. Many more are exposed to hazards that can lead to lung disease, hearing loss, and other health conditions. To improve the safety and health of the country’s 300,000 miners, MSHA has put in place regulations reflecting best practices and new technologies. Several years ago, behavioral scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Pittsburgh Mining Research Division set out to learn why miners weren’t always adopting the best health and safety practices.

Government Executive [Author: John Kamensky]

Storing Nuclear Waste Would Only Net Wyoming $10 Million Annually – Raising Doubts of Its Viability

Wyoming lawmakers made it clear this week they are serious about exploring the possible construction of a nuclear waste storage facility within state borders. Whether it will even be possible, however, still remains to be seen. Though conversations about potential risks to the environment or to human health were front and center at this week’s first – and only – meeting of the Spent Fuel Rods Subcommittee in Casper, the possibility that Wyoming would ever get a repository to store the nation’s nuclear waste seemed a distant one at the close of business Sept. 5.

Casper Star Tribune [Author: Nick Reynolds]

Air Board Kills Regulation of Dangerous Refinery Acid in Favor of Oil Industry Plan

Air quality regulators on Sept. 6 killed a years-long push for stronger regulation of a dangerous acid used at two South Bay refineries that has frightened many neighbors, voting instead to accept a voluntary, oil industry pledge to enhance safety measures. The decision by the South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board came just one week after the two refineries, in Torrance and Wilmington, offered a way to avoid tougher restrictions.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Tony Barboza]

PFAS: New Efforts to Put the Genie Back in the Bottle

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2019 action plan lays out a multi-pronged approach, but their strategy is moving slowly in the face of widespread per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposures, a litany of settled and ongoing lawsuits and the pressing need to protect public health. However, some very interesting movement has occurred independent of federal efforts. State agencies and regional organizations have stepped up to address legacy water, air and soil contamination, and begun communicating with the public on these issues. Environmental consultants and their clients, many in the waste industry, have begun taking steps to identify and remediate environmental risks associated with PFAS.

Waste Dive [Author: Rich Thompson]

Police Chief Speaks Out After Survey Finds Va. First Responders Faced Suicidal Thoughts, Depression

When stress and trauma merge, the dangerous pairing not only takes a toll on work performance but also can produce deadly outcomes, according to a recent survey of Virginia first responders. The mental health survey of more than 4,900 personnel at 26 state agencies found half are hypervigilant, a quarter suffer from work-related depression, and many wouldn’t seek help because of the stigma associated with mental illness.

WTOP [Author: Megan Cloherty]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Syringe Service Programs: State and Local Perspectives on the Role of Policy, Funding, and Partnerships

The Health and Human Service’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health is hosting a webinar Sept. 16 from 2:00-3:15 p.m. ET. This webinar will use examples from state government to showcase effective implementation of syringe services programs (SSPs) through policy and practice. The speakers have been announced, which include: Brett Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health and Senior Advisor for Opioid Policy; Connie Gayle White, M.D., M.S., FACOG, Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Services, Kentucky Department for Public Health; Danny Staley, M.S., Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, former director of the North Carolina Division of Public Health; Andrew Gans, M.P.H., HIV, STD and Hepatitis Section Manager; and Joshua Swatek, Hepatitis and Harm Reduction Program Manager, New Mexico Department of Health.

Webinar Registration

Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Public Business Meeting

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 11:00 a.m. ET in Washington, D.C., at the CSB offices located at 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 910. The meeting is free and open to the public. The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating incidents and hazards that result, or may result, in the catastrophic release of extremely hazardous substances.

Meeting Information

HHS and CDC Recommendations to Expand the Use of Naloxone—A Life-saving, yet Underutilized Drug for Reversing Opioid Overdose

The 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain recommends that healthcare providers consider prescribing or dispensing naloxone to patients at risk for overdose. During this Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity Call, clinicians will learn about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and CDC recommendations for the prescribing or dispensing of naloxone to patients at risk for opioid overdose. The webinar is on Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Link

Upcoming Webinar on Expanded Focus for OSH

Registration is open for the last installment of the 2019 Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series! The webinar is on Sept. 18 on the expanded focus for occupational safety and health. Paul A. Schulte, Ph.D., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director of the Division of Science Integration, will present “Towards An Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health,” and George Delclos, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, will present “The Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH): Implications for Research and Training of OSH Professionals.” The event is 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

Notice of Funding Opportunity: FY 2019 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant

This notice announces the availability of one $1,400,000 Brownfields Training, Research, and Technical Assistance Grant and solicits proposals from eligible entities to conduct research and provide technical assistance to new, existing, and/or prospective U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grantees. The award is anticipated to be funded incrementally on an annual basis over seven years, at approximately $200,000 per year. Proposals must be submitted through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 20.

EPA Brownfields Grant

American Lung Association and NEHA Host Two Webinars

The American Lung Association and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are hosting two webinars on extreme storms and flooding on Sept. 24. Both webinars will give an overview of the health impacts of extreme storms and flooding, including lung health impacts, and practical tips from local environmental health professionals. Extreme Storms, Flooding, and Health Impacts: Guidance for Environmental Health Professionals on the Ground is 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET and is geared for environmental health professionals and the communities they serve. Extreme Storms, Flooding, and Health Impacts: Overview for the Health and Policy Professionals is 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET and is targeted for Congressional staff and members of the broader health policy community.

Extreme Storms, Flooding, and Health Impacts: Guidance for Environmental Health Professionals on the Ground Webinar

Extreme Storms, Flooding, and Health Impacts: Overview for the Health and Policy Professionals Webinar

2019 EPA International Decontamination Research and Development Conference

This conference is designed to facilitate presentation, discussion, further collaboration on research and development, and application of tools and research focused on an all-hazards approach to cleaning up contaminated buildings (both interior and exterior), infrastructure, and other areas/materials. The conference continues to focus strongly on matters involving chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) threat agents, but also includes all hazard elements. The conference brings together researchers, first responders, community leaders and planners, and industry. It will be held November 19-21 in Norfolk, VA.

Conference Details

National Conference on Worker Safety and Health

The National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON19) brings together a diverse, inclusive and bilingual group of participants of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists and academics united around common goals. The conference aims to empower workers, make workplaces safer and reduce the toll of on-the-job injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The conference will take place December 3-5 in Baltimore.

Conference Registration

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Getting a Grip on Hand-Impact Injuries

It’s time for action on hand-impact injuries. Employers and workers alike need to use their heads and start protecting their hands. And the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) should reference the American National Standard for Performance and Classification for Impact Resistant Hand Protection in federal workplace safety regulations. More than 42% of nonfatal occupational injuries to upper extremities in 2017 involving days away from work in private industry involved hands. Of the 286,150 nonfatal occupational injuries to upper extremities in 2017 involving days away from work in private industry, 121,860 involved hands, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Jill Clements]

Workplace Preparation for Natural Disasters in View of Hurricane Dorian

As the East Coast braces for hurricane season, we should contemplate the impact that natural disasters can have on employees and employers, both personally and professionally. While individuals prepare their homes and employers prepare their businesses for the physical damage, employers will benefit from also assessing the practical and legal implications surrounding the unpredictable events Mother Nature throws our way—and planning accordingly. Employers, of course, cannot predict whether or when a natural disaster will occur, but they can put plans in place for addressing unforeseen disasters.

The National Law Review [Author: Sarah Smith Kuehnel]

Worker Participation in Preventing Safety Mishaps Key: CSB

A lack of effective worker participation in process safety efforts heightens the risk of employee injuries and serious safety incidents, according to a new report by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). Worker participation is an “essential element” to improve process safety and prevent chemical incidents and is required by several existing federal safety regulations, including the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s process safety management standard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s risk management program rule and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s safety and environmental management systems rule for offshore oil and gas operations, according to the CSB’s report published on Sept. 4.

Business Insurance [Author: Gloria Gonzalez]

E-cigarettes Disrupt Lung Function, Raise Risk of Infection

A study led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine raises health concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the work shows that chronic exposure to e-cigarette vapors disrupts normal lung function in mice and also reduces the ability of immune cells to respond to viral infection. These alterations were observed with vapors without nicotine, warranting deeper investigations on the effects the allegedly safe-to-use solvents in e-cigarettes have on people.

Baylor College of Medicine [Author: Kaylee Dusang]

Basel Ban Amendment to Restrict International Trade in Hazardous Recyclables

Beginning in December 2019, the Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention will prohibit shipments of hazardous waste from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to non-OECD countries for disposal or recovery. Two recent ratifications have finally brought the Ban Amendment over the finish line. The Basel Convention is a global agreement governing the transboundary movement of hazardous and other wastes. The Convention imposes controls and, in some instances, trade bans on covered waste shipments destined for final disposal or recycling, making the agreement the primary international legal framework governing the circular economy.

The National Law Review

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials Available Now

Wildfire smoke events can occur without warning, but public health officials can be prepared. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2019 Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials provides state, tribal and local public health officials with information they need to be prepared for smoke events and, when wildfire smoke is present, to communicate health risks and take measures to protect the public. Although developed for public health officials, the revised guide is useful to many others, including health professionals, air quality officials and members of the public. This version includes updates related to preparedness, exposure reduction strategies and ash cleanup, both indoors and outdoors.

EPA Wildfire Smoke Revised Guide

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

World Trade Center Dust Linked to Prostate Cancer

Changes in inflammation and immune regulation from exposure to World Trade Center (WTC) dust may drive prostate cancer progression among WTC first responders, according to a new NIEHS-funded study. Researchers examined archived prostate tumors from rescue and recovery workers who responded to the WTC disaster and later developed prostate cancer. The team compared expression of certain immune system and inflammation genes in these tumors with tumors from prostate cancer patients who were not exposed to WTC dust.

NIEHS Environmental Factor: Papers of the Month [Author: Sara Amolegbe]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Teamsters Seek Industrial Hygienist/Safety Professional

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) is seeking a highly motivated Industrial Hygienist in comprehensive practice to provide technical and regulatory health and safety support to Teamster members and affiliates. The position reports to the Director and Deputy Director of the IBT Safety and Health Department. The successful candidate will have a strong technical background in occupational safety and health and/or transportation safety; create and develop communication materials and work products related to technical, regulatory, and policy issues that are relevant to the Union; possess excellent public speaking and presentation skills; and have comprehensive knowledge of federal and state regulations relating to occupational safety and health.

Job Posting

Worksafe Seeks Legal Fellow

Worksafe is committed to increasing occupational safety and health knowledge in the legal field. Accordingly, we are offering a new or emerging attorney the opportunity to be trained in legislative and administrative policy advocacy, legal support services, and other aspects of public interest practice. They will also be introduced to the social justice legal community and play an important role in coalition efforts to improve health and safety for California workers. The deadline to apply is Sept.18.

Job Posting

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