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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 4, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 4, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 4, 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

The WTP Fall Meeting Website Is Now Live

The WTP Fall Meeting website and registration is now open. The virtual WTP Workshop will be held on Sept. 23 at 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET to Sept. 24 at 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET via ZoomGov. WTP encourages all awardee programs to invite subawardees and partners to participate since travel is not required for this meeting. To assist with planning facilitators for breakout sessions, please register no later than Tuesday, Sept. 15.


NIEHS Supports Workers with Essential COVID-19 Training

New funding through the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) provides critical support to essential workers so they can respond and work safely when faced with exposure to the novel coronavirus. The funding came through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Environmental Factor [Author: Sheena Schruggs]

Wind, Rain and a Chemical Fire. Hurricane Laura Was Gone but the Crisis Wasn’t Over

Fire raged on Aug. 27 at a Louisiana chemical plant damaged by Hurricane Laura, pumping dark smoke carrying chlorine gas into the sky, raising public health alarms and prompting the governor to warn residents to turn off their air conditioners, seal their homes and stay indoors. In the Lake Charles region, dotted with chemical plants and oil and gas refineries, trouble began at a BioLab plant that manufacturers chlorine for swimming pools and disinfectants.

Washington Post [Author: Steven Mufson and Darryl Fears]

A Texas Town Takes on Fracking as a Racial Justice Issue

Arlington, Texas, became one of a number of U.S. cities to pass racial equity resolutions in recent months after the police killing of George Floyd, acknowledging the “devastating impact” of COVID-19 on the African-American and Hispanic communities. The resolutions also committed to lifting up “the medical and social needs” of the marginalized.

Bloomberg CityLab [Author: Kara Harris]

Latinx Workers Face Higher Levels of Work Pollution and Heart Disease, Says Study

Working in a polluted environment is never ideal and a new study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) shows that Latinx workers who do are more likely to develop heart disease. Many work at low-wage jobs, such as on farms with pesticides or in wood-burning environments, but few studies have been conducted around the Latinx community’s exposure to pollution and cardiovascular diseases, until this one.


JAHA Article

Firefighters Exposed to More Potentially Harmful Chemicals Than Previously Thought

A new Oregon State University (OSU) study suggests that firefighters are more likely to be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals while on duty compared to off duty. The on-duty firefighters in the Kansas City, Missouri, area experienced higher exposures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are a family of chemicals that are known to have the potential to cause cancer.

Science Direct

Michigan Investigating a Skyrocketing Number of Coronavirus-Related Workplace Safety Complaints

Typically, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) investigates 200 to 240 complaints per month, in line with what the agency received in January and February of this year, MIOSHA spokesperson Camara Lewis said, but those figures “skyrocketed” in March.

MLive [Author: Gus Burns]

Foster Farms to Temporarily Close Poultry Plant After Eight Workers Die of COVID-19

Foster Farms announced on Aug. 29 that it would comply with a Merced County health department order and temporarily close one of its poultry plants in Livingston, California, the site of a coronavirus outbreak that has left eight workers dead. The outbreak at the Central Valley facility has persisted for at least two months, according to the Department of Public Health.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Rong-Gong Lin II]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

New Request for Applications to Support Equitable Development & Environmental Justice in Brownfields Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to provide direct technical assistance to communities nationwide on the integration of environmental justice and equitable development when developing solutions to brownfields cleanup and revitalization challenges. The application submission deadline is Sept. 21.


New Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field. The closing date is Sept. 22.

EPA EWDJT Information

Southeast PEHSU and Break the Cycle of Health Disparities Training Program

The Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at Emory University and Break the Cycle of Health Disparities, Inc. invites university students from a variety of disciplines to participate in our 16th Annual Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities training program. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.

More Information

Request for Information on Federal Coordination To Promote Economic Mobility for All Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is publishing this Request for Information (RFI) to seek public input until Oct. 2 on the development of a federal interagency Council on Economic Mobility (Council). HHS and the Council will analyze information collected in this RFI to gather feedback from our stakeholders to better inform the Council's priorities and how the Council can promote economic mobility, recovery, and resilience.

Federal Register

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

JOEH Seeks Submissions for Special Issue on Health Equity in the Workplace

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) plans to publish a special issue on health equity in the workplace in May 2021. For this special issue, the journal seeks research on a range of topics, including how racial inequities affect workplace exposures and the effects of gender inequity on worker exposures and outcomes. The deadline to submit is Oct. 30.

More Information

EPA Calls for Nominations for 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. These prestigious awards recognize innovation by American businesses and researchers that redesign chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and manufacture of hazardous substances. Nominations are due Dec. 4.


On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Racial Health Inequities Addressed with NIEHS Research Funding

This month, NIEHS looks at how they foster research to help reduce environmental injustice and health disparities, and improve environmental health literacy. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic spotlights these inequities: Black, Native American and Latinx communities have been hit much harder by infection rates and disease severity.

Environmental Factor [Author: Kelly Lenox]

Infection Preventionists Need to Monitor PPE Use

Healthcare professionals across the nation have been battling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for months. That’s when the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) might fall by the wayside, warns infection control consultant Sharon Ward-Fore, MS, MT(ASCP), CIC. Ward-Fore, a member of Infection Control Today’s Editorial Advisory Board says that there’s an art to encouraging the proper use of PPE.

Infection Control Today [Author: Frank Diamond]

LANL Hazardous Waste Facility Permit 2020 Community Relations Plan Now Available Online

The updated Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Hazardous Waste Facility Permit 2020 Community Relations Plan is now available online. This plan is updated annually to include necessary changes and public comments received during the year. The updated plan is posted annually Sept. 1 in compliance with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Hazardous Waste Facility Permit.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Hazardous Waste Facility Permit Community Relations Plan

Understanding the COVID-19 Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Essential Workers

A new Roosevelt Institute report highlights the importance of worker voice to the health and safety of workers and their communities. Their findings also suggest that the pandemic may be shifting workers’ understanding of the benefits of workplace collective action, presenting new opportunities for labor organization and action—and reforms to labor and employment law.

Roosevelt Institute

First IAEA Technical Meeting Held Virtually to Review Safety Standards on Emergency Preparedness and Response

Over 100 emergency preparedness and response professionals from more than 50 countries met for the first virtual technical meeting to review the draft, discuss changes and identify areas for further improvement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Standards Series Arrangements for Preparedness for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency’.

IAEA [Author: Laura Gil]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

CSB Provides Update on Deployment to Chemical Incident in Westlake, Louisiana

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) provided an update on its deployment to the Bio-Lab chemical plant fire that occurred in Westlake, Louisiana, on Aug. 27 at approximately 7:48 a.m. CDT, following landfall of Hurricane Laura. The CSB’s investigators have not yet been able to enter the area where the fire occurred but were able to conduct a perimeter tour of the facility in order to survey the damage.


Nonfatal Occupational Injuries to Younger Workers – U.S. 2012-2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) offers new research on injuries to young workers. Adolescents and young adults represent approximately 13% of the U.S. workforce. Compared with adult workers, young workers (aged 15–24 years) experience higher rates of job-related injury. CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed national data for 2012–2018 from the occupational supplement to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.


Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds in Construction and Shipyard Sectors

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is amending its existing construction and shipyard standards for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds to clarify certain provisions and simplify or improve compliance. These changes are designed to accomplish more appropriately tailor the requirements of the construction and shipyards standards to the particular exposures in these industries.

Federal Register

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

AIHA Announces New Guidance to Protect First Responders

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has released a new guidance for leaders seeking occupational health resources to protect first responders from dangerous health hazards. In a press release, the association announced the availability of the free resources to inform emergency response leaders about the longer-term health risks, not just daily on the job.

AIHA Guidance

Safe September Reopening: Importance of COVID-19 Workplace Inspections

Workplace inspections need to identify and assess the adequacy of infection prevention and control measures such as physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, personal protective equipment, ventilation and training on each of these. Worker Health and Safety Centre’s (WHSC) webinar explains why knowledge and vigilance are needed to ensure workplace inspections are thorough and relevant.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

MCN Seeks Program Manager for Migrant and Immigrant Health

Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN) is hiring a full time Program Manager for Migrant and Immigrant Health. This position, located in Salisbury, Maryland, is responsible for managing a COVID-19 and infectious disease project targeting immigrants, migrants, and refugees and the clinicians who serve them.  It involves extensive networking with clinicians, public health professionals, researchers, and organizations and community-based groups.

Job Posting

NEHA Seeks Evaluation Coordinator

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is currently seeking an Evaluation Coordinator. The Evaluation Coordinator seeks to increase the use of rigorous monitoring and evaluation methods throughout the NEHA and to increase the quality and impact of NEHA’s decision-making through strengthened evaluation capacity.

Job Posting

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