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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 18, 2020 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 18, 2020

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 18, 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

New Mexico Frustrated by Slow Cleanup of Nuclear Waste

There’s growing frustration among New Mexico lawmakers and environmental regulators about the U.S. government’s slow pace in cleaning up contamination from decades of nuclear research and bomb-making at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The officials shared their concerns during a legislative meeting last week, saying New Mexico is taking a backseat to other states as it sets priorities for the nation’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program for Cold War-era waste.

Associated Press [Author: Susan Montoya Bryan]

Worker Injury at SRS Saltstone Disposal Unit led to 15-Day Pause, Review

A worker at one of the Savannah River Site’s future Saltstone Disposal Units was hit by a forklift and hurt last month, leading to a 15-day work stoppage, investigation and additional oversight from Savannah River Remediation. The worker, a subcontractor employee, was hit Aug. 10 while doing “sand blasting activities” inside the under-construction Saltstone Disposal Unit 7.

Aiken Standard [Author: Colin Demarest]

Operations at Salt Waste Processing Facility on the Horizon, DOE Official Says

The keystone Salt Waste Processing Facility should be “operational in the relatively near future,” according to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) cleanup executive, enabling the treatment of vast amounts of radioactive waste currently stored at the Savannah River Site.

Aiken Standard [Author: Colin Demarest]

How Big Farms Got a Government Pass on Air Pollution

Versions of this story are playing out in communities across the country: frustrated, worried residents suffering near hog operations in Iowa, dairy farms in Wisconsin, massive cattle operations in California and Texas. Problems have been building for decades as more of the eggs, meat and milk we consume – and sell overseas – are produced by a consolidating, industrialized farming system that puts the agriculture equivalent of factories next to people’s homes.

The Center for Public Integrity [Author: Joe Wertz]

How America’s Air Pollution Might Be Spiking COVID-19 Deaths

According to a new study published last week in the Journal of Environmental Research Letters, regions with a certain kind of industrial emission can make COVID-19 increasingly fatal. That industrial emission, called hazardous pollutants, or HAPs, are defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as chemicals suspected to cause cancer and other serious health problems.

Desert News [Author: Court Man]

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

The Biological Event Horizon: No Return or Total Resilience

Innovative science and technology solutions exist or are in development that could change the game for biodefense. The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense is hosting a meeting on Sept. 24. At this meeting, the Commission intends to discuss these emerging biological threats and the innovative science and technology solutions to address them.

Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

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 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

Workload Linked with an Increased Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Sydney and Southampton have shown that increasing levels of workload are associated with an increased risk of incident knee OA; particularly among men. The largest observational cohort study of its kind into knee OA and total knee replacement (TKR) utilized data from three large observational studies of knee OA.

Medical Express

Workplace Exposure to Toxic Substances Found to Be Associated With Abnormal Cardiac Structure and Function

Occupational exposures to burning wood, vehicle exhaust, pesticides, and metals may be associated with abnormal echocardiographic measures of cardiac function and structure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Overall, occupational exposures at participants’ longest-held jobs were more strongly associated with differences in echocardiographic measures of cardiac structure and function.

Cardiology Advisor [Author: Colby Stong]

Much Work Remains to Tame Maine’s Opioid Epidemic

In mid-July, the Maine attorney general’s office released overdose fatality data for the first six months of 2020, which was an accelerated timeline in order to fully convey the seriousness of the situation in Maine to the public. Deaths from drug overdoses in Maine rose by 23 percent over the final three months of 2019, a tragic trendline that continued into the new year and has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangor Daily News

Unions Form Nonprofit to Push Green Jobs, Could Seek Help for Nuclear Plants

A new union-sponsored push for green energy said the future of Illinois’ nuclear power plants is a priority, but will it be enough to convince corruption-wary lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign off on what critics call yet another ratepayer bailout for one of Illinois' utilities? Climate Jobs Illinois, a collaborative nonprofit run by leaders in organized labor, announced the formation on Sept. 14.

The Center Square [Author: Cole Lauterbach]

‘A Lot of Catastrophe’: Louisiana Water Systems Still Reeling from Hurricane Laura

Five hurricanes and tropical storms are swirling in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico right now, but Jude Primeaux is still thinking about the last storm that hit. Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwestern Louisiana on Aug. 27 with wind speeds around 150 miles per hour. The Category 4 storm was one of the strongest on record to strike the state.

Circle of Blue [Author: Brett Walton]

In Pennsylvania, Gas Drilling Is Down, but Production Higher than it Has Ever Been

More natural gas was fracked from Pennsylvania wells in 2019 than in any previous year, although the number of new wells drilled declined, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Their 2019 Oil and Gas Annual Report, released, shows 6.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was produced last year from the state’s Marcellus and Utica shale gas formations, topping the 2018 production total of 6.2 trillion cubic feet.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [Author: Don Hopey]

Seventh Annual National Safety Stand-Down Commences This Week

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 7th annual National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction took place virtually from Sept. 14-18. The Stand-Down was created to spread awareness of workplace safety measures and foster dialogue between employees and employers in hopes of decreasing preventable deaths on the job.

Occupational Health and Safety

Safety Speak: Worker Healthcare Options, Coronavirus Citations and Wildfires

On the Occupational Health and Safety’s Safety Speak episode of the podcast, host Sydney Shepard will discuss emerging options for worker healthcare, new virus-related citations in California and a study that links wildfires and flu season.

Occupational Health and Safety [Author: Sydney Shepard]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

Substance Use Disorders Linked to COVID-19 Susceptibility

A National Institutes of Health-funded study found that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) are more susceptible to COVID-19 and its complications. The research, published on Sept. 17 in Molecular Psychiatry, was co-authored by Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The findings suggest that health care providers should closely monitor patients with SUDs and develop action plans to help shield them from infection and severe outcomes.


NIOSH Research Initiatives Ponder the Future of Work

In an effort to proactively evaluate the effect of current trends on the future of occupational safety and health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched its Future of Work (FOW) initiative last year. This article takes a closer look at the program and its resources for environment, health, and safety (EHS) professionals.

EHS Daily Advisor

Federal Register Notice on Elastomeric Half Mask Respirators for Use in Healthcare

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)—in coordination with the Strategic National Stockpile—posted a Federal Register Notice (FRN). Elastomeric half mask respirators (EHMRs) are reusable respirators that may be worn in a healthcare setting and supplement the supply of disposable respirators available to healthcare workers. Comments must be received by Oct. 14.

Federal Register

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

AIHA Announces New Guidance to Protect First Responders from Dangerous Health Hazards

To reduce first responders health risks, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), an association for occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) scientists and professionals, announces the availability of free resources to inform emergency response leaders about the longer-term health risks, not just daily safety on the job.

Fire Engineering

SF Fire Dept. Offers Free Natural Disaster Training in Spanish

The San Francisco Fire Department Neighborhood Emergency Response Team will begin offering free training courses in Spanish starting Sept. 29. on how to prepare and act in the event of a major disaster, such as an earthquake. The Zoom-only classes will be taught by members of the community and are similar to the six-week course the Fire Department offers four times a year in English.

Mission Local [Author: Clara-Sophia Daly]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NIH Seeks Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks a safety and occupational health specialist. The position is within the branch that provides expertise and support to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the areas of biological, chemical, physical and radiation safety, engineering, industrial hygiene and toxicology, personal protective equipment, workman's compensation, environmental protection, fire protection, emergency response and hazardous waste management. Deadline to apply is Sept. 23.

Job Posting

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

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