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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 3, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 3, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 3, 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

Registration for Fall 2021 NIEHS WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop Now Open

Registration for the semi-annual WTP Awardee Meeting and Workshop is now open. 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.”

Meeting Website

Meeting Registration

Biden Opens New Federal Office for Climate Change, Health and Equity

Amid deadly heat waves and new evidence showing that wildfire smoke may contribute to premature births, the Biden administration is creating a new federal office to address the health consequences of climate change and their disproportionate effects on poor communities. The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity will be the first federal program aimed specifically at understanding how planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels also affect human health.

The New York Times [Author: Lisa Friedman]

Unreported Event at Hanford Nuclear Site That Sickened Workers 'Smells Like a Cover-Up,' Advocates Say

On June 18 of this year, 10 workers at the Hanford nuclear site in eastern Washington digging in what are known as the "tank farms," were overcome by strange odors. Nine of the workers sought medical treatment, including three who were transported to the hospital for an overnight stay and were given oxygen.

King 5 [Author: Susannah Frame]

We’re Hitting the Limits of Hurricane Preparedness

Seventy-four hours. That’s roughly how much time separated the moment that Tropical Depression Nine formed in the Caribbean from the moment that the storm, transformed into a ruthless Category 4 hurricane named Ida, made landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Even less time—perhaps 60 hours—separated the storm’s promotion to hurricane strength and the first arrival of tropical-storm winds in Louisiana, the latter of which marks the moment that any official evacuation must be nearly complete.

Defense One [Author: Robinson Meyer]

Momentum Builds for Indoor Heat Worker Safety Regulations

Protecting workers from dangerous indoor heat temperatures is getting attention from federal and state regulators. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is scheduled to issue in October a request for information for the agency’s proposed indoor and outdoor heat rule. Washington state’s Department of Labor and Industry on Aug. 20 announced it would pursue an indoor heat rule, and California in coming months could enact its indoor heat rule, a regulation the state has been contemplating since 2016.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Bruce Rolfsen]

Exposure to Air Pollution Below Legal Limits Still Linked to Premature Deaths

Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to higher levels of illness and mortality even when air pollution levels are well below legal limits, according to a new study. Previous research has linked both acute and long-term exposure to high levels of common outdoor air pollutants like black carbon, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter (PM2.5) to higher risk of respiratory disease, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and premature death.

Environmental Health News [Author: Kristina Marusic]

FDA Warns Health Care Workers to Stop Using N95 Masks Made by A Chinese Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert to health care providers about certain N95 respirator face masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has revoked its approval of N95 respirator face masks manufactured by Shanghai Dashen Health Products Manufacturing Co.

MLive [Author: Deb Kiner]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

NIOSH Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is hosting a webinar on occupational safety and health challenges facing workers. The webinar will be held on Sept. 8 at 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET. The webinar speakers represent OSH professional associations, including the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Webinar Registration

EPA Webinar on Traditional Knowledge - Federal Agencies' Considerations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a webinar as part of Environmental Justice Webinar Series for Tribes and Indigenous Peoples. This webinar will discuss how some federal agencies are considering traditional knowledge in the implementation of their programs and responsibilities. This webinar is one of a two-part webinar mini-series on traditional knowledge. The first webinar will be held on Sept. 15 at 2:30-4:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

New Survey on Workplace Testing for COVID-19

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and partners are conducting a national survey asking business leaders about their experiences with workplace testing for COVID-19. The goal of the survey is to identify barriers and facilitators of COVID-19 testing in the workplace. The online survey is now open and will be available until Sept. 15.

NIOSH Online Survey

Physical and Mental Health Impacts of 9/11 Lecture

As part of the 22nd Annual James P. Keogh, M.D., Occupational Medicine Memorial Lecture, the James P. Keogh, M.D. Occupational Medicine Memorial Fund, the Department of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine are presenting the lecture, "Physical and mental health impacts of 9/11: Outcomes of the epidemiological health surveillance of the World Trade Center Program and lesson learned for disasters preparedness." The lecture will be held on Sept. 15 at 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET.

Zoom Link

Twenty Years of Homeland Security Research: How it Started and Where We Are Now

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Research and Development hosts the Emergency Response Research Webinar Series to cover the latest information on research supporting EPA's response to chemical, biological, and radiological incidents, as well as natural disasters. The next webinar, held on Sept. 16 will look at homeland security research efforts.

NIH RFI: Climate Change and Health

The Steering Committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Climate Change and Human Health Working Group invites feedback on the approaches NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices can take to enhance research on the health implications of climate change in the United States and globally. This request for information (RFI) invites comments from diverse stakeholder groups that include scientific researchers, community advocates, clinicians, and policy makers. The deadline to comment has been extended to Sept. 17.


2021 Public Health Learning Forum, hosted by the Public Health Foundation's TRAIN Learning Network

The 2021 Public Health Learning Forum will be held virtually from Oct. 12-21. The meeting focuses on Working Together, Training Together: Preparedness, Public Health and Healthcare and features an exciting lineup of presentations from leaders in public health workforce development.

More Information

Needs and Challenges in PPE Use for Underserved User Populations. Comment Period Extended

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests information on the needs and challenges in personal protective equipment (PPE) use for underserved user populations. The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory is expanding its portfolio to include activities that consider the needs of U.S. worker populations who are underserved related to PPE. The comment period has been extended to Oct. 15.

Federal Register

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

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Benzene Exposure and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Human Studies

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma comprises a heterogeneous group of cancers with unresolved aetiology, although risk factors include environmental exposures to toxic chemicals. Although the ubiquitous pollutant benzene is an established leukemogen, its potential to cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been widely debated. This study examines the potential link between benzene exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans by evaluating a wide array of cohort and case-control studies using electronic systematic review.


Living In a Low-Income Neighborhood Linked to Lower Lung Function

NIEHS researchers found that people living in neighborhoods with socioeconomic disadvantage have an increased risk of poor respiratory health. The scientists noted that greater neighborhood deprivation is associated with markers of reduced lung function including lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second, the amount of air exhaled in the first second, and forced vital capacity, the total amount of air exhaled out of the lung.

NIEHS Environmental Factor

Satellite Data Reveal That Diesel Trucking Drives U.S. Air Pollution Inequality

An analysis of nearly 2 years of satellite data from major U.S. cities shows widespread inequality in exposure to the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide from neighborhood to neighborhood. On average, people with incomes at or below the poverty line and who are members of marginalized racial and ethnic groups are exposed to about 28% higher concentrations of NO2 than higher-income White people living in the same city, the study finds.

Chemical and Engineering News [Author: Katherine Bourzac]

Fines Appealed After Nitrogen Kills Six at Georgia Plant

Three of four companies are appealing federal workplace safety fines following a January liquid nitrogen leak that killed six workers at a Georgia poultry processing plant. The U.S. Department of Labor says plant owner Foundation Food Group is contesting citations proposed in July, as well as Packers Sanitation Services Ltd., which provided cleaning services, and FS Group Inc. which helped build the freezer line that malfunctioned.

News and Observer

Metro Is Not Properly Tracking Operator Fatigue and Medical Issues, Which Affect Safety, Audit Says

Metro can’t properly protect employees and riders because of inconsistencies in health-related testing, monitoring and shift scheduling for train operators, according to an audit by the agency that oversees Metrorail safety. The transit agency needs a standard process for drug and alcohol testing of train operators involved in crashes or safety violations, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission report concluded.

Washington Post [Author: Justin George]

Concerns About Workplace Safety as Meatpacking Plants Recruit Foreign Visa Workers

Colored hard hats distinguish different roles and jobs at Seaboard Foods, a major meatpacking plant in Guymon, Oklahoma. Senior management have green. Supervisors wear dark blue. Foreign workers on visas don yellow-green.

Civil Eats [Author: Luis Velazquez]

Minnesota Clean Energy Jobs Rebounded — But Workers of Color Need More Opportunities

Minnesota’s clean energy workforce — people employed in energy efficiency, carbon-free fuel sources like solar and wind power, and related fields — is more diverse than the state’s labor force as a whole, according to data compiled by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota.

Energy News Network [Author: Andrew Hazzard, Sahan Journal]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

OSHA, NIOSH Revise Handbook for Small Businesses

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Aug. 3 a collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that resulted in a revised handbook on workplace safety and health information for small business employers. The Small Business Safety and Health Handbook highlights the benefits of implementing an effective safety and health program, provides self-inspection checklists for employers to identify workplace hazards and review important workplace safety and health resources for small businesses.


EHS Today

Funding Availability for Brownfields Job Training Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of funds and solicits applications from eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, to deliver Brownfields Job Training (JT) programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed, and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment across a spectrum of brownfield-related activities. The application submission deadline is Oct. 5.

EPA Brownfields JT Grants

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack to Top

WTP COVID-19 Brief: Key Information for Workplace and Training Providers: Policies for Fully Vaccinated People

Current evidence shows that authorized COVID-19 vaccines protect most people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19 illnesses. This document provides guidance for workplaces and training facilities regarding policies for people who are fully vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Information and recommendations will change over time based on what is known or anticipated about this novel (new) virus. These suggestions are based on federal guidance as of August 2021.

COVID-19 Brief

COVID-19 Resources

Climate Change and Health Research Drives New NIH-Wide Seminar Series

NIEHS hosted the first seminar in a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) series addressing the human health effects of climate change, held virtually Aug. 16. NIEHS Director Rick Woychik explained that there are things that scientists can do to counter the devastating impact of climate change, but they need to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

NIEHS Environmental Factor

Commentary on Need for Primary Prevention to Mitigate Ongoing Opioid Epidemic

Now available, open access commentary by Aurora Le and Jonathan Rosen titled, “It is time to implement primary prevention in the workplace to ameliorate the ongoing U.S. opioid epidemic,” in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. Please feel free to share widely. The full special issue of New Solutions Volume 31, Issue 3 focused on Opioids and the Workplace – Risk Factors and Solutions, will be available in November.

New Solutions

WTP Webinar: Practical Considerations for Using Portable Air Cleaners to Prevent Transmission of Infectious Aerosols

WTP hosted a webinar on Aug. 16 that provided information on 1) assessing ventilation systems within a building or space, and 2) selection and use of portable air cleaner(s), when appropriate. Presenters discussed the difference between natural and mechanical ventilation and recommendations from American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers.


Job OpeningsBack to Top

NENYCOSH Seeks Training and Outreach Assistant

The Northeast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH) provides valuable programs for workers and employers aimed at reducing workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The Training and Outreach Assistant will conduct outreach to local organizations, non-profits, and unions to collaborate in offering workplace health and safety trainings to populations of low-wage, immigrant, temporary, and young workers.

Job Posting

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