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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 10, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 10, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 10, 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

Lack of Power Hinders Assessment of Toxic Pollution Caused by Ida

A fertilizer plant battered by Hurricane Ida belched highly toxic anhydrous ammonia into the air. Two damaged gas pipelines leaked isobutane and propylene, flammable chemicals that are hazardous to human health. And a plastic plant that lost power in the storm’s aftermath is emitting ethylene dichloride, yet another toxic substance.

The New York Times [Author: Hiroko Tabuchi]

Cleanup Boats on Scene of Large Gulf Oil Spill Following Ida

The U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday that cleanup crews are responding to a sizable oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Ida. The spill, which is ongoing, appears to be coming from a source underwater at an offshore drilling lease about two miles (three kilometers) south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The reported location is near the site of a miles-long brown and black oil slick visible in aerial photos first published Wednesday by The Associated Press.

AP News [Author: Michael Biesecker]

For Louisiana's Coastal Tribes, 'Being at The End of The Earth Is a Dangerous Place'

When Shirell Parfait-Dardar returned to her home in Dulac, she found that Hurricane Ida's unforgiving winds had ripped the roof off and blown the walls in. A dressmaker by trade, she discovered her sewing shop seemed to have been lifted off the ground, flipped upside down and smashed. [Author: Halle Parker]

Emergency Workers Who Attended the World Trade Center Site Early Are at Risk of Developing COPD

Twenty years on from the September 11 attacks, rescue and recovery workers and volunteers who attended the World Trade Center site are beginning to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often following a previous diagnosis of asthma, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.


Drought Has Farmworkers Dreaming of Escape from California’s Breadbasket

For decades, farm labor has kept unincorporated communities alive throughout the Central Valley. But the drought is making it hard to stay. The dearth of essential resources — clean water, adequate housing and fair employment wages — has crippled towns that are easily overlooked and triggered a slow exodus to bigger places.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Priscella Vega]

WIPP: New Panels to Dispose of Nuclear Waste

Two new spaces to hold nuclear waste were planned to be built at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), and they could be slightly bigger to allow for equipment needed to handle higher radioactive waste. The proposal for the new panels came as officials worked to replace disposal capacity they said was lost during an accidental radiological release in 2014.

Carlsbad Current Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

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

EPA's 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.

More Information

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.


Enhancing Tribal Environmental Health Programs Engagement in COVID-19 Response Webinar Series

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is launching a new webinar series on environmental health and COVID-19 pandemic response in Indian Country. The first webinar of the series is on the theme of radiation exposure and water supply and will be held on Sept. 22 at 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar Registration

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

Climate Change Is the Greatest Threat to Public Health, Top Medical Journals Warn

The rapidly warming climate is the "greatest threat" to global public health, more than 200 medical journals are warning in an unprecedented joint statement that urges world leaders to cut heat-trapping emissions to avoid "catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse."

NPR [Author: Lauren Sommer]

Vaccine Mandates Could Spread, Sources Say

With two major U.S. Department of Energy nuclear site contractors having already announced plans to mandate worker vaccination against COVID-19, don’t be surprised to see others follow in coming days, sources told Weapons Complex Morning Briefing.

Exchange Monitor

Nuclear Waste Facility Near Carlsbad Sees COVID-19 Surge as Infections Rise In New Mexico

COVID-19 infections resurged at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in recent weeks as cases of the virus climbed in the communities surrounding the nuclear waste repository in southeast New Mexico. There were 14 positive cases among workers at the site or associated with the facility reported between Aug. 17 and 31, per the latest report from Nuclear Waste Partnership.

Carlsbad Current Argus [Author: Adrian Hedden]

Oregon Wants You to Be Better Prepared for the Next Big Disaster

Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management is calling on the state’s residents to think critically about how they’re preparing for the next big crisis event. Over the past year, Oregon has taken a beating from severe wildfires and drought, destructive ice storms, tragic heat events and a pandemic that continues to fill hospitals and morgues statewide.

OPB [Author: Sam Stites]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

NIOSH Respiratory Protection Week 2021

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) celebrated its annual Respiratory Protection Week from Sept. 10-17. NIOSH released two new fact sheets to promote respiratory protection. They include “Understanding Filtration Efficiency Testing and Fit Testing in Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs)” and “How to Tell if your N95 Respirator is NIOSH Approved.”

Understanding Filtration Efficiency Testing and Fit Testing in Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs)

How to Tell if your N95 Respirator is NIOSH Approved

Who Does What? The Roles of NIOSH, OSHA, and the FDA in Respiratory Protection in the Workplace

Over the years, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has built complex partnerships with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the specific respiratory protection needs of workers in different industries. Each of these federal organizations is dedicated to ensuring that workers who rely on respiratory protection have the necessary tools to stay protected. Understanding “who does what” can help a respiratory protection manager and respirator users understand where to find the information that they need.

NIOSH Science Blog

U.S. Department of Labor Awards More Than $6.7M in Worker Safety, Health Training Grants to 37 Recipients

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the award of more than $6.7 million in grants to 37 nonprofit organizations nationwide to fund education and training programs to help workers and employers recognize infectious diseases, including coronavirus health hazards, and identify preventive measures for a safe workplace.

U.S. Department of Labor

OSHA QuickTakes Now Available in Spanish

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) bimonthly QuickTakes newsletter is now available in English and Spanish. OSHA's online newsletter provides the latest news about enforcement actions, rulemaking, outreach activities, compliance assistance, and training and educational resources.


EPA Tools for Communities Cleaning Up after Hurricane Ida

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminds communities, families, and business owners affected by Hurricane Ida to take steps to make storm cleanup as safe and effective as possible. Cleanup activities related to returning to homes and businesses after a disaster can pose significant health and environmental challenges. Use caution to assure that all waste materials are removed and disposed of properly, following local guidelines.

EPA Region 6

EPA Responds to Damage from Storm Remnants of Hurricane Ida in New Jersey and New York

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Office continues to coordinate closely with federal, state and local partners as the Agency responds to the impact of remnants of Hurricane Ida. EPA is supporting New Jersey and New York and is focused on environmental impacts and potential threats to human health caused by the storm, as well as the safety of those in the affected areas.

EPA Region 2

The Federal Government's Internal Health Clinics Won't Help Test Employees for COVID-19, Despite New Mandate

The government is not providing COVID-19 testing to its employees at the federally run clinics positioned throughout the country, despite a new mandate requiring the tests for unvaccinated workers. Leadership at Federal Occupational Health, a division of the Health and Human Services Department that serves more than 350 agencies and 1.5 million employees, has told federal managers that COVID-19 testing is too expensive and laborious for it to conduct at any of its facilities.

Government Executive

Awardee Highlights/Online LearningBack 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

Healthy Aging Requires a Healthy Home Care Workforce: The Occupational Safety and Health of Home Care Aides

The University of Massachusetts Lowell Safe Home Care Project published a review paper in open access in the Current Environmental Health Reports journal. It describes social and economic conditions of home care work in the U.S., including structural racism and gender inequality, discusses specific occupational hazards and provides recommendations for research. The paper makes the case that home care workforce health is linked to elder health.

Review Paper

Biden's Justice40 Climate Plan Will Be Only as Successful as Its Frontline Investments

Angela Mahecha, director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center’s Ripe for Creative Disruption, an environmental justice movement fellowship at The New School, authored a commentary. Mahecha was one of the reviewers who combed through hundreds of applications to select the inaugural class of 52 organizations for the Justice40 Accelerator, a national effort designed to help community-led environmental justice projects.

The Hill

Job OpeningsBack to Top

NIEHS WTP Seeks Program Analyst

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) seeks a Program Analyst to support the Worker Training Program (WTP) within the Division of Extramural Research and Training. The position responsibilities include: management of specialized occupational health training programs; professional liaison for scientific review of these activities; and assesses and evaluates progress. The deadline to apply is Sept. 16.

Job Posting

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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