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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 17, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 17, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 17, 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

20 Years Later, Fallout from Toxic WTC Dust Cloud Grows

The dust cloud caught Carl Sadler near the East River, turning his clothes and hair white as he looked for a way out of Manhattan after escaping from his office at the World Trade Center (WTC). Gray powder billowed through the open windows and terrace door of Mariama James’ downtown apartment, settling, inches thick in places, into her rugs and children’s bedroom furniture.

AP News [Author: David B. Caruso]

Prostate Cancer Risk 24% Higher Among 9/11 Rescue/Recovery Workers

Latency period much shorter than in studies involving men not involved in 9/11. The risk of prostate cancer was 24% higher among 9/11 rescue and recovery workers after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, with the highest risk among the earliest responders, finds research published online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Mirage News

“You Have to Begin by Imagining the Worst”

Issues editor William Kearney interviews Janet Napolitano about the pandemic and how threats to the homeland have evolved in the 20 years since 9/11. Napolitano has held many distinguished leadership positions, most recently as the president of the University of California and before that as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and as two-term governor of Arizona.

California Fires Are Burning at Higher Elevations Than Ever, Creating New Dangers

Just hours before the Caldor fire threatened to level the resort town of South Lake Tahoe, the massive blaze performed a staggering feat: burning from one side of the Sierra to the other. It seared through crests and valleys, over foothills and ridges — and also at elevations of 8,000 feet or higher.

Los Angeles Times [Author: Hayley Smith]

Toxic Firefighting Foams a Challenge to Quickly Replace

Fire departments across Massachusetts face a "daunting" task in replacing the foams they use to fight fires caused by fuels or other flammable liquids, one chief told a task force mulling ways the state can address contamination by a class of chemicals known as PFAS.

WBUR [Author: Katie Lannan, State House News Service]

The Plan to Stop Every Respiratory Virus at Once

When London vanquished cholera in the 19th century, it took not a vaccine, or a drug, but a sewage system. The city’s drinking water was intermingling with human waste, spreading bacteria in one deadly outbreak after another. A new comprehensive network of sewers separated the two.

Government Executive [Author: Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic]

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

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

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Emergency Medical Services – Latest Updates

Emory University School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University with funding provided by the NIEHS – Worker Training Program is hosting a webinar on Sept. 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will provide a brief overview of the Delta variant COVID-19 surge and an update on disease transmission and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and other infection prevention measures.

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

A New York Hospital Will Stop Delivering Babies as Workers Quit Over a Vaccine Mandate

In New York, where former Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated that all health care workers in the state get a vaccine, employees at hospitals and long-term care facilities need to get their first dose by Sep. 27. At one local hospital in upstate New York, dozens of staff members walked away from their jobs after refusing to get vaccinated.

NPR [Author: Jaclyn Diaz]

Climate Change Is Making Natural Disasters Worse — Along with Our Mental Health

Through fires and hurricanes, through lethal heat waves and flash floods, the world seems to be ending — or at least, that's what it feels like. All around us, we're seeing the effects of climate change. Wildfires are raging through the West. Much of southeast Louisiana was flattened by Hurricane Ida, and parts of New York and New Jersey are digging out from disastrous flooding.

NPR [Author: Sharon Pruitt-Young]

Charting a Path Forward in Environmental Justice

Staring at the patchwork map on her computer, Simone Chapman zooms in on Tampa Bay, grounding the viewer in science and history. Chapman, a 2020 Science Policy Fellow with the Gulf Research Program, has created a mapping methodology that ensures tools make use of racial equity research and data layers are used consistently.

National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine

Climate Change Is Worsening Ozone Problems on the Front Range. Hispanic Communities Feel It the Most

When air quality on the Front Range is bad, it’s often because of ozone — a gas created by a mixture of emissions from cars, oil and gas drilling and industrial facilities, combined with the heat and light from the summer sun. A big chunk of the Front Range actually doesn’t meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for ozone and clear air. This map shows the areas that are considered in serious ozone violation.

CPR [Author: Michael Elizabeth Sakas]

In Recent Survey, Boston Ranks Sixth for the Intensity of Its Heat Islands

In some of Boston’s heat islands, conditions are so oppressive that on the hottest days, residents are more likely to experience heat stroke, asthma, and in some cases, death. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines heat islands as urban areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas.


Indigenous Tribes Facing Displacement in Alaska and Louisiana Say the U.S. Is Ignoring Climate Threats

About 31 Native Alaskan communities face imminent climate displacement from flooding and erosion, which could lead cultures to disappear and ways of life to transform, with four tribes already in the process of relocating from their quickly disappearing villages.

Inside Climate News [Author Dalia Faheid]

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

USDA Launches Resource Guide to Help Rural Communities Seeking Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson unveiled a resource guide as part of National Preparedness Month to help rural communities seeking disaster resiliency and recovery assistance. This guide follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement of the American Jobs Plan, which targets investments to support infrastructure in communities that are most physically and financially vulnerable to climate-driven disasters.


NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education has issued a competitive funding opportunity for projects that develop the collective environmental literacy necessary for communities to take actions that build resilience to extreme weather and climate change in ways that contribute to community health, social cohesion, and socio-economic equity. The pre-application deadline is Nov. 1.


Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated People Less Likely to Cause ‘Long COVID’

There’s no question that vaccines are making a tremendous difference in protecting individuals and whole communities against infection and severe illness from SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. And now, there’s yet another reason to get the vaccine: in the event of a breakthrough infection, people who are fully vaccinated also are substantially less likely to develop Long COVID Syndrome, which causes brain fog, muscle pain, fatigue, and a constellation of other debilitating symptoms that can last for months after recovery from an initial infection.

NIH Director’s Blog

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

Impact of Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 on the Physical and Mental Health of an Essential Workgroup: New York City Transit Workers

Jonathan Rosen, M.S., coauthored an article in the Journal of Emergency Management on the COVID-19 impact on transit workers in New York City. The article concludes that a lack of worksite protections before “NYC Pause” (March 22, 2020) was significantly associated with self-reported infection, fear, and mental health symptoms in Transit Workers Union, Local 100 members.

Journal of Emergency Management

Other People’s Rotten Jobs Are Bad for Them. And for You.

Terri Gerstein, fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and the Economic Policy Institute, spent more than 17 years enforcing labor laws in New York State, working in the state attorney general’s office and as a deputy labor commissioner. Gerstein authored an op-ed in the New York Times on vulnerable populations and occupational exposure to COVID-19.

The New York Times

Job OpeningsBack to Top

OSHA Seeks Program Analyst

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking a program analyst. This position will provide a wide variety of technical analysis, evaluative, and guidance development duties in supporting the organizational mission of protecting the safety and health of workers during preparedness for, response to, and recovery from natural and manmade disasters/emergencies and emerging infectious diseases. The deadline to apply is Sept. 21.

Job Posting

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