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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS WTP: September 24, 2021 Newsbrief

Weekly E-Newsbrief, September 24, 2021

Weekly E-Newsbrief

September 24, 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

Opioid Overdose Deaths Rise Among Black Americans

Since the late 1990s, deaths from opioid overdoses in the U.S. have climbed relentlessly. In 2019, nearly 50,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose. Drivers of this crisis include prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

National Institutes of Health

Methamphetamine Deaths Soar, Hitting Black and Native Americans Especially Hard

A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry suggests methamphetamine use is surging as a major cause of high-risk addiction and overdose death in the U.S. From 2015 to 2019, the number of deaths linked to methamphetamine use rose from 5,526 a year to 15,489 a year — roughly a 180% increase.

NPR [Author: Brian Mann]

Chemical Safety Board Nominations Advanced by U.S. Senate Panel

Three nominees to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) have been cleared by a Senate committee, one advancing on a 10-10 tally, and now face a confirmation vote from the full chamber. President Joe Biden nominated Sylvia Johnson, Jennifer Sass, and Steve Owens to fill three of four open seats on the CSB on April 28.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Fatima Hussein]

U.S. Regulators Approve Texas Nuclear Dump Despite Opposition

Texas officials vowed to fight a federal regulator’s decision to approve plans to allow thousands of tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste to be stored in oil fields in the state. Texas Governor Greg Abbott last week signed into law legislation that attempts to block the project from moving forward.

Bloomberg [Author: Ari Natter]

Nuclear Waste Interaction in the Environment May Be More Complicated than Once Thought

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and collaborators proposed a new mechanism by which nuclear waste could spread in the environment. The new findings, that involve researchers at Penn State and Harvard Medical School, have implications for nuclear waste management and environmental chemistry. The research is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Calendar FeaturesBack to Top

Webinar: Major Chemical Safety Incidents – A Review of Common Causes

Velocity EHS is hosting a webinar on Oct. 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET. This webinar will review incident investigations from The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board with a focus on gathering data on common causes and failure modes and severity data, as well as any links between the facility’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compliance history and major incidents. 

EHS Today

Health Literacy in Practice: Risk Communication

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California Berkeley is hosting a webinar on Oct. 6 at 12:00-1:00 p.m. PT. Health literacy refers to an individual’s ability to understand and act on health information. It also refers to a communicator’s ability to develop messages or materials that are easy for readers of all literacy levels to comprehend. This webinar will explain why health literacy matters for many professionals, including those in risk communication, and provide a few basic strategies for developing clear messages and simple design.

Webinar Information

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

Assessing Ventilation for COVID-19 Mitigation

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California Berkeley is offering a course on ventilation. Adequate ventilation is a key mitigation factor in the global fight against COVID-19. This hybrid, online and in-person course will review the basics of assessing ventilation at the occupant level and help you establish a framework to identify ventilation vulnerabilities. It will be held on Oct. 26-27.

More Information

APHA Occupational Health and Safety Section Awards Luncheon

The Occupational Health and Safety Section (OHS) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) will be recognizing the contributions of seven exceptional leaders in the fight for worker health and safety during its annual OHS awards luncheon. The luncheon will be held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.

Registration Link

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

COSHCON Registration Now Open

Registration for the National Conference on Worker Safety and Health (#COSHCON2021) is now available. The conference brings together a diverse, inclusive and bilingual group of workers, occupational health and safety experts, unions, activists and academics united around common goals. It will be held Dec. 7-9 and 14-16.

Registration Link

On The Web This WeekBack to Top

Managing Losses Caused by Climate Change-Fueled Natural Disasters

Hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent, destructive, and costlier under global climate change, argues Christopher C. French, a professor of insurance law at Penn State Law. Changes in zoning laws and building codes are needed, but relying only on changes to such laws and the private insurance market isn’t enough.

Bloomberg Law [Author: Christopher French]

Concrete World: Engineers to Improve Reinforced Steel to Contain Nuclear Waste

Metals embedded in concrete can erode, rusting, and weakening until the concrete splits and the structure it supports falls. Such corrosion is believed to be one of the main issues that exacerbated the damage that led to the June 24 Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Pennsylvania State University

WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-Related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report

This monitoring report presents the joint estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) of the global, regional and national work-related burden of disease for the years 2000-2016, targeting policy makers and practitioners in occupational and workers’ health and safety.


New ILO/WHO Work Fatality Figures Must Spur Action

New figures jointly released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) identify that 19 work-related risk factors cause some two million deaths each year. However, adding in causes of death by risk factors not included in the joint report and filling in information gaps from poor record-keeping brings the real world total closer to three million deaths, and even that is likely to be an underestimate.


Study Uncovers New Link Between Long-term Arsenic Exposure and Type 2 Diabetes

A University of Arizona Health Sciences study has identified the biological mechanism linking long-term arsenic exposure to diseases such as cancer and Type 2 diabetes. The findings could result in potential new targets for drug development. More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and approximately 90-95% of them have Type 2 diabetes.

University of Arizona

Federal Agency UpdateBack to Top

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Enhanced, Expanded Measures to Protect Workers from Hazards of Extreme Heat, Indoors and Out

To combat the hazards associated with extreme heat exposure – both indoors and outdoors – the White House announced enhanced and expanded efforts the U.S. Department of Labor is taking to address heat-related illnesses. As part of the Biden-Harris administration's interagency effort and commitment to workplace safety, climate resilience, and environmental justice, the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is initiating enhanced measures to protect workers better in hot environments and reduce the dangers of exposure to ambient heat.


NIH Builds Large Nationwide Study Population of Tens of Thousands to Support Research on Long-Term Effects of COVID-19

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded nearly $470 million to build a national study population of diverse research volunteers and support large-scale studies on the long-term effects of COVID-19. The NIH REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative made the parent award to New York University Langone Health, which will make multiple sub-awards to more than 100 researchers at more than 30 institutions and serves as the RECOVER Clinical Science Core.


DOE Announces $16 Million to Support Community-Driven Pathways to Clean Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP)—an initiative designed to help environmental justice communities and communities with historical ties to fossil fuel industries take direct control of their clean energy future. The Communities LEAP pilot program provides supportive services valued at up to $16 million to help communities develop locally-driven energy plans to more effectively leverage public and private sector resources to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good-paying jobs.


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

$6.9M Grant Aims to Improve Northwest Worker Safety, Health

Northwest worker safety and health is getting a $6.9-million boost over the next five years thanks to a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the COVID-19 American Rescue Plan. The grant will support continued efforts of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, which serves as a regional resource for employers and workers in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and beyond.

OHSU [Author: Franny White]

Job OpeningsBack to Top

Alabama Fire College Seeks Training Specialist

The Workplace Safety Training (WST) Program of the Alabama Fire College is seeking a training specialist. The WST Training Specialist is an exempt position that coordinates the logistical and equipment needs for training courses taught by the Alabama Fire College’s Workplace Safety Training and Hazmat programs as well as assists in curriculum development and instruction of the training courses. The training is conducted for response agencies as well as government and industrial clients. The application deadline is Oct. 1.

Job Posting

JHU Seeks Occupational Safety Officer

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Department of Health, Safety and Environment is seeking an Occupational Safety Officer. This position involves all aspects of laboratory safety including promoting safe lab areas and staff attitudes toward safe work habits, assessing laboratory safety and compliance, and educating the JHU research community on safety requirements, expectations, and compliance assistance. The deadline to apply is Oct. 1.

Job Posting

Chair of Environmental Health Sciences Department & Director of Southern California Education and Research Center

The University of California Los Angeles Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health is undertaking a search for Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences who will also serve as the director of the Southern California Education and Research Center (SCERC). The SCERC is partially funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The full-time equivalent faculty of the EHS Department are funded through FSPH and the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.

Job Posting

Cal OEHHA Public Health Medical Officer II

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is hiring a Public Health Medical Officer. OEHHA has responsibilities in pesticide-related human health assessments and agricultural worker health and safety evaluations and regulations. The position will provide medical expertise in the health effects of pesticide exposure. The incumbent provides training to physicians and other health professionals on the recognition, management and reporting of pesticide illness and poisoning.

Job Posting

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