A grab-bag of links from OEHS in the news…
Lead. According to USA Today, EPA is re-examining over 460 former lead factory sites in the U.S. for lead and other toxic materials that may pose health hazards to the surrounding neighborhoods. Check out USA Today’s “Ghost Factories” series.
Black lung. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has completed its work on the final version of a rule that aims to toughen coal dust limits to put an end to black lung disease. The Charleston Gazette reports that the rule “appears to be stalled at the Labor Department,” and MSHA Chief Joseph Main says that the rule is “going through the process.” Read more.
Health and safety myths. The U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive is compiling its responses to “ridiculous decisions [wrongly made] in the name of health and safety” online on the Myth Busters Challenge Panel findings Web page. Read about the latest cases HSE has considered.
Chronic kidney disease. A deadly form of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has killed tens of thousands of sugar-cane workers across Central America, more and more news sources report. The Observer, a U.K. newspaper, has published an article containing several interviews with workers and family members in the region and a summary of some of the scientific research to date.
Layoff talks. Layoff talks could be a health hazard to employees, reports Finland’s Yle News. Experts say that “employees in the middle of layoff talks often avoid calling in sick at the expense of their health.” Read more.
Chevron refinery fire. Workers at Chevron’s Richmond refinery made complaints to regulators about “unsafe working conditions” in 2011, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "We're concerned about increased corrosion—we've increased temperatures and increased rates, and it takes a toll on the equipment," one worker said.
Lab safety. Professors and others working in university laboratories have been closely following the lab death case in which Sheri Sangji, a laboratory assistant, was fatally burned in a fire while working in a laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Patrick Harran is accused of “willfully violating occupational safety and health standards and causing the death of a young technician in his laboratory.” Read a column by Joe Schwarcz, director of Canada’s McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, “Safety in university laboratories finds itself under the microscope.”
Painkiller abuse among injured workers. Researchers from the Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute found that almost 1 in 12 injured workers who were prescribed opioids for on-the-job injuries were still using the drugs three to six months later. Read more.