Posted in 'Environment'

Rebecca Moss, The New Mexican

For more than a decade, a vast, mile-wide, below-ground plume of cancer-causing chemicals has encroached on the regional aquifer that rests below Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab has said it is working to contain the contamination and prevent it from entering tribal land or further polluting a water supply relied on by residents from Los Alamos to Albuquerque.

But according to new data, the plume — resulting from decades of lab workers dumping contaminated water into a canyon — may be continuing to spread. … read more

Posted In: Environment, EPA, Health and Safety, USW

Annette Parde Maas, NIH > NLM > NNLM (National Network of Libraries of Medicine)

Use Tox-App, a free mobile app for iOS users from the National Library of Medicine, to search for industrial facilities that reported releasing certain chemicals into the environment (based on data from the US EPA TRI program). Tox-App includes a subset of about 100 TRI chemicals for the most current TRI year. You can download Tox-App from the Apple App Store.

Tox-App is based on the National Library of Medicine online tool TOXMAP and provides some of the basic TOXMAP functions, including:

    •    Search for reporting facilities by name or state
    •    Browse for facilities by chemical, state, or county
    •    View locations of reporting facilities on an interactive map

Learn more about Tox-App in TOXMAP News.

View the original post here.

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety

In the wake of the natural disasters leaving the southern United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in despair, USWTMC Specialized Emergency Response Trainers (SERTs) are deploying to devastated areas and delivering training. The cadre’s goal is to better equip the individuals and communities working to clean-up and rebuild in the aftermath of the disasters with the tools necessary to ensure their health and safety in the process. The SERTs began deployment late September 2017 to various regions of Texas.

Week 14: Feb. 12-18, 2018 in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Marybeth Potter of United Steelworkers Local Union 1-689 remained in the Virgin Islands this week to continue outreach on behalf of the USW Specialized Emergency Response Trainers. She was joined by Frank Condell, training director for the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Pittsburgh Chapter, and USWTMC worker-trainer.

The SERTs took Monday to visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Saint Thomas with USW Local Union 9-8249 President Sheryl Parris and Health and Safety Representative Gary Simon. They toured the facility noticing significant mold hazards and spoke with some members regarding illness due to exposure. The team then went on to the lieutenant governor’s office where they connected with some members as well as management. In the end, they made plans to work together to solve significant health and safety issues. Potter reported that they were presented with contact information for guidance from the United Steelworkers International, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). They also offered NIEHS booklets for more information on how to protect oneself while helping others in the wake of a natural disaster.

On Tuesday the SERTs scheduled a tentative training focused on mold remediation for USW members at a union meeting to take place on Thursday. Potter and Condell worked to put together the materials.

Potter and Condell, along with Parris, visited SeaView nursing home on Wednesday where USW-represented members work. The SERTs reported significant damage from the hurricane along with little funding left to clean up and rebuild the damaged areas. The facility administrator reported to them that the residents are safe, the damaged areas are secured and the remaining structure is livable and intact, however, obvious work still needs to be completed.

Week 14: Feb. 12-18, 2018 in Puerto Rico

Mejia and Edington continued their outreach in Puerto Rico this week. On Monday the SERTs held resiliency training for workers at Metropolitan University (UMET). The following day the SERTs prepared all of the materials for an OSHA 10-hour construction course and followed up on obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) for training. On Wednesday the SERTs facilitated day one the OSHA-10 course in Ponce, and concluded day two on Thursday. Finishing up the week, Mejia and Edington held a mold awareness class in Ponce and more resiliency training at UMET.

Posted In: AFLCIO, CWA, Environment, Health and Safety, Labor Institute, Mazzocchi, NDLON, USW

From the Chillicothe Gazette:

PIKETON - An arrangement between four entities will provide for free job training for those interested in filling open positions with ongoing cleanup work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

The arrangement involving the United Steel Workers Local 1-689, the Village of Piketon, the Pike County Career Technology Center and the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education was announced this week as also benefiting existing workers on the project in terms of cross training as the scope of work changes and needs for different skills emerge. … more

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety, Mazzocchi, USW

The New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) is seeking a campaign organizer to organize and expand a dynamic grassroots advocacy campaign, Stop Runaway Inequality. The campaign focuses on addressing economic inequality, and the outsized influence of corporations, particularly Wall Street firms, which often thwarts progress on a range of policy demands on issues of public health, environmental protection, workers’ rights, civil rights, etc. The campaign organizer will work to build a broad-based alliance and coordinate a large education initiative to train thousands of people, feeding new activists into the movement.

For more information about the opening, including how to apply, please click here.

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

WASHINGTON – In an effort to prevent and deter crimes that put the lives and the health of workers at risk, the Departments of Justice and Labor announced today a plan to more effectively prosecute such crimes.  Under the new plan, the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will work with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to investigate and prosecute worker endangerment violations.

“On an average day in America, 13 workers die on the job, thousands are injured and 150 succumb to diseases they obtained from exposure to carcinogens and other toxic and hazardous substances while they worked,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates.  “Given the troubling statistics on workplace deaths and injuries, the Department of Justice is redoubling its efforts to hold accountable those who unlawfully jeopardize workers’ health and safety.” ... read more

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety

From KGNU News:

“All the indications are that it’s going to be more serious than we thought originally.”

In 1975, CU biologist Harvey Nichols began studying airborne matter at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site outside of Boulder. He concluded that billions of plutonium particles were dusted on the ten square-mile Rocky Flats site. ... read more and listen to an interview

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety

Sam Hendren news reporter, WOSUradio

The village of Piketon, in southern Ohio, played a major role during the cold war as the site of a U.S. nuclear weapons plant. Now Ohio lawmakers want more money to clean up the plant’s nuclear residue. But Congressional funding disputes are getting tiresome for Piketon workers and residents.

For decades there’s been a certain mystery surrounding the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant near Piketon, even among residents. Blaine Beekman is a local historian and a Pike County commissioner. … more

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety, USW

Patrick Malone, The New Mexican

The New Mexican reported that the New Mexico state environment department is preparing to move forward with additional fines against Los Alamos National Laboratory due to the radiation leak in 2014 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. Read the full story here.

Posted In: Environment, Health and Safety

Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald

The Department of Energy has agreed to pay a $44,722 penalty to resolve more violations of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste storage requirements at Hanford, as alleged by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The two agencies signed a consent agreement Wednesday, with DOE neither admitting nor denying violations. Money for Hanford cleanup will be returned to the U.S. Treasury. ... read more

Posted In: Environment, EPA, Health and Safety
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