Sometimes it is necessary and helpful to look overseas to find examples on how health and safety issues are being properly addressed. The ETUC and IndustriAll European Trade Union have launched an information campaign on the REACH regulation. The chief objective of this campaign is centered on education; educating companies on their obligations under European legislation. While this does not affect American workers, it is still important to recognize this for what it is; union organizations working together to increase the amount of company and public knowledge that is available. While distinctly different from Global Harmonization, this could theoretically fall under the same umbrella of uniform hazard identification. To find out more about Global Harmonization or the Hazard Communication Standard, click on the appropriate links.
For more information on the ETUC and IndustriAll campaign on REACH in companies, click here.
Few things affect our chronic (long term) health like the air we breathe. But how many of us really know what is in it?
Oh sure we might know what it is supposed to be, roughly 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and 1% inert ingredients (various ingredients that don’t hurt us). But is that all that is in the air?
Employers and government agencies such as OSHA monitor air quality to ensure that industries stay within their legal limits. For OSHA, this monitoring is part of what makes up a workplace investigation. So how do we know what they find?
You can find some of this information on OSHA’s Chemical Exposure Health Data page. Simply fill in the required information and you can find what OSHA monitoring has been done at your worksite or any worksite that falls under OSHA’s jurisdiction
This is useful information to know to protect yourself from chronic injuries and disease; because what you don’t know really CAN hurt you.
While still valid, limits in representation affect the accuracy of the EPA's 2010 Toxics Release Inventory.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled its analysis of the 2010 Toxics Release Inventory, a database containing information on the disposal or release of 650 potentially dangerous chemicals used by almost 21,000 facilities. Though there were some increases between 2009 and 2010, it found that releases of these chemicals have generally decreased, with the total down 30 percent since 2001.
However, the EPA has acknowledged that a lack of all chemicals or all sectors in the U.S. economy, self-reported estimates, out of date risk estimates, and spotty coverage of the utility sector are all shortcomings that must be considered when assessing the conclusions drawn from the database. These limits in representation and reporting result in a database that presents only a partial picture of the nation's pollution.
For the full article at iwatchnews.org by Corbin Hiar, click here.
This past Saturday marked the 27th anniversary of one of the world’s worst industrial accidents. An estimated 15,000 people were killed when a Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked gas in Bhopal, India. Frustrated with what they view as a lack of compensation, thousands of protestors took to blocking Bhopal’s five train lines by sitting on the tracks.
The Indian government accepted a settlement in 1985 worth $470 million, but survivors feel this is inadequate. The official death toll is 5290, however the Indian Council of Medical Research has attributed up to 23,000 due to the contamination. The five Bhopal victims’ rights groups that organized the protest are demanding that Dow Chemicals, which bought Union Carbide in 2001, pay $7.9 billion in compensation for the more than 500,000 individuals who were exposed to the leak.
The Indian government is seeking an additional $1.7 billion for the victims from Dow, and activists accuse the company of not cleaning up oil and groundwater contamination in Bhopal.
Bhopal activists and survivors are also calling for Dow Chemicals to be dropped as a sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics. At least 21 Indian Olympic athletes have urged the organizers of the London Games to end Dow’s sponsorship. Despite this, London Olympic organizers have said they will not change their position on Dow’s sponsorship.
For the full article, available at skynews.com, click here.
The Obama Administration has delayed their decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Ongoing since 2008, the debate has environmentalists in an uproar over the proposed pipeline that would stretch from Canadian oil sands into the U.S.
From the NYT:
“As a result of this process, particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the Sandhills area of Nebraska, the department has determined it needs to undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in Nebraska,” the department said in a statement Thursday.
The proposed project by a Canadian pipeline company had put President Obama in a political vise, squeezed between the demand for secure energy sources and the thousands of jobs the project will bring, and the loud opposition of environmental advocates who have threatened to withhold electoral support next year if he approves it.
The $7 billion pipeline, which would run from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, has generated intense opposition from environmentalists and public officials in Nebraska, who claim that it threatens sensitive lands and underground water supplies along its 1,700-mile route. Critics also say that the heavy oil extracted from sand formations in Canada will add to global warming and extend American dependence on fossil fuels.
Submitted by Patrick McQueen
Image courtesy of Gizmodo.
Firefighters in Illinois are battling to cool flaming tankers containing Ethanol after a train derailed late Thursday night in Tiskilwa, 115 miles west of Chicago. The cause of the accident is being investigated by the NTSB and the Illinois EPA. The 800-resident town of Tiskilwa has been completely evacuated.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Grant said crews are using water to cool the tankers and foam to extinguish the fire. In the meantime, the 800 residents of the town are being asked to stay away.
"We are asking people not to return to Tiskilwa," Grant said.
Bureau County sheriff’s police had gone door-to-door early this morning to advise people to leave. Most residents went to stay with friends or relatives out of town, went to work or gathered about six miles away at Princeton High School, which was being used as a shelter. Some took refuge at Indian Valley Inn, a restaurant and bar on Main Street.
"It's a mess," said Mike McComber, owner of the inn. "A quarter- to a half-mile of cars derailed. Many of them are on fire.
"Every time one of them explodes, it sounds like a bomb is going off. Three have gone off so far," he said this morning, shortly after the derailment happened.
View unedited footage of the inferno from shortly after the crash here.
Submitted by Patrick McQueen
With Hurricane Irene preparing to batter the east coast and with similar storms a possibility before the end of hurricane season, it's an important time to review the National Hurricane Center's guidelines for hurricane preparedness. Several videos have been posted on their site, each covering a different threat.
From the NHC, those threats include:
-Lack of teamwork
-Lack of plan
Help to minimize the damage cause by Irene by familiarizing yourself with the PSA series and developing a plan with your family.
Submitted by Patrick McQueen
Civil rights and environmental concerns are starting to mix, according the NAACP, with poor people and minorities more often subjected to dangerous environmental concerns.
From The Pueblo Chieftain:
In the view of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the environment is a serious issue and it's started a campaign to raise awareness through its chapters around the country.
That was the focus of the quarterly state conference of the NAACP chapters in Pueblo on Saturday.
"Clean air is a civil right and I feel very strongly about that," said Beatrice Madison, state NAACP president for the past 15 years. "All the environment evils that are going through our communities, a lot are going through African-American, minority and poor communities."
About 50 people from Colorado's four chapters gathered to hear Jacqui Patterson, NAACP director of Environmental and Climate Justice Program and Gillian Bowser, a research scientist from Colorado State University's Natural Resource Laboratory.
Submitted by Andrew Fatato
OSHA is suing CMM Realty Inc. because they allegedly terminated an employee after that employee reported unsafe working conditions. The employee had complained of asbestos and other environmental dangers, and was subsequently fired.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, alleges that the company violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it terminated the individual's employment. OSHA is asking that the court provide him all appropriate relief, including reinstatement to his former position, back pay, interest and compensatory damages, as well as prohibit the defendant from future violations.
On May 13, 2009, the employee voiced concerns to the owner of CMM Realty concerning asbestos exposure at the company's Briargate Condominiums. The following day, he filed complaints with the South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Conservations. Both agencies conducted inspections and issued citations against CMM Realty for violating asbestos control standards. On that same day, the employee was informed that his services were no longer needed. On May 18, he was notified officially of his termination from the company.
Submitted by Andrew Fatato
« Show Older Posts
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety has released a new study that confirms serious risks for agricultural workers who must work near fields where large quantities of pesticides have been sprayed. The subsequent drift of pesticides has been found to adversely affect worker health.
"Acute pesticide illnesses associated with off-target pesticide drift from agricultural applications — 11 States, 1998–2006," posted online by Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first comprehensive report to be done of multistate surveillance data on drift-related pesticide poisoning in the United States, according to its authors.
Pesticide poisoning can irritate the eyes and skin, as well as cause dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, respiratory irritation and pain, chest pain, fatigue, and fever. Pesticide drift is the term for unintended airborne movement of pesticide spray, vapor, or odor from a target application site "and is recognized as a major cause of pesticide exposure affecting people, wildlife, and the environment," according to NIOSH, which said the study found that "small" drifts -– those associated with fewer than five cases of pesticide poisoning per incident –- decreased during the study period. Overall incidence remained constant, however, mainly driven by "large" drifts involving more than five cases each.
Submitted by Andrew Fatato