November 16, 2007 The Pump Handle 12Comment

Exactly one year ago today, we published our first post here on The Pump Handle. It’s been an eventful year, to say the least.

By far, our most popular post was David Michaels’s “Popcorn Lung Coming to Your Kitchen? The FDA Doesn’t Want to Know,” which publicized the first reported case of bronchiolitis obliterans in a consumer and the pathetic reaction from public health agencies. Of course this is just one piece of the larger butter-flavoring story, which we’ve been following since our inception, mostly focusing on OSHA’s superficial responses to a hazard that’s robbing workers of their lung capacity.

We’ve also kept ourselves busy advocating for drug-safety reforms at FDA; considering ways to improve occupational health and safety in the U.S.; monitoring White House attempts to seize more control over regulatory agencies; weighing in on the conflict-of-interest issues surrounding the bisphenol A risk assessment; and criticizing the CPSC for its lackluster response to lead-tainted toys and other unsafe products. As tragedy unfolded at the collapsed Crandall Canyon mine in Utah, we explored the problems that contributed to the disaster and ways to keep miners safer.

Then there are the subtler things that may not get a lot of attention but that profoundly affect public health. Industry groups routinely claim that the science is too uncertain or that it’s the wrong kind of science, and then they put forth their own studies designed from the start to show that their products aren’t harmful. Positive-sounding concepts like “data quality” and “risk assessment” get twisted into tools for delaying or quashing regulation of dangerous products.

There’s no doubt that the next year will bring more challenges and outrages for those of us who care about public health. With elections coming up, the public health community also has an opportunity to ask candidates whether they support science-based regulation, strong federal agencies that will put health and safety ahead of corporate wishes, and investment in a resilient public health infrastructure.

Thanks to all of our readers, commenters, contributors, and other supporters who’ve joined us for our first year in the blogosphere. Here’s to another interesting year!

12 thoughts on “Our First Blogiversary

  1. Allow me to be the first to wish all of you at the Pump Handle a happy Blogiversary. It’s quite an accomplishement. The first-year Blog-Infant-Blog mortality rate is quite high so it’s good to see that the Pump Handle is going strong and getting stronger. (And one blog year is at least ten human years in terms of wear and tear on your sanity.)

    With the demise of Confined Space, the Pump Handle has become the first stop for those interested in workplace safety, as well as other public health issues — and it’s much less work for me. You’ve not only contributed to critical public health debates, but you’ve brought new issues to the fore that people hadn’t even been aware of.

    So keep up the good work. You’re on a mission from God.

  2. “National treasure” is such a cliche, so as apt as it may be in your case, let me just quote the immortal words of Hans and Franz: “you are the embodiment of perfect pumpitude.”

  3. As Jordan notes, mortality of new blogs is high. And never has it been more important for a new blog to survive than this one. Public health is in sorry shape and we need the voices that TPH allows to be heard. Readership is already excellent for a specialty blog and it will only grow and along with it TPH’s inlfuence. Congratulations to all who made it possible. Now, back to work.

  4. I’m OK with “national treasure,” having discovered last year, when working with Celeste Monforton on WV’s Sago mine disaster investigation, that the phrase fits her perfectly. TPH informs and educates on a whole range of public health issues that we all need to know about. Kudos to you and your colleagues on your First Blogiversary, Celeste, and may you celebrate many more.

  5. I’d like to remind readers that some of our most popular posts during the year were written by Tom Bethell (the commenter above).

    See the following:

    “An Unnatural Disaster”

    “Mr. Murray’s Mistatements”

    Read more of Tom Bethell’s fine work at The Mountain Eagle:

  6. Wow, has it only been a year? This is the first place I come when I’m looking for learned commentary and investigation of major public and occupational health issues. My personal favorite is clearly the exposé on diacetyl’s pulmonary risks to consumers of buttered popcorn. But as noted in the post, your collective accomplishments have been amazing in both depth and breadth.

    You set a very high bar for us all in the science and medical blogging arena. Congratulations and here’s to many more!

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