May 7, 2008 The Pump Handle 2Comment

Past roundups have emphasized the many things wrong with veterans’ health and safety, so this week seems like a good time to highlight some of the efforts that the military and the Veterans Administration are making to address the problems.

  • The WSJ’s Theo Francis reports that the Defense Department is giving the Brain Trauma Foundation $4.6 million to develop a device that can assess traumatic brain injuries in seconds on the battlefield.
  • For the Associated Press, Pauline Jelinek and Lolita Baldor describe a new Pentagon campaign that aims to get troops with mental health problems into counseling; one important change is that mental health treatment will no longer count against them in future applications for security clearance.
  • NPR’s Joseph Shapiro explains the changes the Army has made at military hospitals to prevent accidental drug overdoses like the one that killed Sgt. Robert Nichols.

In other news:

The Nation: The sugar-dust explosion at the Imperial Sugar Company’s Savannah refinery, responsible for the death of 13 workers, angered Tammy Miser (of Weekly Toll fame), who started working in support of families who’ve lost loved ones to workplace disasters after her brother Shawn died in a dust explosion. During the Bush administration, OSHA has basically stopped its rulemaking duties, although the House Committee that oversees OSHA is now pushing the agency to act on several hazards that merit rules.

NIOSH: Although commercial fishing is still the nation’s most dangerous occupation, the annual fatality rate declined 51% between 1990 and 2006 due to safety requirements and prevention strategies.

Occupational Hazards: Recent research finds that although outdoor workers in construction, forestry, fishing, and farming are at increased risk of getting skin cancer due to sun exposure, they are least likely to receive skin exams.

New York Times (op-ed): Burger King hired a security firm to spy on the Student/Farmworker Alliance, which has been urging the fast-food giant to give a modest pay raise to the farmworkers who pick its tomatoes. By contrast, McDonald’s and Yum Brands have agreed to increase the workers’ pay and to work with the coalition to eliminate slavery conditions from the fields.

2 thoughts on “Occupational Health News Roundup

  1. I am glad I discovered your website! I thought you and your readers might be interested in IssueLab’s new collection of research on veteran health. It’s all by nonprofit and University researchers and touches on issues like PTSD and traumatic brain injury (a common injury for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans) and new evidence that they interact with each other; homelessness; why veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are particularly experiencing challenges that veterans from past wars have not, etc. You can check out our May CloseUp on veteran health here–



  2. Some locales accept plastic containers and others don’t. Yours does not. The recyclability of used plastic containers is mediocre at best. Reuse of plastic bottles is much better. This is related to volume, cost of separation, etc. rather than a fundamental chemical limit. It’s just very expensive to go through the recycling process for a small percentage item like polypropylene containers. Pulling out plastic bottles and sorting them is much easier, and there are lots of alternative uses that do not mind the occasional mixed color or other sorting problem.

    I’m not aware of a take-out container that is easily recycled. The paper-based ones get contaminated by the food and contaminate the entire recycling box with food waste. Paper recycling is very sensitive to food waste. It can make the whole load into reject paper that gets burned. Polypropylene is very well suited to takeout, but as I said, is much harder to recycle.

    One potential is for you to re-use those containers yourself. Clean and reuse until they are somehow damaged. Then accept that you got a bunch of uses before finally discarding it.

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