June 16, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH

In 1999, two machinists who worked next to each other at a Pratt & Whitney jet engine plant in North Haven, Connecticut were diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare and fatal brain cancer. Their wives started compliling information about other employees at the same company who’d received similar diagnoses, and focused attention on the workers’ illneses […]

June 14, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 1Comment

It’s been good to see OSHA adding more Gulf sampling data to its website, but the presentation of the information there isn’t quite as detailed as we were expecting to see. We asked an industrial hygienist colleague for a reaction to the web pages, and got an in-depth response. Here are one industrial hygienist’s recommendations […]

June 11, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 8Comment

James Surowiecki’s latest New Yorker piece tackles the problem of weakened federal agencies failing to get tough on companies that need it. He notes that leading up to the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster, Minerals Management Service officials “had let oil companies shortchange the government on oil-lease payments, accepted gifts from industry representatives, and, in some […]

June 10, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 4Comment

Senator Chris Dodd held a hearing yesterday to discuss his Livable Communities Act, which would provide grant funding for communities to plan and implement strategies to improve livability. In his statement, he explains: This legislation will provide resources for comprehensive planning. The design of our communities is often seen as primarily a local issue, but […]

June 9, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 7Comment

President Obama has nominated Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and he sounds like a great guy for the job. Julie Rovner reported for Morning Edition earlier today that Republicans are stalling his nomination, which isn’t out of the ordinary these days. But the part of her story that […]

June 8, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 14Comment

Melanie Trottman reported in the Wall Street Journal last week that US Representatives James Oberstar and Jerrold Nadler have demanded that Gulf response and recovery workers be provided with respirators (among other protective equipment), but OSHA doesn’t think respirators should be required: David Michaels, assistant secretary for the Department of Labor’s OSHA, said in an […]

June 4, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 2Comment

As a group, scientists generally grasp the importance of good data collection systems – but federal-agency budgets rarely let scientists collect as much data as they’d like. Trimming funds for monitoring or surveillance programs may seem like the least painful budget choice when money’s tight, but then sometimes it turns out that relatively small savings […]

June 3, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 1Comment

The Economist recently published a special report on water, which summarizes the difficulty of ensuring adequate clean water supplies for a growing global population. (It also touches on the related challenge of sanitation, which affects water quality.) Agriculture accounts for nearly 70% of the world’s water use, although that number varies by region. In the […]

June 2, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH

We’ve been following the story ( see here, here, and here) of the National Guard troops who were exposed to the carcinogen hexavalent chromium at the Qarmat Ali water plant in Iraq – which contracting giant KBR was tasked with rebuilding. National Guard soldiers from four states were stationed there; many of them suffered nosebleeds […]

June 1, 2010 Liz Borkowski, MPH 1Comment

DemFromCT had a great post up at Daily Kos this past weekend about risk communication. He considers the somewhat unusual circumstances of the Gulf oil spill, noting, “unlike pandemics and hurricanes, this volatile mixture in the water has an equally volatile mix of politics, companies, government and media to sort out policy and communication.” The […]