Congress directed EPA to disclose confidential business information to health professionals in certain critical situations involving toxic chemicals. Kudos to the American Public Health Assoc., American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of OB/GYN, and the Environmental Defense Fund for not allowing EPA to wiggle away from Congress’ intent.
Public health workers have two main tools for HIV screening: a blood test that detects HIV a couple weeks after infection or a saliva test that detects the virus more than a month after infection. With a trick of chemistry, however, scientists at Stanford University have combined the best attributes of both — and the result could mean a serious boost for HIV prevention.
On the risk of vaccine exemptions, the science is clear — it would take a relatively small decline in immunization rates to produce big jumps in disease and health care spending. The trick is keeping communities above the danger threshold.
An Oklahoma rehab center funnels forced free labor into private industry; the National Labor Relations Board reconsiders Obama-era union election rules; farmworkers at risk from California’s wildfire smoke; and domestic workers organize for greater labor rights in Seattle.
Local efforts help California nail salons create healthier working conditions; California court ruling a win for farm workers and labor unions; Milwaukee institutes new safety measures after a city employee is shot and killed; and flight attendants chronicle sexual harassment in the skies.
In the last two years, the California Legislature has provided the Department of Industrial Relations with significantly increased financial resources to enhance the effectiveness of Cal/OSHA and better protect the 19 million workers in the state. DIR has failed to take full advantage of these resources to strengthen Cal/OSHA while at the same time it has provided refunds to employers who have paid the fees that generate these unused resources. The net effect is a Cal/OSHA that is weaker and less effective than it could be if all available resources were put to work. The people who pay the cost of these resources “left on the table” are the workers of California and their families and communities.
The feds grant billions in contracts to shipbuilders with serious worker safety lapses; Texas lawmakers want to undo an Austin initiative that protects construction workers; Chevron agrees to highest fine in Cal/OSHA history after refinery fire; and Democrats hope to ban a dangerous pesticide after EPA fails to act.
Business lobbyists in California claim proposed worker safety rules for heat illness prevention are on too fast a track. They might think differently if they set up their desk in a warehouse or laundry without air conditioning.
Dozens of safety inspector positions in California are vacant while workplace fatalities and injuries in the state are on the rise. Cal/OSHA has had an average of 34 vacant field enforcement positions a month since July 2015, which means that more than $10 million in state-authorized funding was left unused.
Environmental justice and labor groups in California were relentless in their demand to make refineries safer. Their years of effort paid off with an announcement last week by the state of new refinery safety regulations.