January 15, 2007 The Pump Handle 3Comment

By David Michaels The outbreak of severe lung disease caused by exposure to diacetyl, the chemical that makes food taste like artificial butter flavor, is growing. According to the California Department of Health Services, there are now eight known cases of severe obstructive lung disease among workers exposed to diacetyl, with three more reported cases […]

January 12, 2007 The Pump Handle 11Comment

Thanks to those of you who have responded so far to the draft paper, “Getting Home Safe and Sound? OSHA at Thirty Five,” which was posted here several days ago.  Many people have agreed with the need for this dialogue and indicated the intent to contribute to it.  Comments so far have supported the need […]

January 9, 2007 The Pump Handle 26Comment

By Michael Silverstein Thirty-five years after the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the promise of worker protection remains substantially unfulfilled. Over the past several months, I have been traveling across the country and talking with people experienced in worker health and safety to gather ideas about what we can do to protect […]

January 3, 2007 The Pump Handle

by Dick Clapp  The latest issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine contains a commentary from Ken Mundt, a consultant with ENVIRON International Corporation, on “Cancer incidence among semiconductor and electronic storage device workers,” an IBM-funded study by Bender et al appearing in the same issue. Mundt says that “the study offers some reassurance that at this […]

December 22, 2006 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels In July, two unions, backed by a group of scientists, petitioned both federal OSHA and California OSHA to issue rules to protect workers from diacetyl, the chemical implicated in dozens of cases of lung disease in the food industry (See our earlier post “Artificial Butter Flavor is (Still) Killing Workers”). Federal OSHA […]

December 20, 2006 The Pump Handle

Thousands of hotel workers in Boston are awaiting the results of contract negotiations between Unite Here! Local 26 and the city’s major hotel operators.  Although their current contract expired on November 30, both sides agreed to extend it until February 1, 2007 while they continue to meet at the bargaining table.  Unite Here! Local 26 represents […]

December 15, 2006 The Pump Handle 3Comment

Earlier this week, the Bush Administration released its semi-annual regulatory plan (71 Federal Register 72725, Dec 11, 2006).  The 473-page document describes the President’s regulatory priorities, with the “aim of implementing an effective and results-oriented regulatory system.”  The document, prepared by the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), […]

December 8, 2006 The Pump Handle 1Comment

Health and environmental bloggers have covered a wide array of topics this week. Some highlights: Steve at Omni Brain (don’t click the link while eating) displays graphic warnings from Belgian and Thai cigarette packs Merrill Goozner at GoonzNews posts an excerpt from his just-published article (cover story of The Scientist, for those with subscriptions) on […]

December 7, 2006 The Pump Handle

Earlier this year, President Bush nominated Susan E. Dudley of the Mercatus Center to replace John Graham, PhD, as the head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The office oversees all of the Administration’s regulatory policies, including public health and environmental rules, and is often the last major hurdle faced by agencies like […]

December 6, 2006 The Pump Handle

By David Michaels In my post Monday, I wrote that breathing diacetyl, the chemical in artificial butter flavor, is killing and crippling workers around the country. It is now more than six years since the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was first notified that workers in a popcorn plant in Missouri had developed […]