August 1, 2007 The Pump Handle 1Comment

Two new studies highlight concerns about what some workers are inhaling on the job. An international study published in the Lancet (free registration required to view summary) found that occupational exposures account for a substantial portion of adults’ new-onset asthma, and that nurses have a significant excess risk of asthma. An Australian study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that several common models of office laser printers release amounts of ultra-fine particle pollution comparable to those from secondhand tobacco smoke.

In other news related to what workers inhale, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved a bill banning the importation and use of asbestos, and farmworker advocates are suing EPA over its reauthorization of the insecticide chlorpyrifos – a decision that the lawsuit claims was made without sufficient understanding of its effects on agricultural workers who apply the chemical.

In other news:

Columbia Journalism Review (via SourceWatch): Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj was detained while crossing into Afghanistan with fellow journalists; he has now been imprisoned in Guantanamo for five years, although an investigation turned up little evidence to justify his detention. 

Occupational Hazards: Outgoing Chemical Safety Board Chair Carolyn Merritt, in an exclusive interview, shares her thoughts on the agency’s growth and on the resources and authority it needs to grow further. 

LA Times: An OSHA report faults the U.S. Forest Service for failing to follow safety protocols before five federal firefighters died fighting a blaze near Palm Springs in October.

Food Navigator USA (via Effect Measure): After an OSHA investigation found dangerous working conditions at the Tyson Foods poultry processing plant in Noel, Missouri, the company faces fines of up to $339,500 for “serious, willful, and repeat” health and safety violations.

Houston Chronicle (ope-ed): The concentration of petrochemical facilities in the Houston region makes it especially important that this community be able to expect certain basic things from corporations operating there.

New York Times: In the first case of its kind to go to trial under the Alien Tort Statute, a federal jury found the coal company Drummond not liable for the 2001 murders of three union leaders at its mine near La Loma, Colombia.

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