Health

Senate Panel: Health and Safety Regs Vanish in Black Hole of OMB

For a decade now, the WatchDog has been telling the story of how the Office of Management and Budget sandbags public health regs, at the behest of business groups who stand to profit, by short-circuiting open legal procedures meant to ensure government integrity. The next chapter was told October 25, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action.

FDA Confirms All Routine Food Safety Inspections Stopped in Shutdown

"The Food and Drug Administration has been forced to suspend all routine food safety inspections for the duration of the government shutdown, FDA spokesman Steven Immergut confirmed to The Huffington Post on Friday afternoon. Until funding is restored, the FDA will be inspecting only those facilities that it has cause to believe 'present an immediate threat to public health.'"

Source: Huffington Post, 10/14/2013

Lead Wars

Book Shelf

 

Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America ’s Children

By Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner
University of California Press, $34.95

Reviewed by BILL KOVARIK

Metallic lead is, historically, humanity’s oldest known poison, and yet Americans are still trying to deal with its pernicious effects on public health, especially on the most susceptible low income and racial minorities.

Drillers Buy Silence on Health, Property Impacts of Fracking

One reason proof of harm is hard to find is that drillers pay people to keep quiet. Now the unsealing of a once-confidential settlement in Pennsylvania gives a clear view of how the silencing works. The 17-page, two-year-old settlement agreement includes a $750,000 payment to a family critical of fracking, saying they became sick, as well as a gag order that applies to their 7- and 10-year-old children for the rest of their lives.

Chemical Safety: Right-To-Know? No — Not Exactly

The system for informing Americans about the threats to their health and safety posed by chemical plants is seriously broken, a Reuters investigation revealed August 10, 2013. Facilities often misidentify chemicals or their location, or fail to report the existence of the substances. But there are tools to help reporters.

NIOSH Withholding Locations Where Fracking Sand Threatens Workers

Studies by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health show silica used in hydraulic fracturing of tight oil and gas formations can endanger workers. But a FOIA request seeking to know the sites where workers had been endangered has met with no response, independent journalist and SEJ member Elizabeth Grossman reports. 

June 26, 2013

Covering Population and the Environment

As the planet grows more crowded, the connections between environment, health and human rights grow more complex every day. Ahead of World Population Day (July 11), a diverse group of speakers will illustrate how those connections affect the real world – and how those connections can provide a broader context for your own coverage in this one-hour webinar. Free registration required.

Judge Rejects Industry Suit To Omit Styrenes from Carcinogens Report

Styrene (used to make plastic packaging) was listed in June 2011 as "reasonably anticipated" to be cancer-causing in the biennial federal Report on Carcinogens. Industry not only challenged, but also mounted a political campaign, persuading a powerful House Appropriations subcommittee chairman to withhold spending for the report until NTP reconsidered the styrene listing.

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