In order to help you find topics that interest you, this week’s news articles are categorized under:
- Climate Change
- Disease and Medical
- Environmental Contaminants
- Earth Day
- Work Place Health and Safety
Climate change and human health studied (22 Apr 2010) UPI.com
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are now aware of what types of medical conditions climate change will bring. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program feels that “human beings are vulnerable in many ways to the health effects of climate change. The NIH report that “asthma, respiratory allergies and airway diseases, mental health and stress-related disorders, cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and stroke, waterborne and food-borne disease, nutrition, weather-related morbidity and mortality, vector-borne and zoonotic diseases and human developmental effects”. “The report is available at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/docs/climatereport2010.pdf and in a special supplemental issue of the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives”.
Read the article at: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2010/04/22/Climate-change-and-human-health-studied/UPI-74711271956325/. Cited 2010 Apr 23.
Eastman: Iceland proves humanity cannot cause global warming (22 Apr 2010) San Diego News Network
By L. Eastman
As an environmental health and safety professional, Ms Eastman gives us an interesting view about volcanoes and their impact on climate change and human health. Citing the Eyjafjallajokull volcano she draws a parallel with the 1783 Laki eruption (also in Iceland) during which “thousands of Europeans fell ill or succumbed to the effects of SO2 exposure”. Because of the cooling effect of the Laki eruption (or Lakagígar) “civil unrest that arose as a result of the climate-induced crop failures led, in part, to the French Revolution”. She concludes by saying “Iceland’s eruption has already had an enormous impact on air travel and the global economy. Though current reports seem to indicate that current emission levels should have no global climate impact, I will continue to monitor the situation with much interest”
Read the article at: http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2010-04-22/blog/a-more-perfect-union/eastman-iceland-proves-humanity-cannot-cause-global-warming. Cited 2010 Apr 23.
Study warns of climate health threats (21 Apr 2010) Associated Press
By R. Schmid
“WASHINGTON — Climate change poses a growing threat to health, from heart disease to heatstroke and from illness carried by water to bug-borne sickness.
A group of federal agencies issued a report on the threat Wednesday, looking at what areas need to be studied.
“To mitigate and adapt to the health effects of climate change, we must first understand them. This report is a vital new roadmap for doing that,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “There is an urgent need to get started….”
Read the article at : http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gd4xBpvGREPTYCTKGiII30DhNsPQD9F7MSA01. Cited 2010 Apr 22.
Are public health students guilty of “fatism”? (16 Apr 2010) Observations, Scientific American
By C. Harmon
In the US, two thirds of the adult population is considered overweight “and about a third of the population is classified as obese”. “In the past decade, public prejudice against obese people has increased by about two thirds”. Rebecca Puhl, of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and a coauthor of a study which was published online in Obesity April 15 (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group)”. “In a survey of 159 public health and health promotion students in Australia, the group showed a “strong implicit” prejudice against overweight people”.”Kerry O’Brien, of the University of Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences and lead author of the study, said in a prepared statement” — “were surprised by how few efforts to reduce obesity prejudice or weight stigma had been made, particularly within health professionals who are tasked with treating overweight or obese patients”. “Obese people are constantly fighting their physiology and the environment. If professionals keep this in mind it may help in not stigmatizing their clients,” O’Brien noted”.
Read the article at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=are-public-health-students-guilty-o-2010-04-16. Cited 2010 Apr19.
It’s still around … (18 Apr 2010) Health, The Star online
By L.T. Ling
“A Year ago, Mexico sneezed and the rest of the world caught the flu”. Now we know that 17,700 confirmed deaths were caused by A(H1N1). “Are all those public bottles of hand sanitiser still there? Are malls still checking their staff for fever? Could it be we got so good at stymieing the flu that we think we’re no longer under threat?” Dr Christopher Lee, a infectious disease expert, points out that “pockets of infection remain around the world”, but in Malaysia, A(H1N1) will remain for some time”. What has changed since 27 Apr. 2009 is that “we have a lot more information and data. We have a vaccine. We have a lot more certainty”. “From nine infection clusters in five states and 549 warded cases (as of April 16), what we need to do now is reinforce the things we need to do. Especially since we know how and have the tools”. “Wash your hands frequently, properly. Practice cough and sneeze etiquette.When out and about, avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with your hands. Regularly disinfect common surfaces. Dr Lee advises Malaysians to use common sense, be on the look out for flu symptoms, if sick stay away from others and see a doctor.
Read the article at : http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?file=/2010/4/18/health/6073259&sec=health. Cited 2010 Apr 19.
Cell phone health study to follow 250,000-plus users (22 Apr 2010) CNET News
By E.A. Moore
Thursday 22 April 2010 saw the launch of a new decade-long large study of the cell phone and it possible link to cancer and Alzheimer’s. Mireille Toledano, co-principal investigator of the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London feels that “it is important for us to carry out long-term health monitoring of a large group of mobile phone users so that we can identify if there are any possible health effects from this new and widespread technology that has become so central to our everyday lives”. The study will follow at least 250,000 people aged 18 to 69 from five European countries for 20 to 30 years. Children will not be included in this study. The participants can complete an “online questionnaires about their mobile phone use, health, and lifestyle and agree to have their phone use and health monitored for at least 20 years”.
Read the article at : http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20003209-247.html. Cited 2010 Apr 23.
Clue to Rapidly Progressing Alzheimer’s Disease? (21 Apr 2010) Cherokeean Herald
The rise in the incidents of Alzheimer’s disease has become a public health concern. Michele Ries, a neuropsychologist and researcher at the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center did a study (published by the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society) “where people with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairmen) were compared to a group of healthy older adults“. The results indicated that people with more awareness of their mental condition had more brain’s cortical midline area activity than adults who were not aware, a condition now called Anosognosia. “Ries says health providers should be educated about the potential Alzheimer’s disease connection to anosognosia and the safety concerns over those who are not aware of progressing impairment“.
Read the article at: http://www.thecherokeean.com/news/2010-04-21/Health/. Cited 2010 Apr 22.
OB/GYN offices may offer ideal venue for improving vaccine rates among women (20 Apr 2010) EurekaAlert
By D. Geiger
“Obstetrician/gynecologist offices may be the ideal venue for boosting vaccination rates among women, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center. They reported today on a successful pilot program focused on providing HPV (human papillomavirus) and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccines to non-pregnant and post-partum women.
The researchers say the program, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, could be a model for ob/gyn clinics across the country to increase much-needed immunizations among eligible adults…”
Read the alert at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-04/dumc-oom041910.php. Cited 2010 Apr21.
The Man Who Would Prevent Autism (20 Apr 2010) Thedailygreen
By Dan Shapely
“One in every 110 American children today is diagnosed with autism, and the first diagnosis often comes in the first few years of life.
Within that same span of time – just a few short years – Dr. Philip Landrigan may have deciphered the code for the cause of autism – written in genetics and exposures to chemicals in the environment. Dr. Landrigan, the director of Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, is leading a landmark effort to understand chronic childhood diseases – not just autism, but asthma, obesity, attention deficit disorder and other illnesses that have for years beguiled doctors as they afflict more and more children. The National Children’s Study has recently begun to sign up patients, and researchers will ultimately follow 100,000 American children from their mother’s wombs until they reach the age of 20.
“The study is not just out there on a fishing expedition. It’s guided by a set of specific hypotheses that are looking at specific diseases,” Dr. Landrigan told The Daily Green. “We anticipate that we’ll get information on different diseases at different points in time. Within a few years, after we have a sufficient number of babies in the study, we’re going to be able to talk about connections between prenatal exposures and prematurity, pregnancy problems and low birth weight. A few years after that, we’ll have data on learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, autism and asthma…..”
Read the article at: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/dr-philip-landrigan-0420. Cited 2010 Apr 21.
Shorter women have unhealthier kids in developing countries, study says (20 Apr 2010) Los Angeles Times
By T. Maugh
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn of women in 54 poor countries concluded that “malnutrition and other adverse effects suffered during her childhood can adversely affect the health of her children. The shortest women were substantially more likely to have children who died at an early age, who were underweight or who failed to thrive”. Lead author, Dr. S.V. Subramanian of the Harvard School of Public Health felt that “Height is a useful and stable marker of cumulative health”. “Subramanian and his colleagues analyzed health surveys from 54 countries that included more than 2.6 million children and more than 750,000 mothers. Overall, they found that 11.7% of the children died before the age of 5. Children born to the shortest mothers — those shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches — were 40% more likely to die than those born to the tallest mothers, the team found. Overall, about one in 14 of those born to the tallest mothers died, compared to one in seven of those born to the shortest mothers. The children who survived were also more likely themselves to be underweight and short”.”The mother’s height was twice as important as her lack of education in determining whether the child would be underweight and 50% more important than her poor income”.”To break the cycle of poor health in children, the team said, it is vital to provide better nutrition for young children so that they can grow up to be healthy and produce healthy children of their own”
Read the article at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/04/shorter-women-have-unhealthier-kids-in-developing-countries-study-says.html. Cited 2010 Apr 21.
SFU professor, WHO warn of health risk from volcanic ash (16-Apr-2010), Vancouverite.
By Carol Forsloff
“BURNABY, B.C. – A top SFU professor of environmental health says the Icelandic volcano ash that has disrupted air travel poses a significant risk for people already suffering from respiratory ailments.
SFU health scientist Professor Ryan Allen joined other top experts from the U.N. and the CDC in warning that there could be a health hazard from the ash that has blanketed areas of Europe and made flying dangerous for aircraft.
“Pollutants reaching ground level are the most serious concern,” said Allen in an interview….”
Low health risk from volcano ash, experts say (16 Apr 2010) CNN World
By M. Gray
Britain’s Health Protection Agency feels that there will be no serious adverse health effect from the ash particles reaching the ground. The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network stated that “in most eruptions, volcanic ash causes very few health problems and there is “almost no risk to people from this particular ash eruption”. Short-term minor symptoms will be itchy or irritated eyes, a runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, or they may notice the smell of sulphur or see a dusty haze… Eyes can become painful, itchy, or bloodshot or produce a sticky discharge, and gritty pieces can scratch the cornea, causing abrasions or a non-contagious form of pinkeye. Skin irritation is less common, but if the ash is acidic, skin could redden and become irritated” . People who already have “pre-existing respiratory problems could experience bronchitis or asthma-type symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath because fine ash particles can irritate airways, causing them to compress, or they can cause the lining to make more secretions inducing coughing and heavy breathing. People with chronic illness such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or heart disease are at greatest risk. The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network says long-term exposure to fine volcanic ash can lead to even more serious lung disease. Ash on the ground is a problem in the immediate vicinity of the volcano in Iceland, where authorities are warning people to use masks and protective goggles when outside. Those with respiratory problems should remain inside, Icelandic civil emergency authorities said Friday“.
Read more at : http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/04/16/europe.volcano.health/?hpt=Sbin. Cited 2010 Apr 19.
Hawaii’s lessons for Iceland of volcanic dangers, threats (20 Apr 2010) Digital Journal
By C. Forsloff
“Scientists declare they don’t know how long Iceland’s volcanoes will continue to erupt”, but Gwen Keliihoomalu, rehabilitation counselor with more than 35 years of experience counseling persons with disabilities and a resident of Big Island of Hawaii knows all too well the actual impact of volcanic activity on people’s heath and the environment. She agrees that it “certainly affects people with asthma; but it is also increasing allergies on the island”. More “Caesarean sections are performed because of higher concentrations of SO2 levels”. The acid rain that fall is corrosive and is responsible the failure of food crops. She has noticed a general increase amount of sickness amongst the population and complaints of headaches and fatigue have also incresed. “In the meantime last night the British National Air Traffic Service reported that the eruption of the volcano in Iceland has strengthened. One journalist has reported how the reduction of flights has impacted Kenya where farmers are unable to ship their produce, which is costing millions of dollars daily”.
Read the article at: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/290879. Cited 2010 Apr 21.
(How) Are Birds Affected by Volcanic Ash? (20 Apr 2010) Living the Scientific Life
Originally posted on: April 20, 2010 12:15 PM, by “GrrlScientist”
Volcanic ash “contains particles of pulverized rock — primarily basalt, which is comprised of silicates — that can be as fine as talcum powder. Researchers have found that the Eyjafjallajökull ash plume is composed of 57-58% silicon dioxide by weight — fine glassy ash”. Daniel Epstein, spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) tell us “that once inhaled, volcanic ash “can reach the peripheral regions of … the lungs and can cause problems — especially for people with asthma or respiratory problems”. “Avian lungs have twice as much tissue devoted to gas exchange. Further, avian tissues are thinner than mammalian tissues, thus allowing birds to take up twice as much gas as mammals under the same circumstances”. “Migratory birds fly at altitudes of 7,000 meters or less where the volcanic ash is drifting around”. “There is evidence that wild migratory birds are suffering and possibly dying due to the effects of volcanic ash clouds”.
Read the article and watch the videos at: http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/04/how_are_birds_affected_by_volc.php. Cited 2010 Apr 21.
Interior Moving to Curb Coal Mining Pollution, Require Mountaintop Restoration (19 Apr 2010) The New York Times
By P. Reis
Christopher Holmes, spokesman for Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is looking at rewritting regulations to boost environmental safeguards. New proposal will see “clear standards for restoring dynamited mountaintops”, remove exceptions to the contour-restoration requirement, include in the new regulation “material damage” to watersheds beyond permitting areas, require companies applying for mining permits to collect more information on the environmental health of watersheds where they intend to work and to monitor conditions during and after mining and a better definition for seasonal streams and temporary streams”. This changes will apply to only new mining applications. At the moment, “about 1,200 miles of headwater streams have been buried, according to U.S. EPA” and the agency has issued new water-quality guidelines that would stop valley fill, “in nearly all cases”. “Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association. “They seem to be tipping the balance in favor of environmental protection.” Ed Hopkins Sierra Club’s director of environmental quality had some concerns about the potential removal of a stream-buffer requirement”.”
Read the article at: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/04/19/19greenwire-interior-moving-to-curb-coal-mining-pollution-60221.html. Cited 2010 Apr 20.
NJ Senator Introduces Historic Safe Chemicals Legislation (19 Apr 2010) Opposing Views
By Environmental Working Group
“Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Environmental Health, introduced legislation to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976″. “American babies are born pre-polluted, their bodies laced with as many as 300 industrial compounds, pollutants, plastics, pesticides and other substances that threaten public health”. “The bill would also peel away the shroud of secrecy that allows only industry and select EPA employees to see “confidential” data on chemicals”. “Chemical manufacturers will have to prove the safety of their products to stay on the market”. “The bill would also give the EPA the authority to make it stick; if a company declines to produce even a single study the agency wants, the EPA administrator could stop production and use of the chemical “. “The Safe Chemicals Act would also require EPA to produce a priority list of 300 existing chemicals for regulatory review and would establish an interagency panel to decide which chemicals go on that list”. “President Obama, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, key members of both houses of Congress, the environmental and health communities, countless citizens and the chemical industry itself agree that a new national policy must be crafted to fit the complex realities of the 21st century”.
Read more at: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/nj-senator-introduces-historic-safe-chemicals-legislation. Cited 2010 Apr 20.
Environmental racism case against U.S. declared admissible by Inter-American Commission (19 Apr 2010) IntLawGrrls
Originally posted by: Stephanie Farrior
“An environmental human rights case brought against the United States has been declared admissible by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Toxic contaminants spewed by fourteen industrial facilities in and around Mossville, Louisiana, have been polluting the air, water and land there for years. The residents of this poor, mostly African-American community suffer health problems that are known to be caused by the types of chemicals those facilities produce, including cancer and damage to cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory and immune systems. And they suffer from them at higher than average levels. Just one example: Dioxin levels in their blood are three times higher than the national average….
After trying to achieve change through state and federal authorities and through the companies themselves, the residents of Mossville turned to international human rights bodies. In 1999, a member of the Mossville community spoke at the UN Commission on Human Rights about what it was like to live in such environmental degradation….”
Read the article at : http://intlawgrrls.blogspot.com/2010/04/environmental-racism-case-against-us.html. Cited 2010 Apr 20.
Earth Day, 40 years later: Environment redefined (17 Apr 2010) Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, JSOnline
By G. Mitman
On April 22, 1970, “twenty million Americans came together in small towns and major cities”. This was the first Earth Day. “Forty years later, coalitions of citizens – concerned about climate change, food security, health, energy supplies and clean water – still work to address local and global environmental challenges”. “U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Earth Day’s founder, hoped in 1970 for “Any national policy on the environment that is worth its name,” Nelson argued the week before Earth Day, “must mean attacking the problem of our cities and the poor as much as it means providing national parks and scenic rivers.”. “Our goal (is an) environment without ugliness, without ghettos, without poverty, without discrimination, without hunger and without war. Our goal is a decent environment in its broadest and deepest sense.” Growing Power, headed by MacArthur Fellow Will Allen for example, uses abandoned urban lots and converts them into “gardens [to] provide fresh, healthful, affordable food for people in surrounding communities”. “Across Wisconsin, the United States and the globe, similar community-based experiments seek solutions to poverty and unemployment in ways that also address climate change, health disparities, hunger and energy needs. These efforts affirm Nelson’s message that economic renewal depends on restoring the environment in which we live, work and play”.
Read the article at: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/91087909.html. Cited 2010 Apr 19.
Engage: After 40 years of Earth Day, what has been accomplished? (18 Apr 2010) Burlington FreePress.com.
By G. Plumb
In 1970, pollution problems were largely local “and could be dealt with through environmental regulation such as Act 250 and building sewage-treatment plants”. Now in 2010, “the health of Vermont environment has become worse”.”There are three different environmental reports that show a wide variety of data. The most comprehensive is the “Disappearing Vermont?” report published by Vermonters for Sustainable Population. It lists 31 indicators of environmental health, including both objective and quantifiable data and subjective and nonquantifiable measures. Of the 31 indicators, 23 show a decline, two are about the same, and only six have improved, and those only slightly. The other comprehensive reports were published by the Council on the Future of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation and show similar results”.
“Globally the environmental situation is even worse. Global warming, dead seas, clearing of rain forests, collapsing fisheries and loss of biodiversity were not a problem in 1970. Now the Data Center of the Earth Policy Institute documents the many ways the global environment is deteriorating.” In Vermont, the population growth was at the top of the agenda on 22 Apr 1970. Today, it appears that overpopulation is the first item on UVM Earth Day lists. Acre for acre, developed land causes more pollution than agricultural land. And it is more than the environment that is being polluted. Research by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group shows that all Vermont human bodies now have toxic chemicals in them. The author continues by saying that “with the combination of our increasing environmental problems, food and water shortages already happening, rising awareness of peak oil and our failing economy, people are beginning to realize unsustainable population growth is behind much of this. The human species has exceeded its carrying capacity. We can use this opportunity to begin to reconsider and take action on the cause of our problems and stop the imaginary thinking that only dealing with symptoms is the answer”.
Read the article at: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100418/LIVING09/100416017/Engage-After-40-years-of-Earth-Day-what-has-been-accomplished. Cited 2010 Apr. 19.
New tech sniffs out foul chicken (18 Apr 2010) Gizmag (On-line)
By Gizmag Team
A new technology developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is emerging.”Tom Bruno and Tara Lovestead looks at difficult to detect trace amounts of low volatility compounds that are present early in the decay process. This is achieved by sampling the air above a test sample using a method known as cryoadsorption. A short alumina-coated tube cooled to very low temperatures absorbs any of six potential chemical markers that have been identified by the researchers, providing a method that is both non-invasive and flexible, so it can be used at any point in the supply chain”.
Available: http://www.gizmag.com/nist-detect-spolied-chicken/14836/. Cited 2010 Apr 19.
Mismanaged aid for HIV/AIDS (19 Apr 2010) The Depaulia
By K. Vernoski
DePaul University Research Fellow Elizabeth Pisani presented a talk on April 14 entitled Public Health Prostitution: Has AIDS Made Whores of Us All? which discusses “the relationship between public health funding and the HIV/AIDS epidemic“. She expressed her concerns over the misallocation of fundings to research — “Funding for AIDS research and treatment have been placed in areas of highly concentrated AIDS populations such as Africa and Southeast Asia, giving an identity of poverty and race with the disease“. “The groups that are most in need of HIV prevention and care services are groups that most people despise and don’t want to spend money on, such as drug users and sex workers“. Pisani feels that the AIDS funding “needs to expand to the treatment and containment of AIDS“. “If you don’t want to deal with sex and drug injection, you shouldn’t be in HIV prevention“.
Read the article at : http://media.www.depauliaonline.com/media/storage/paper1414/news/2010/04/19/News/Mismanaged.Aid.For.Hivaids-3908517.shtml. Cited 2010 Apr.20.
African public health project treating AIDS (21 Apr 2010) Lumen.
By S. Lieser
In 2004, in Botswana Africa the population life expectancy was 38 year old due to the high prevalence of AIDS . By 2008, the life expectancy rose to 54. This change is thanks to Robert Murphy, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Chicago and director of Global Health and his work with President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It “is a $15 billion initiative that has helped diagnose HIV/AIDS patients, and distribute antiretroviral (ARV) therapy treatments. Still the battle is not won“. “The amount of HIV infections being diagnosed still outpaces those taking ARV’s 2.5 to one,” Murphy said. Murphy’s part in PEPFAR includes working with 100,000 HIV/AIDS adult patients and 5,000 children in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Botswana. “If treatment with ARV is started early enough in the diagnosis of the disease, the disease should be undetectable on the CD4 and viral load test after six months on the drug. The next steps in improving the HIV/AIDS health initiative in Africa with PEPFAR include building more hospitals in developing countries and urging countries to begin funding their own health programs. Finally, Murphy hopes that a HIV/AIDS preventive vaccine may be possible 10 to 20 years.
Read the article at: http://www.viterbolumen.com/campus-life/african-public-health-project-treating-aids-1.1377209. Cited 2010 Apr 23.
India: Greater access to cell phones than toilets in India: UN (14-Apr-2010) via EurekAlert
Contact: Terry Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Far more people in India have access to a cell phone than to a toilet and improved sanitation, according to UN experts who published today a 9-point prescription for achieving the world’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation by 2015.
They also urge the world community to set a new target beyond the MDG (which calls for a 50 percent improvement in access to adequate sanitation by 2015) to the achievement of 100 percent coverage by 2025.
Recent UN research in India, the world’s second most populous country, shows roughly 366 million people (31 percent of the population) had access to improved sanitation in 2008.
Other data, meanwhile, shows 545 million cell phones are now connected to service in India’s emerging economy. The number of cell phones per 100 people has exploded from 0.35 in year 2000-01 to about 45 today….”
Read the article at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-04/unu-gat040910.php
Nigeria: Health Officers Blame Govt, Quacks For Rise in Diseases (16 Apr 2010) Daily Champion
By K. Ofoma
Environmental health officers in Nigeria are very concerned with the resurgence of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, lassa fever and malaria. This, they claim, is caused by “the succeeding federal, state and local governments in Nigeria over the years”. “The Chairman of Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) and the Emir of Ningi, HRH Alhaji Yunusa Muhammadu Danyaya raised the alarm”. This situation is the results of many states and local governments placing an embargo on environmental health officers and using unqualified personnel to do the job. This results in “practices of intimidation, extortion of money and embarrassment of the government and the general public”. “The council therefore called on the three tiers of government to lift the embargo on employment and massively employ, train and empower more sanitary officers to enable them contribute to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.”According to the Chairman, the Council has commenced environmental health standards enforcement in the areas of cleaning services, waste collection, sewage disposal, pest control services, even as he called on government agencies and the private sector not to patronize none registered practitioners as doing so will be aiding and promoting illegality”.
Read the article at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201004190815.html. Cited 2010 Apr 20.
Tel Aviv Israel: Water, fair and foul (21 Apr 2010) EurekAlert
By G. Hunka
“Does your drinking water smell foul, or are you worried that chemicals might be damaging your family’s health? Water treatment facilities currently use chlorine that produces carcinogenic by-products to keep your tapwater clean, but Tel Aviv University scientists have determined that ultra-violet (UV) light might be a better solution.
Dr. Hadas Mamane of Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Science and Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Eliora Ron of TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and their doctoral student Anat Lakretz of TAU’s School of Mechanical Engineering have recently determined the optimal UV wavelength for keeping water clean of microorganisms. Their approach could be used by water treatment plants as well as large-scale desalination facilities to destroy health-threatening microorganisms and make these facilities more efficient…”
Read the alert at : http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-04/afot-wfa042110.php. Cited 2010 Apr 22.
Saskatchewan, Canada: Workers call for increased enforcement of safety violations at potash mines (23 Apr 2010) Leader-Post
By A. Hall
Gord Bedient, spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Potash Council, which represents potash workers in various unions, is concernes over the lax action from the government to tighten occupational health and safety practices. He feels that inspectors do not have any backing and “they do their routine work around the site, and then it’s write a little piece of paper, hand it over and that’s just about the end of it.” Saskatchewan Labour Minister Rob Norris does not agree. “The government puts a “great priority” on occupational health and safety, and pointed to an increase in the number of notices of contravention in the mining industry compared to what was issued under the previous government“. “But Norris acknowledged more work needs to be done, saying the only acceptable number when it comes to workplace injuries or fatalities is zero“. “Sylvia Tkach, the widow of Robert Tkach, who was killed at a Lanigan mine in 2008 after the jeep he was driving went over an unmarked ledge, resulting in him being thrown from the vehicle and pinned underneath“. She stated that it is no good to react after the fact. “Wouldn’t it be better to put seat belts in the jeeps before my husband was killed, rather than to wait until he’s dead and now we’ll put seat belts in“. Now studying occupational health and safety, she wants “to understand how the system failed” her husband.
Read the article at: http://www.leaderpost.com/health/Workers+call+increased+enforcement+safety+violations+potash+mines/2940415/story.html. Cited 2010 Apr 23.
Canada: Workplace Law,Vague rules only invite complaints (21-Apr-2010) Financial Post
By H. Levitt
“Ontario employers, like those in Quebec and Saskatchewan, and soon federally, will be obliged to provide employees with a workplace free of harassment“. Mr Levitt tell us that the new legislation has a vague definition that “invites complaints and creates confusion” and that “Harassment protection under health and safety laws is unnecessarily duplicative“. He asks “But what are the parameters of that obligation (to investigate)? At what point will comments or conduct constitute harassment, triggering an obligation to investigate and dole out consequences?“. He gives two examples where an employee did not complain and another did. “Mundane workplace discord or collegial ribaldry” will require a higher demand on human resources budgets. Mr Levitt ends his article with a list employers should follow.
Read the article at: http://www.financialpost.com/careers/story.html?id=2931808. Cited 2010 Apr 22.
Alberta health and safety agency under scrutiny (20 Apr 2010) Daily Commercial News
The Alberta Department of Occupational Health and Safety is accused of being lax on safety enforcement. The department, for no apparent reason, has suspended compliance orders filed against dozens of companies with very bad safety records. Auditors discovered during their investigation that compliance orders were suspended by the department to make for more interesting statistics. Alberta has the highest workers death in Canada and Liberal Opposition Leader David Swann accused Premier Ed Stelmach’s Tory government of failing ” to act in the public interest“. But Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, who took over the portfolio in January, says he’s already taking action; “I will not be hesitant in using any and all enforcement tools that the current legislature allows in cases where employers choose to be non-compliant.”
Read the article at: http://dcnonl.com/article/id38497. Cited 2010 Apr 21.
Australia: Senator, Nick Xenophon, provides a good example of how personal ideals cross social boundaries and professional (22 Apr 2010) SafetyAtWorkBlog
By K. Jones
This is an interesting blog because it discusses a change in occupational health and safety laws that includes a new belief that “public safety and workplace safety illustrates the interconnection that an ethical stance can bring social issues that are governed under different laws and expectations”. “The new model Work Health & Safety Act…will provide a major shift from bricks and mortar to people and the tasks they undertake”. “This legislation has the potential to increase the pressure for the prevention of injury and illness by meshing the (often competing) “disciplines” of public safety, public health, health promotion and occupational health and safety”.”Once the major associations and bodies in these sectors realise the potential impact of the replacement of occupational law with the more broadly applicable Work Health and Safety Act, there is going to be disputes over turf, confusion over strategies and, probably, a rationalisation of the organisations”.
Read more at: http://safetyatworkblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/how-revolutionary-could-the-work-health-and-safety-act-be/. Cited 2010 Apr 22.