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NIOSH eNews – February 2014


Volume 11 Number 10 February 2014

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH

Keeping Your Heart Healthy On Valentine’s Day and Everyday

Thanks to Valentine’s Day advertising, images of hearts are everywhere in early February. Beyond their romantic implications, these visual cues remind us how important it is to have a healthy cardiovascular system. Although coro­­nary heart disease and stroke are believed to be largely preventable, they are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States [Go et al. 2013]. More than half of those with cardiovascular disease (CVD) (53%) are less than 60 years old, and circulatory diseases are a leading cause of death and permanent disability among workers [Cooper et al. 2000; Leigh and Miller 1998]. Substantial National efforts are underway to improve our efforts toward CVD prevention. Among the efforts is Million Hearts®, which is an initiative bringing together co­­mmunities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke ( Heart disease is also a major topic within Healthy People 2020 (, the federal government’s prevention agenda for building a healthier nation.

While a few specific toxins encountered occupationally are known to affect the heart, much remains to be learned about the contribution of occupational risk factors to CVD. NIOSH researchers are investigating a wide variety of occupational factors potentially related to CVD. Here are some of NIOSH’s current areas of study, addressing a range of populations, risk factors, and challenging research questions:

  • In several epidemiologic studies underway at NIOSH, researchers have partnered with extramural CVD research groups to pursue research questions that will enhance our knowledge concerning the role of occupational exposures in CVD. The REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) project, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a large prospective study focused on identifying determinants of racial and geographic differences in stroke, heart disease, and cognitive decline among a national sample of over 30,000 Caucasian and African American men and women aged 45 and older. The Jackson Heart Study (JHS), sponsored by NIH, is a population-based investigation of risk factors for CVD in 5,300 African American men and women in Jackson, Mississippi. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), also sponsored by NIH, is a community-based prospective cohort study of more than 6,800 men and women designed to investigate the development of CVD. Analyses by NIOSH researchers from these three projects, via a NIOSH-supported occupational supplement (REGARDS) or via analyses of previously collected data from an occupational perspective (JHS and MESA), seek to enhance our understanding of work-related determinants of CVD to inform how and where to direct prevention efforts.
  • NIOSH researchers have a unique and productive ongoing collaboration with colleagues at the University at Buffalo and the National Institute of Justice within the U.S. Department of Justice to study the effects of policing and stress on adverse metabolic and early stage (subclinical) cardiovascular outcomes. The ultimate goal is research leading to prevention of these and other stress-related disorders. To date, over 400 police officers have participated in this study, the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress Study, and a follow-up examination is currently underway.
  • CVD is a major focus of the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program. Sudden cardiac death is the most common type of on-duty death for fire fighters. This NIOSH program investigates the on-duty cardiac deaths of individual fire fighters to (1) characterize the individual and occupational risk factors, (2) develop a database for use by internal and external researchers, (3) provide recommendations to fire departments regarding prevention programs, and (4) assist in the development of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) consensus standards for the fire service. The fatality reports are widely disseminated to stakeholders and in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. See /niosh/fire/ and /niosh/docs/2007-133/.
  • To help address research gaps and better understand the risks faced by truck drivers, NIOSH has undertaken a national survey of truck driver health and injury. Initial findings from the survey revealed that among the participating long-haul truck drivers 69 percent were found to be obese and 51 percent smoked, while 88 percent reported having a risk factor (e.g., hypertension, obesity, and smoking) for chronic disease including CVD.
  • The recent Surgeon General’s 50th anniversary report on tobacco use includes a summary of the damage smoking does to the heart and blood vessels. Millions of workers still smoke, and smoking is still permitted in many workplaces. NIOSH scientists are currently preparing a document summarizing the risks associated with smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace and highlighting preventive actions recommended for workplaces. Look for this NIOSH document later this year. In the interim, NIOSH’s current findings and recommendations to prevent exposures to tobacco smoke at work and encourage work-based smoking cessation programs can be found at /niosh/topics/tobacco/.
  • Using lab-based methods, NIOSH investigators are leaders in research to assess sub-clinical cardiovascular responses to a variety of occupational exposures. These sub-clinical responses include cellular effects, effects within tissues (such as small blood vessels), and also overall physiologic response (such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure). The work of these researchers is essential in furthering our knowledge of causes and mechanisms of occupational heart disease, with the aim of earlier detection and prevention before damage progresses.
  • The prevention of CVD can be addressed in the workplace with a Total Worker Health™ (TWH™) approach to integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being. A growing body of science supports TWH as an effective strategy. See /niosh/TWH/ for more information.
  • While the path between investigation of work-related illnesses and changes in practice can be long and indirect, NIOSH is committed to achieving reductions in workplace-attributable CVD through research and prevention. This Valentine’s Day, as Cupid hovers near, we welcome your partnership in helping to keep everyone’s heart healthy and strong.


  1. Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, Bravata DM, Dai SF, Ford ES, Fox CS, Franco S, Fullerton HJ, Gillespie C, Hailpern SM, Heit JA, Howard VJ, Huffman MD, Kissela BM, Kittner SJ, Lackland DT, Lichtman JH, Lisabeth LD, Magid D, Marcus GM, Marelli A, Matchar DB, McGuire DK, Mohler ER, Moy CS, Mussolino ME, Nichol G, Paynter NP, Schreiner PJ, Sorlie PD, Stein J, Turan TN, Virani SS, Wong ND, Woo D, Turner M [2013]. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 127:143–152.
  2. Cooper R, Cutler J, Desvigne-Nickens P, Fortmann SP, Friedman L, Havlik R, Hogelin G, Marler J, McGovern P, Morosco G, Mosca L, Pearson T, Stamler J, Stryer D, Thom T [2000]. Trends and disparities in coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases in the United States: findings from the National Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. Circulation 102:3137–3147.
  3. Leigh PJ, Miller TR [1998]. Job-related diseases and occupations within a large workers’ compensation data set. Am J Ind Med 33:197–211

Call for Abstracts Open Total Worker Health™ Symposium

The NIOSH Total Worker HealthTM Program is excited to announce that abstracts are now being accepted for the 1st International Symposium to Advance TOTAL WORKER HEALTH™, which will take place October 6–8, 2014, at the Natcher Conference Center on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The deadline for abstract submission is March 24, 2014. For more information go to

NIOSH Seeks Director of Health Effects Laboratory Division

NIOSH is currently seeking the position of director for the Health Effects Laboratory Division in Morgantown, West Virginia. This position includes many responsibilities including (but not limited to) assisting the NIOSH director in formulating policies and determining short- and long-range plans and administering a national and international laboratory program in the prevention and control of occupational disease. Learn more at


New Study Shows Long-haul Truck Drivers at Risk for Obesity

A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) finds that U.S. long-haul truck drivers were twice as likely to be obese compared to the adult working population, as well as more likely to smoke and suffer from other risk factors for chronic disease. The study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, is the first to provide a comprehensive look at the health status, risk factors, and work practices of long-haul truck drivers in the United States. Read more at /niosh/updates/upd-01-16-14.html.

New Document Focuses on Local Health Departments Working With the NIOSH HHE Program

Local health departments often are asked by the public, a local employer, or a local government official to look into a health problem in someone’s workplace. Some have the resources to do this, others do not. A new NIOSH brochure for local health departments describes the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program and how local health departments can use its services to help meet their public health mission. The brochure can be downloaded at /niosh/docs/2014-113/.

NIOSH Seeks Industrial Hygienist

NIOSH is currently seeking a masters/doctoral-level industrial hygienist to lead and collaborate on research projects arising from health hazard evaluation requests pertinent to occupational respiratory disease. Annual salary will be dependent on degree, peer-reviewed publications, and extent of professional or teaching experience. Salary ranges from $47,448 (GS-9) to $81,823 (GS-13), plus benefits. Please contact Steve Game at 304-285-6113 or for more information.

Report on Health Consequences of Smoking

On January 17, the Office of the Surgeon General released the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. This report highlights the half a century of progress in tobacco control and prevention that has taken place since the 1964 release of the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health. The report is available at

In Memoriam: Dr. Lynn Jenkins

NIOSH is saddened by the death of Dr. Lynn Jenkins, a senior advisor for program integration in the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). Prior to joining NCIPC, Dr. Jenkins worked for 20 years at NIOSH where she held a number of leadership and management positions, including 5 years as a senior scientist in the NIOSH Office of the Director and 5 years as the chief of the Analysis and Field Evaluations Branch within the Division of Safety Research. Her primary area of research while at NIOSH was workplace violence prevention. She played a leadership role in the development and implementation of NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda.

In The Press

Two NIOSH projects received local press coverage in Morgantown, West Virginia. Both were featured on WBOY TV news.

Total Worker Health™ Webinar

Join us on February 25, 3:30 to 5:00pm EST, as the Total Worker Health™ Program and the Center for Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace host an inaugural webinar with Dr. Laura Punnett and Dr. Ron Goetzel. This free webinar is the first of a series offering continuing education credits to health protection and health promotion professionals. For more information go to /niosh/TWH/webinar.html.

“The Right Stuff” Award

NIOSH staff recently announced “The Right Stuff” award to recognize people who help prevent fatalities in aviation in Alaska. Working with the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation, the award is available to pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, aircraft loaders, or passengers who display superior judgment in difficult situations. The goal of the award is to highlight positive outcomes and set an example for others. The first award recipient made a decision not to fly when the weather turned bad and ice covered their helicopter; the pilot and two passengers spent 2 days on top of a volcano before they were rescued. Read more at

NIOSH Invites Comments on Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Strategic Plan

NIOSH invites public comment on the draft Research and Guidance Strategic Plan 2014-2018 for the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. Fatality data show that across all industries, motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities, and are the first or second leading cause in every major industry sector. The Center is the focal point for research and prevention activities within the Institute to reduce work-related motor vehicle crashes and resulting injuries. Comments on the draft strategic plan must be received no later than March 8, 2014. The request for comments is available at:!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=cdc-2013-0024;dct=N%252BSR. For more information, contact Stephanie Pratt at


Monthly Features

NIOSH Congratulates

NIOSH eNews congratulates and thanks the following NIOSH employees on their retirement and many years of excellent service.

  • Sherry Baron, medical officer
  • Janet Ehlers, occupational health nurse
  • Millie Schafer, research chemist
  • Stanley Shulman, research mathematical statistician
  • Raymond Sinclair, management and program analyst
  • Sue Toles, secretary
  • Dave Utterback, health science administrator
  • Charles (Chuck) Urban, audiovisual production specialist


National Oil and Gas Safety Stand Down

The NORA Oil and Gas Extraction Council is well-integrated into the industry’s safety initiatives. Due to the high injury and fatality rates, OSHA requests companies to hold voluntary safety stand-downs each year. Last November, OSHA and the National Service, Transmission, Exploration & Production Safety Network sponsored a national webinar for safety and health professionals. It included three presenters from the NORA Council. Ryan Hill presented an analysis of the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data and Warren Hubler presented how to make the business case for safety. Elizabeth Lawhorn presented the premier of a video on respirable silica, which she produced. For more on the NORA Oil and Gas Extraction Council, go to /nora/councils/oilgas/. Some of the presentations are available at For more information, contact

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program Reports

Career Lieutenant and Fire Fighter Killed and Two Fire Fighters Injured by Wall Collapse at a Large Commercial Structure Fire—Pennsylvania

On April 9, 2012, a 60-year-old male career lieutenant and a 25-year-old male career fire fighter died when a wall collapsed during fire-fighting operations at a commercial structure fire. The collapse occurred after the lieutenant and three fire fighters were sent inside the structure to operate a hand line to stop the fire extension. The lieutenant and one fire fighter were buried by the collapse and died as a result. The other two fire fighters were trapped by the collapse and were injured. NIOSH investigators identified dilapidated building conditions, high winds, fireground communications, personnel accountability, and training on fireground operations, situational awareness, and failure to maintain and control a collapse zone as key contributing factors. /niosh/fire/reports/face201213.html

News from Our Partners

NIOSH visits the Navajo Nation

NIOSH has a new initiative to partner with American Indian and Alaska Native communities, organizations and partners to provide worker safety and health support. Over five million American Indians and Alaska Natives live in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). To further collaborate and enhance workplace safety and health in Tribal communities, staff from NIOSH and the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center will be visiting the Navajo Nation Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NNOSHA) on February 3–7. For more information, contact Elizabeth Dalsey at

New Study On Kentucky Multiple Jobholder Fatalities

A study produced by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center and published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine showed that multiple jobholder fatalities in Kentucky averaged 8.4 deaths per 100,000 employees compared to the single jobholder fatality rate of 6.5 per 100,000. The primary industry and occupation at the time of death was the agricultural industry and the management occupation; two-thirds involved a tractor. The most common secondary industry and occupation at the time of death was the construction industry and management occupation. The results of this study highlight the need for continuing education on tractor use by multiple jobholders. In addition, the identification of multiple jobholder fatalities may be optimized through on-site investigations and family member interviews. The article is available at

Texas Underscores Importance of Pesticide Exposure Reporting for Farmworkers

The Texas Occupational Health Surveillance program of the Texas Department of State Health Services reached out to partner with the Migrant Clinicians Network, the Farmworker Justice, and the National Center for Farmworker Health to present the program’s findings on pesticide exposure reporting for Texas farmworkers in the 23rd Annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum (South Padre Island, Texas). The program findings reveal a marked underreporting of pesticide exposure for farmworkers. Presenting this information to attendees of the forum, which included healthcare providers, farmworker advocates, and community health workers, helped focus attention on and increased awareness of this important issue of Texas farmworkers. For further information on the 23rd Annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum, go to The presentation, Pesticide Exposure Farmworker Underreporting, can be downloaded from

Meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a meetingof the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) on February 11–12, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The full committee meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room C-5320-6, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20210. NACOSH meetings are open to the public. .

U.S. Department of Labor Launches New Educational Web Resource for Hospital Worker Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently launched a new educational Web resource ( that has extensive materials to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs, and implement safety and health management systems. The materials include fact books, self-assessments, and best practice guides.

Agricultural Health Center Seeks Injured Farmers Stories for Campaign

The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health is currently working to develop a social marketing campaign to promote PTO (power-take-off) shielding. During focus groups, farmers indicated that they would be most likely to read an advertisement and follow-through with shielding if the message depicted a major consequence, such as the loss of a limb. For this reason, the Center is looking for a farmer who has lost one or both arms in a PTO entanglement and who would be willing to provide their story for this promotion. The Center will be able to reimburse the participant for any time that they dedicate to the project. Please contact Pam Tinc at with any questions or if you know of an individual who would be willing to participate.

Occupational Health Internship Program Honored by APHA

The Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) was honored with a special award at APHA 2013 for their accomplishments over the past 10 years. OHIP is a NIOSH-funded summer program to recruit students into the occupational health professions. Administered by the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, over 180 students have worked on over 75 projects in 8 locations across the country. Many students have become emerging leaders in the occupational health professions. Check out the OHIP website and a new video about the program at

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program Update

HHE logo

Evaluation of Safety Climate, Health Concerns, and Pharmaceutical Dust Exposures at a Mail Order Pharmacy

HHE Program investigators evaluated pharmaceutical exposures, health effects, job stress, work-related health concerns, and psychosocial factors at a pharmacy. We surveyed employees and talked with them about job stress, work-related health concerns, perceptions of the job, and social factors at work. We sampled air and work surfaces for lactose (inactive ingredient in pharmaceuticals) and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Overall, employees had a positive perception of the safety climate, but contractor employees were not comfortable taking time off work when ill. Although inhalation exposures to active pharmaceutical ingredients were mostly below manufacturers’ occupational exposure limits (if a limit was available), air sampling results indicated that employees may be exposed to airborne dust from uncoated tablets. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • creating a list of pharmaceuticals that are dusty, along with any exposure guidelines and methods on how to safely handle these pharmaceuticals;
  • using local exhaust ventilation hoods that are ducted outdoors for filling hazardous drug prescriptions and for other tasks that could create pharmaceutical dust; and
  • discontinuing the point system for contractor employees’ illness absences.

A link to this final report is available at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

Evaluation of Radiofrequency Radiation Exposures at an Atomic Time Radio Station

HHE Program investigators evaluated radiofrequency exposures at an atomic time radio station. Employees spent most of their time working in the radio station building but could enter the antenna field when cleaning, repairing, and painting antennas; maintaining the weather station; or mowing the antenna field. Electric and magnetic field strength measurements exceeded action levels and exposure limits in certain areas of the antenna field. Measurements were below action levels and exposure limits on the roof, in the office, in the transmission room of the radio station building, and in the cab of the pickup while mowing the antenna field near transmitting antennas. Employees could be overexposed to magnetic fields from nearby transmitting antennas during activities involving primary or backup antennas that were powered off, or when servicing the weather station. HHE Program investigators recommended

  • starting a comprehensive radiofrequency safety program and assign a safety officer to develop and oversee the program,
  • installing caution signs to identify areas where exposure limits could be exceeded, and
  • reducing power to a primary antenna before working on the standby antenna of the same frequency or vice versa.
  • A link to this final report is available at /niosh/hhe/whats_new.html.

r2p Corner

NIOSH-developed Silica Control Technology Licensed

NIOSH signed a nonexclusive patent licensing agreement with Spectra Tech, Inc., ( to commercialize a NIOSH-designed control technology for silica dust emissions from sand movers. The NIOSH mini baghouse retrofit assembly was invented and developed to reduce silica dust emissions from sand moving machines during hydraulic fracturing operations. This system contains and captures silica dust released during sand mover refilling, reducing environmental and worker exposures. NIOSH continues to look for additional oil and gas extraction industry partners to further identify, characterize, and control workplace chemical exposures. For more information, contact Eric Esswein at (303) 236-5946 or

What’s New on the NIOSH Science Blog? Join the Discussion Today!

Federal Register Notices of Public Meetings and Public Comment

Pulmonary Function Testing Course Approval Program

The notice was posted on December 23, 2013. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Occupational Exposure to Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, Chapter 6 and 8

Written comments must be received by February 10.

Intelligence Bulletin: Update of NIOSH Carcinogen Classification and Target Risk Level Policy for Chemical Hazards in the Workplace
Comments must be received by February 13.

Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments
Written comments must be received by February 25.

Occupational Safety and Health Investigations of Places of Employment

The notice was posted on January 16. Written comments must be received by March 17.

Occupational Safety and Health Investigations of Places of Employment; Technical Amendments

The notice was posted on January 16. Written comments must be received by March 17th.

Total Worker Health for Small Business

The notice was posted on January 22. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

Evaluation of a Trench Safety CD-Rom for Hispanic Immigrant Workers

The notice was posted on January 22. Written comments should be received within 60 days.

For a listing of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices, go to

Call for Abstracts and Presentations

23rd Annual Social Marketing Conference
Call for abstracts. The deadline for submission is February 14.

62nd International Association of Emergency Managers Annual Conference
Call for presentations. The deadline for submission is February 21.

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

2014 NSC Texas Safety Conference & Expo
March 30–April 1, Galveston, TX

AIHCE 2014
May 31–June 5, San Antonio, TX

Safety 2014 ASSE Professional Development Conference & Exposition
June 8–11, Orlando, FL

2014 NFPA Conference and Expo
June 9–12, Las Vegas, NV

7th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology 2014
June 9–13, Houston, TX

23rd Annual Social Marketing Conference
June 20–21, Clearwater, FL

International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health 2014 Annual Conference: Cultivating Ag Safety and Health
June 22–26, Omaha, NE

8th Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media
August 19-21, Atlanta, GA

2014 National Safety Council Congress & Expo
September 13–19, San Diego, CA

National Symposium to Advance Total Worker HealthTM
October 6–8, Bethesda, MD

62nd International Association of Emergency Managers Annual Conference
November 14–19, San Antonio, TX

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at

Did You Know?

Did you know that NIOSH created a free online training on violence prevention for nurses and other healthcare providers? Learn more at

Please send your comments and suggestions to us by visiting /niosh/contact/.

This newsletter is published monthly via email by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to inform members of the public health community as well as interested members of the general public of Institute related news, new publications, and updates on existing programs and initiatives.