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NIOSH eNews – July 2010


Volume 8 Number 3 July 2010


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH
July eNews 2010

Mission in the Gulf

deep water horizon volunteer

Response worker on one of the igniter vessels
involved in a surface oil burn in the Gulf

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig, caused by a blowout, killed eleven workers and ignited a fireball whose flames were visible from many miles away.

The resulting fire could not be extinguished. On April 22, 2010, Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the drilled well gushing at the sea floor and causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, which continues to this day. See live video feed from remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) on the BP Web site.

In the aftermath of the explosion, fire, and continuing release of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a large response effort has been mounted under the direction of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The response effort is led by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater Horizon Unified Command (

NIOSH is heavily engaged in several activities in support of the Deepwater Horizon Response.

First, NIOSH is rostering all response workers. To date, NIOSH has rostered over 20,000 response workers on the water and on the land. Response workers on the water are involved in activities at the source of the crude oil release, working on vessels involved with burning crude oil on the water and working on vessels applying dispersant on the surface of the water and booming and skimming oil from the surface. Response workers on the land are involved in shoreline cleanup, decontamination of equipment and wildlife, and management of the waste stream. More information about the rostering effort can be found at One of the lessons learned from the World Trade Center response was the necessity of having the basic contact, demographic, and job information of each response worker. Such documentation will aid in monitoring potential health effects over time.

Second, NIOSH is also conducting a series of health hazard evaluations of response workers. An interim report and updates to the Deepwater Horizon Hazard Evaluation are posted at

Third, NIOSH is conducting health surveillance through worker health and symptom surveys and by analyzing injury and illness data from cleanup contractors. Also, CDC is collecting and analyzing health surveillance data from poison control centers, healthcare facilities, and Gulf States health departments.

Fourth, NIOSH, together with OSHA, has developed Interim Guidance for Protecting Deepwater Horizon Workers and Volunteers, a set of recommendations to be followed during the response, and will update those recommendations as more is learned at

Fifth, NIOSH plans scientific studies to (1) examine the toxicity of this particular type of crude oil, as well as the oil dispersants being used, and (2) evaluate exposure monitoring using air sampling and bio-monitoring measurements. NIOSH will also propose health effects studies that should be conducted in exposed workers.

I invite you to visit the NIOSH Web site to learn more about what NIOSH is doing as a part of the Deepwater Horizon Response ( or join the discussion on the NIOSH Science Blog

I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to each NIOSH employee who is involved in the Response. As we see from ongoing reports and news coverage, we and our federal, state, and local partners are serving a vital need in helping to protect the health and safety of those who are working hard in diverse response tasks on the water and on shore. As I hope our products demonstrate, we are committed to addressing this need with our benchmark values of scientific diligence, partnership, and technical expertise.


NIOSH Director Addresses Challenges to Keeping Migrant Workers Safe

In a commentary in a special edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., notes the challenges of health and safety research for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses in migrant worker populations. To read more go to For more information about NIOSH research on occupational health disparities and NIOSH’s partnerships in addressing the safety and health needs of a diverse and migrant workforce, go to

Call for Nominations 2011 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2011 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards.™ The awards are given by NIOSH in partnership with the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) to recognize excellence in hearing loss prevention. Additional information is available at

Local Morgantown Media Highlights Flu Study

Researchers from NIOSH and West Virginia University were recently featured in a news segment on WBOY-TV about their joint study on transmission of the flu virus.

NIOSH Construction Research Program

To mark the 20th anniversary of the NIOSH Construction Research Program, NIOSH teamed up with editors at the National Safety Council’s Journal of Safety Research to publish a special issue on construction safety. The publication highlights work from NIOSH’s intramural and National Construction Center researchers. Coeditors are Matt Gillen, NIOSH; Janie Gittleman, National Construction Center; and Mei-Li Lin, National Safety Council.

AOL Features NIOSH Recommendations on Hearing Loss

A June 23 article by Andrew Schneider, AOL News senior correspondent, noted NIOSH recommendations to prevent job-related hearing loss. The article reports on loud noise produced by vuvuzelas, horns blown by fans at the World Cup match. The NIOSH Science Blog also addresses the potential risk from vuvuzelas of hearing loss in stadium workers.

WV Public Broadcasting Highlights New NIOSH Coal Mine Safety Project

A new project designed to learn more about the use of mine seals to help prevent explosions was recently the focus of a segment on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. The work is being done just north of Morgantown, WV, at the NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory, a former limestone mine currently being used to conduct research on methods to improve coal mine safety.

Antimicrobial Pesticide-Related Illnesses Among Workers in Healthcare Facilities

Vessel disasters and falls overboard continue to be the main causes of deaths among commercial fishing crews, NIOSH researchers find in a study published in the July 16 Occupational exposures to antimicrobial pesticides are known to cause adverse health effects. The May 14 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looks at the nature and frequency of such exposures in healthcare settings. CDC analyzed 2002-2007 data from pesticide poisoning surveillance programs in California, Louisiana, Michigan, and Texas-the only four states that regularly collect data on antimicrobial pesticide-related illness.

Research Recommendations for Selected IARC-Classified Agents

Researchers now have substantial evidence of carcinogenicity in several common occupational agents and exposure circumstances, but findings are not yet conclusive for humans. A recent peer-reviewed article from researchers at NIOSH, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the American Cancer Society, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Cancer Institute summarizes recommendations for twenty of these agents and addresses some overarching topics pertaining to several agents or categories of agents.

NIOSH Issues Report on 3M Model 8000 Respirator

In a May report, NIOSH issued findings and recommendations from an evaluation of the 3M Model 8000 respirator. The evaluation was requested by the state of California in January, after a large healthcare organization reported that it was unable to successfully fit test their healthcare workers with units of the Model 8000 that the organization had received from the California stockpile. The NIOSH evaluation found no evidence of a defect in the device.

NIOSH Issues Users Notice Regarding CSE SR-100 Investigation

On June 23, NIOSH issued a users notice during its investigation of the CSE SR-100 self-contained self-rescuer, emphasizing the importance of strict compliance with all of the manufacturer’s inspection procedures.

NIOSH Requests Comments/Review on the Following

Proposed Rule on Total Inward Leakage Requirements for Respirators. Comment period extended through September 30.

Draft skin notations and technical support documents, Skin Notations Profiles for 22 Chemicals.

Kudos to NIOSH’s Yvonne Boudreau

NIOSH congratulates Yvonne Boudreau, a medical officer in the NIOSH Denver Regional Office, who was recently awarded The Florence Sabin Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Public Health and the Health of the Citizens of Colorado” and was inducted into the Delta Omega National Honorary Society in Public Health for outstanding dedication to public health as a graduate of the MSPH Program at the Colorado School of Public Health.

News from Our Partners

New Report Focuses on Michigan Amputations

In the latest report from its Amputation Surveillance System, the Michigan Department of Community Health and Michigan State University identified 708 work-related amputations in 2007 from hospital and emergency department medical records. This is four times as many amputations as in the employer based annual survey administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state said. This system identifies hazardous worksites that otherwise might go undetected and facilitates remediation at these worksites, the state added. Read the full report at (click on annual reports and then the newest amputation report).

World Trade Center National Activities

While the primary focus of the World Trade Center worker and volunteer medical programs are in New York City, not all the volunteers were from New York. The Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic at the University of Illinois at Chicago (a member of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics) continues to see World Trade Center volunteers from Chicago for their annual medical monitoring evaluations. Types of conditions evaluated include respiratory health effects, allergic symptoms, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Other clinics, both AOEC and non-AOEC, around the country are also seeing WTC responders. For more information email or go to

International Occupational and Environmental Medicine

A recent investigation was conducted of metals exposures among workers in gold and silver mines in Guatemala and community residents living near the mines. The investigation, led by University of Michigan researchers with assistance from University of Illinois at Chicago Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic (a member of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics), did not find elevated levels of metals in the urine of workers but discovered a trend of higher levels in residents living near the mine compared with residents living farther away. Water, soil, and sediment samples met current standards. For more information contact Dr. Howard Hu at

Enrollment Open for Online Occupational Health Program

Enrollment is open for the University of Illinois at Chicago International Program in Occupational Health Practice that runs September 2010 through May 2011. The online program provides an introduction to occupational health for professionals worldwide who do not have formal academic training in occupational safety and health or for those who want to refresh their competencies in this area. The enrollment deadline is July 31.

OSHA Announces New Stakeholder MeetingsInternational Occupational and Environmental Medicine

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled two additional stakeholder meetings to solicit comments in developing an Injury and Illness Prevention Program proposed rule. The meetings will be held July 20 in Washington, DC, and August 3 in Sacramento, California.


Job Exposure Database for the Utilities Industry

NIOSH and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) held a workshop in February to plan the development of a job exposure database for the utilities industry. The NIOSH-developed Integrated Hazard Exposure Database will serve as the foundation for the proposed industry-specific database. The combination of an EPRI project (No. P62.003, and the NIOSH work helps implement the National Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Agenda ( in the utilities industry. Contact the NORA Coordinator ( for more information.

National Manufacturing Agenda Available

The National Manufacturing Agenda under the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) is available at The agenda contains ten strategic goals designed to address top safety and health concerns and to promote the greatest opportunities to advance protections within the sector. Contact the NORA coordinator ( with questions or suggestions or to join others to work on these goals.

r2p Corner

NIOSH Twitter Site Launched for Transportation Community

Follow NIOSH and the transportation community on Twitter ( to stay connected to industries such as those that transport passengers and cargo, provide scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Tweets will address information related to occupational transportation including safety and health research, facts and statistics, news and updates, conferences, and publications. For more information contact Elizabeth Dalsey ( or Jim Helmkamp ( or go to

What’s new on the NIOSH Science Blog?

NIOSH Response Efforts at Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Much public and media attention is focused on the environmental and economic aspects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. NIOSH’s response focuses on protecting the workers and volunteers from injury and illness. Join the discussion at

World Cup Noise Exposure

The sound of vuvuzelas provides a unique cultural signature for the 2010 World Cup games. But, does the noise level pose an occupational hazard to players, stadium employees, and others? See the discussion in the June 17 NIOSH Science Blog.

Communication Products

Recommendations for Veterinary Workers

NIOSH offers recommendations for appropriate measures to protect veterinary workers who may be exposed to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs used to treat animals.

Fast Facts to Being Safe While Working Outdoors

New NIOSH Fact Sheets in Spanish offer information on protecting workers from outdoor safety and health risks. Topics include Heat Stress (en espanol), Cold Stress (en espanol), Sun Exposure (en espanol), Stinging Insects (en espanol), Poisonous Plants (en espanol), and Ticks and Mosquitoes (en espanol).

Handbook Identifies Best Practices for Controlling Dust in Metal and Nonmetal Mining

This publication identifies available engineering controls that can assist underground and surface metal/nonmetal mining operations in reducing worker exposure to respirable silica dust.


To see other new NIOSH communication products, including documents and topic pages, go to the NIOSH “What’s New” page. /niosh/whatsnew/

Call for Papers

National Safety Council’s Annual Texas Safety Conference & Expo
Call for presentations. Deadline for submission is August 6.

ASTM’s Ninth Symposium on Performance of Protective Clothing and Equipment: Emerging Issues and Technologies
Call for abstracts. Deadline for submission is August 15.

Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

Nanomaterials and Worker Health: Medical Surveillance, Exposure Registries, and Epidemiologic Research
Cohosted by NIOSH and the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center, July 21–23 in Keystone, CO.

29th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
July 26–29, Morgantown, WV.

Public Meeting Total Inward Leakage Requirements for Half Mask Air-Purifying Particulate Respirators
July 29, Hyattsville, MD.

138th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Public Health Association
November 6-10, Denver, CO.

16th Annual National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition (ErgoExpo)
November 30-December 3, Las Vegas, NV.

A comprehensive list of upcoming conferences can be found at /niosh/exhibits.html.

Word of the Month

Vuvuzelas — According to Wikiepedia, the typical vuvuzela is a 2.13-ft plastic blowing horn that produces a loud, distinctive monotone note.

Please send your comments and suggestions to us at

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.