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NIOSH eNews – July 2011

Volume 9 Number 3 July 2011


From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D.
Director, NIOSH
June eNews 2011

Summer Heat Can be Dangerous for Workers

We are just two weeks into the summer but already record temperatures are being recorded across the country. While hot weather is ideal for a trip to the beach or an afternoon picnic, extreme temperatures can be dangerous to workers who may not have a choice about working outside in the heat.

Outdoor workers are often at higher risk than other workers for exposure to high temperatures and humidity. These workers may consist of farmers, foresters, landscapers, groundskeepers, gardeners, painters, roofers, pavers, construction workers, laborers, mechanics, and any other worker who spends time outside. Although we often think of outdoor workers as relatively young and healthy, any worker is at risk of heat illness or death due to the circumstances and environments of their jobs.

In addition to outdoor workers, some indoor workers may have job duties in hot, confined spaces, or they may be performing hard tasks that can cause their body temperature to rise high enough that they are at risk for heat illnesses.

There are also additional risk factors that can make individuals more susceptible to suffering from a heat-related illness. These include direct sun exposure with no shade, indoor exposure to sources of radiant heat like an oven or a furnace, limited air movement, low fluid consumption, poor physical condition or health problems, some medications, pregnancy, and age (over 65).

Heat illnesses can vary in symptoms and severity, and often a less severe form, without treatment, can quickly progress into something worse and even deadly. Workers may be aware of heat stroke, because they have probably heard on the news about someone dying from it. However, heat rash, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion, are also illness outcomes workers should be aware of and know how to prevent and treat, to prevent the progression into heat stroke.

Many resources are available for workers and employers on heat-related illness and how to prevent it. NIOSH designed a Fast Facts card for workers (/niosh/docs/2010-114/pdfs/2010-114.pdf) that provides basic information on prevention and first aid. Most recently, NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new information sheet for employers on protecting workers from heat illness (/niosh/docs/2011-174/pdfs/2011-174.pdf). Employers can make this information easily available to workers by including it in safety briefings or trainings. Healthcare providers can also be a good source of information for workers who may want to know more about how working in a hot environment can affect the medication they use or how the heat can affect their personal level of health.

In addition to what is currently available relating to heat stress, NIOSH has future products in the works. NIOSH and OSHA are continuing to work together on heat illness-related information products, including a series of posters for workers, employers, and healthcare providers. Poster topics will include recognition and prevention of heat illness, what employers should provide to workers in the heat, and what kinds of medications and health-related factors could affect workers in hot conditions. NIOSH has also been evaluating the scientific data on heat stress and hot environments and is updating the hot environments criteria document. New information is being added and chapters are being updated and revised. Resources on heat illness and related topics can be accessed from the NIOSH heat stress Web page (/niosh/topics/heatstress/) or the OSHA heat campaign Web site (

Can’t Come to NORA? Watch It Live Via the Web

NIOSH is excited to announce that we will be broadcasting the plenary sessions live for the upcoming NORA Symposium, July 12–13, in Cincinnati, Ohio. See the program at for times and dates! Video will be available via the conference website after the symposium.

Healthier Federal Workers 2011 Is Here

Healthier Federal Workers logo

NIOSH is happy to be a cosponsor of a new symposium dedicated to the health, safety, and wellbeing of America’s workforce. Please join us September 14–16 in Washington DC. NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard will be a keynote speaker and will join over 25 other leading workplace health and safety experts for three days of interactive learning and ready-to-implement best practices. Key meeting content areas include How Healthy Organizations Lead to Healthier Workers; Helping Employees Balance the Challenges of Home, Work, and Family; Using the Policy and Built Environment for Greater Health and Wellness; and Optimizing Safety and Occupational Health Programs for Maximum Health. The meeting is open to federal and nonfederal participants. To register or for more information go to

NIOSH Announces New Director of Safety Research

Dawn Castillo, MPH, was selected as the new director of the NIOSH Division of Safety Research (DSR) at the NIOSH laboratory in Morgantown, WV. Dawn has been at NIOSH since 1991 as a research epidemiologist. In 1998, she was named chief of the DSR Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch. Dawn has a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of California at Irvine and a masters of public health degree from the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles.

How Can The STOP STICKS Campaign Help You?

This new NIOSH Web site is on the STOP STICKS campaign that was developed to raise awareness of the dangers of sharps injuries and to provide tools so that others can conduct their own campaign in order to reduce the number of sharps injuries. /niosh/stopsticks/

NIOSH Science Blog Makes Top Five List

The NIOSH Science Blog was recently ranked fifth in order of hits under government blogs on

Skin Notation Workshop to Improve Data Collection

NIOSH recently sponsored a workshop aimed at enhancing the scientific basis for the recently developed NIOSH strategy for the assignment of skin notations (/niosh/docs/2009-147/). NIOSH researchers Fred Frasch and Scott Dotson led the workshop, which was attended by scientists from North America, Europe, and Taiwan. Workshop participants agreed on several points that would improve the collection of experimental data and support the decision-making process of assigning skin notations. For more information on the workshop please contact Fred Frasch at

Call for Nominations: 2012 Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Awards™

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 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. The deadline for self-nominations is September 1. Additional information is available at

WTC Health Program Updates Effective July 1

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 went into effect July 1. The Act establishes a federally funded World Trade Center Health Program for adverse health effects associated with the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. /niosh/updates/upd-07-01-11.html

NIOSH Congratulates

Dr. Kathleen Kreiss, recipient of CDC’s Charles C. Shepard Award for Lifetime Scientific Achievement…
Kay is a branch chief in the NIOSH Division of Respiratory Disease Studies. The award recognizes Kay’s extraordinary scientific accomplishments and her significant impact on occupational and public health as a distinguished scientist, researcher, field officer, and administrator.

NIOSH Veterinary Epidemiologist John D. Gibbins and Industrial Hygienist Scott E. Brueck, recipients of the Charles C. Shepard Award for Assessment and Epidemiology…
John and Scott are among the co-authors of the article “Epidemiologic Investigation of Immune-Mediated Polyradiculoneuropathy among Abattoir Workers Exposed to Porcine Brain,” which received the Charles C. Shepard Award for Assessment and Epidemiology.

Lilia Chen 2011, recipient of the John J. Bloomfield Award…
The John J. Bloomfield Award is presented to an up-and-coming industrial hygienist who has made significant contributions to the profession by pursuing occupational health and safety hazards, primarily through field work. Lilia is a certified industrial hygienist who has been the primary project officer on 60 health hazard evaluations.

Dr. Steven H. Ahrenholz, recipient of the Greater Cincinnati Federal Executive Board Federal Service Excellence Award…
Steve is a certified industrial hygienist who has worked in the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program for 14 years. Steve was recognized for his dedication, technical excellence, and productivity in assessing work-related health hazards, identifying appropriate control strategies, and communicating with stakeholders.

Federal Register Notices

A list of NIOSH official publications for rules, proposed rules, and notices for 2011 is available at /niosh/fedreg.html.

News from Our Partners

Report Examines Heat Illness in Florida Workers

In response to extreme heat events in recent summers, the Florida Department of Health conducted an analysis of occupational heat related illness in Florida using hospital discharge and emergency department data from 2005–2009. The study identified 2,198 cases of occupational heat related illness. It found that the majority of cases occurred in the summer months. The study was not able to identify industry or occupation, however, using additional information, the study reported that 59% of the cases were due to weather conditions suggesting that they occurred as a result of work activities out-of-doors while only 4% of cases were due to man-made origins indicating an indoor exposure. The full report can be found at

ERC Integrates Historical Tours into OSHA Education

The New York and New Jersey Education and Research Center has developed a new training approach that provides an historical aspect, while allowing graduate students to identify solutions to occupational issues from a multidisciplinary approach. The ERC developed a tour that brings students to sites of historical and/or contemporary significance in the occupational safety and health and environmental fields. This tour has been successful in bridging the occupational safety and health fields to better understand how occupational and environmental exposures have occurred, in order to prevent future exposures so that workplace conditions and health can be improved ( For more information contact Mitchel Rosen,

OSHA Accepting Susan Harwood Grant Applications

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is soliciting applications under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The grants will fund training for workers and employers to recognize workplace hazards and appropriate control measures and to understand their rights and responsibilities under OSHA’s regulations and standards.

National Academies Offer Free PDF Downloads

Effective June 2, all PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press (NAP) will be downloadable free of charge to anyone.

New Health Hazard Evaluation Reports Now Available

HHE logo Evaluating Salon Workers’ Exposure to Formaldehyde from Brazilian Blowout Treatment Products

HHE Program investigators evaluated concerns about salon workers’ exposure to formaldehyde from Brazilian Blowout hair treatment products at an Ohio hair salon. In interim recommendations provided to the salon in a May 16, 2011, letter, the investigators reported they had measured short-term airborne formaldehyde levels above the NIOSH ceiling limit and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists ceiling limit. These levels were not above the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) permissible exposure limit as an 8-hour time-weighted average. Formaldehyde was measured in the bulk sample taken from a product that was labeled as formaldehyde free. Because formaldehyde exposures were measured above the short-term limit, investigators recommended that the salon discontinue use of the smoothing-solution product associated with the measured exposures. If the salon continues to use the product, it should follow the provisions of OSHA’s formaldehyde standard, consider the use of nitrile or butyl rubber gloves, and conduct air sampling to further characterize employees’ exposure to formaldehyde and take appropriate actions on the basis of the findings. /niosh/hhe/pdfs/HETA_11-0014_Interim_Letter_for_web.pdf OSHA’s general recommendations for occupational exposures to hair smoothing products that could contain formaldehyde are available at

Evaluating a Persistent Nuisance Odor in an Office Building

HHE Program investigators evaluated a persistent chemical odor in an office that employees believed was the cause of their symptoms. Six out of eight employees described the odor as similar to glue, adhesive, plastic, chemical, or a cleaner. Volatile organic compounds in the air samples collected in carpeted areas matched those from two bulk carpet samples taken, indicating that the odor was likely caused by volatile organic compounds from the carpet adhesive and backing. Investigators recommended that managers ask the building owner to remove the carpet and adhesive to eliminate the source of the odor and appropriately prepare the concrete slab floor before installing new flooring. /niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2011-0004-3128.pdf


Countdown to NORA Symposium 2011…

Join us to celebrate the 15th year of NORA at the NORA Symposium, July 12–13, in Cincinnati. Keynotes include NIOSH Director John Howard, Jim Dearing of Kaiser Permanente, and Jordan Barab of OSHA. The 2011 NORA Awards will also be presented. The full program is available at . For those who can’t attend the plenary sessions will be available for viewing live online at

r2p Corner

r2p logo NIOSH-Patented Design Leads to Commercial Fall Protection System

NIOSH signed an exclusive patent licensing agreement with AES Raptor, LLC, ( to manufacture a safety rail system based on a NIOSH-patented design aimed at preventing worker falls from roofs and other unguarded edges. The guardrail system was developed by NIOSH researchers for a variety of unprotected workplaces in residential, industrial, and commercial construction. For more information on NIOSH research related to fall protection, visit or contact Thomas Bobick at Mention of the company name above does not constitute a NIOSH commercial endorsement.

NIOSH Focal Point of New Industry Standard

The Permeation Calculator computer program developed by NIOSH has become a new industry standard, ASTM F2815. The standard provides directions in using the calculator to analyze data following a permeation test in order to determine when chemicals have gotten inside chemical protective clothing. The standard aims to help users avoid time-intensive calculations, minimize variability in determining ranges for harmful exposures, and provide manufacturers of chemical protective clothing with consistent results about permeation parameters. To learn more about this free computer program or the new standard, read an interview featuring Dr. Pengfei Gao at and visit or

What’s new on the NIOSH Science Blog?

Safety Has Not Been Asked to the Prom

Join our discussion on the evolving relationship between safe practices and environmental stewardship—their overlap in promotion and intervention and why safety should not be left to wallflower. /niosh/blog/

New Communication Products

Preventing Worker Deaths From Trench Cave-ins

NIOSH recommends safety practices to minimize hazards for workers who are at risk of death from cave-ins during trenching and excavation activities. /niosh/docs/2011-180/

Cancer Registrar’s Guide to Collecting Industry and Occupation

Learn how this information can also be used to help discover jobs that may have a high risk for cancer or other diseases and for which prevention efforts can be concentrated (or targeted). /niosh/docs/2011-173/

A Story of Impact on Floor Finishing Safety

Learn how a NIOSH-funded program contributed to a new Massachusetts law to protect the health and safety of floor finishing workers. /niosh/docs/2011-181/


A full list of all new NIOSH communication products is available at /niosh/whatsnew/

Call for Abstracts

Professional Conference on Industrial Hygiene (PCIH)
Call for poster abstracts. Deadline for submission is August 19.

Upcoming Conferences & Workshops

NORA Symposium 2011: Achieving Impact Through Research and Partnerships
July 12-13, Cincinnati, Ohio

The ASTM Johnson Conference 2011 on The On-Going Debate—What We’re Learning after a Quarter Century of Johnson Conferences
July 25–July 29, Burlington, VT

5th Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
August 9–11, Atlanta, GA

5th International Conference on Nanotechnology Occupational and Environmental Health
August 9-12, Boston, MA

International Association of Firefighters Redmond Symposium—Look for us!
August 14–19, New York, NY

Prevention Through Design Conference—A New Way of Doing Business: A Report on the National Initiative
August 22–24, Washington, DC

CIB W099 Prevention: Means to the End of Construction Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
August 24–26, Washington, D.C.

NORA Manufacturing Sector Conference: Partnerships to Improve Occupational Safety and Health
September 7–8, Cincinnati, OH

Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work
September 14–15, Chicago, IL

Association of Occupational Professionals in Healthcare —Look for us!
September 28 – October 1, Minneapolis, MN

Pennsylvania Governors Occupational Safety and Health Conference—Look for us!—Look for us!
October 3-4, Hershey PA

National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)
October 18-20, Morgantown, WV

139th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA)
October 29-November 2, Washington, DC

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

Word of the Month

STOP STICKS — The NIOSH-developed STOP STICKS campaign focuses on raising awareness that, in turn, prepares and motivates healthcare workers to make the changes needed to reduce sharps injuries. The Campaign goal is to raise awareness about the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries in the workplace. While the campaign materials were developed mainly for operating room and emergency department audiences, the target audience includes clinical and nonclinical healthcare workers and healthcare administrators in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies. /niosh/stopsticks/

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.