Oct 18, 2017

Obesity Responsible for 40 Percent of ALL Diagnosed Cancers

Obesity Responsible for Cancers
  • More than 630,000 Americans were diagnosed with obesity-related cancer
  • Obesity-related cancers accounted for 40 percent of all diagnosed cancers
  • Obesity-related cancers accounted for 55 percent of all cancers in women and 24 percent of cancers in men
  • Considering more than 20 percent of American adolescents are already in the obese category; awareness of the obesity-cancer link needs to grow if we're to successfully combat cancer rates in coming decades
  • Visceral fat is particularly hazardous. Recent research links excess belly fat alone (regardless of bodyweight) to an increased risk for lung and gastrointestinal cancers in postmenopausal women
  • Obesity is associated with significant medical costs and lost productivity. An obese 20-year-old who sheds enough weight to drop down into the overweight category will save nearly two-thirds of his or her lifetime costs

Nearly 30 percent of the global population is overweight or obese and this has a significant impact on cancer rates, experts say. In a 2014 report, obesity was linked to an estimated 500,000 cancer cases worldwide each year.1,2 More recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the reality is far grimmer than that — at least in the U.S.

Obesity-Related Cancers on the Rise in the US

While cancers unrelated to obesity declined by 13 percent between 2005 and 2014, obesity-related cancer incidence rose by 7 percent, and in 2014 more than 630,000 people were diagnosed with obesity-related cancer in the U.S. alone.3,4,5 Overall, obesity-related cancers accounted for a whopping 40 percent of all diagnosed cancers in 2014. As reported by Reuters: 6

"According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 13 cancers are associated with overweight and obesity. They include meningioma, multiple myeloma, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, and cancers of the thyroid, postmenopausal breast, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus and colon and rectum (colorectal)." 

Previous data from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) suggests excess body weight is responsible for about 25 percent of the relative contribution to cancer incidence, ranking second only to smoking.7 When combined with other high-risk behaviors, such as a poor diet and lack of exercise, the relative contribution rises to 33 percent, making optional lifestyle-related factors a significant contributor to many cancers.

Obesity-Related Cancers Disproportionally Affect Women

Women are at greatest risk. Compared to men, women are more than twice as likely to develop obesity-related cancer,and the longer a woman is overweight, the greater her risk.9 The latest CDC data shows that 55 percent of all cancers in women were related to obesity whereas obesity accounted for "just" 24 percent of male cancer cases.10 Overall, endometrial, ovarian and postmenopausal breast cancer accounted for 42 percent of all obesity-related cancers.

According to the authors, "Observational studies have provided evidence that even a 5-kg (11-pound) increase in weight since early adulthood is associated with increased risk of overweight- and obesity-related cancers." Despite such evidence, few people are fully aware of this association.

As noted by CDC deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat,11 "That obesity and overweight are affecting cancers may be surprising to many Americans. The awareness of some cancers being associated with obesity and overweight is not yet widespread." Considering the fact that nearly 71 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese, and over 20 percent of adolescents are already in the obese category,12 awareness of this link needs to grow if we're to successfully combat rising cancer rates in coming decades.

'Fat and Fit' Myth Promotes Unhealthy Ideals

Many still hold fast to the idea that you can be overweight and metabolically healthy, or "fat and fit," but the cases in which this might be true are few and far in between. While this notion helps combat weight-related depression and poor self-esteem, it ignores the very real health risks associated with excess body weight.

As noted in a 2013 review and meta-analysis13 that included data from more than 61,000 people, obese individuals were more likely to die sooner or have heart-related problems than people of normal weight — even if they were otherwise healthy — causing the researchers to conclude that:

"Compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals, obese persons are at increased risk for adverse long-term outcomes even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, suggesting that there is no healthy pattern of increased weight."

More recent research confirms that visceral fat — the fat buildup around your internal organs, which typically shows as an increased waist size — is directly associated with insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer. In the U.S., Greece, Iceland and New Zealand, over 90 percent of adult men and half of all children were found to have this risk factor.14

Belly Fat Especially Risky for Postmenopausal Women

As noted by Medical News Today,15 "So-called metabolically obese normal weight individuals may still have impaired health, and up to 50 percent of these individuals may be ignored by current BMI [body mass index] measurements." Other recent research has linked excess belly fat alone (regardless of bodyweight) to an increased risk for lung and gastrointestinal cancers in postmenopausal women. According to study author Line Maersk Staunstrup, a doctoral student at Nordic Bioscience ProScion in Denmark:16

"The average elderly women can very much use this information, as it is known that the menopause transition initiates a shift in body fat towards the central trunk area. Therefore, elderly women should be especially aware of their lifestyle when they approach the pre-menopause age."

How to Measure Your Body Composition

Indeed, BMI has been repeatedly shown to be an unreliable way to measure a person's body composition as it fails to take into account muscle mass and intra-abdominal (visceral) fat mass.

A far more accurate measurement is to measure your waistline (the distance around the smallest area below the rib cage, above your belly button) in relation to your height. Waist circumference is the easiest anthropometric measure of total body fat. A general guide for healthy waist circumference is as follows:

Waist Measure for Men
Waist Measurement for Women

Alternatively, you can measure your waist-to-hip ratio. This is done by measuring the circumference of your hips at the widest part, across your buttocks. Then measure your waist at the smallest circumference of your natural waist, just above your belly button. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to get the ratio, or use the University of Maryland's online waist-to-hip ratio calculator.17

Normal Waist to Hip Ratio

The High Cost of Obesity

Other research also deconstructs the "fat and fit" notion, showing obesity eventually takes a toll on health — and finances — even if the person is currently healthy. Using computer modeling, the researchers estimated the financial cost of obesity for different age groups. As an example, a 50-year-old obese individual with normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels has a price tag in excess of $36,000 in direct medical care and lost productivity.

Not surprisingly, weight loss was associated with significant savings. Not only could health insurance premiums be lowered across the board if society as a whole did not struggle with an excess of obesity-related health problems, but individuals would also save on co-pays, and they'd be able to maintain their productivity in the workforce. As reported by Medicine Net:18

"The researchers estimated that if an obese 20-year-old shed enough pounds to drop to the overweight category, almost two-thirds of his lifetime costs to society could be avoided … If a healthy but obese 70-year-old crossed to the overweight category, her lifetime costs could be cut by about 40 percent …"

How Excess Weight Contributes to Cancer.... read on at:

Oct 5, 2017

Wal-Mart Steps Up Push to Shed Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its program to clean up the products it sells, setting a 2022 target for reducing potentially harmful substances and widening the list of chemicals it wants to avoid.

The world's largest retailer aims to reduce the chemicals in products such as household cleaners, cosmetics, skin care and infant items by 10 percent by then, according to a company statement Wednesday. It's also added some fragrance allergens to its so-called priority list of substances it wants to remove from goods.

The new goal is the latest in the retailer's efforts to respond to consumers seeking greener products and more information about what's in them. Last year, Wal-Mart named eight high-priority chemicals it wants eliminated from the goods it sells, and it's on schedule to have the chemicals listed on its broader priority list labeled online and on packaging next year.

"We're trying to center around a broader approach that emphasizes three elements: building trust, delivering impact and really staying ahead of regulation," said Zach Freeze, Wal-Mart's senior director for strategic initiatives for sustainability.

Wal-Mart said it will promote two additional product-verification programs to help guide consumers. Freeze said the company still supports the Environmental Protection Agency's Safer Choice program and wants to expand the number of products certified under it. Wal-Mart's own dish soap -- which was launched earlier this year and attained Safer Choice certification -- is doing well, he said.

FREE WEBINAR SERIES: Funding Decentralized Wastewater Treatment with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is a low interest source of funding for the installation, repair, and upgrading of decentralized wastewater treatment systems. In fiscal year 2016, the CWSRF provided $29.3 million to decentralized projects.

Join the EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund and representatives from the Washington State Departments of Health and Ecology, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and Minnesota Department of Agriculture as we discuss innovative partnerships and financing mechanisms for funding decentralized wastewater treatment systems, including a public-private partnership between Washington Department of Health, Department of Ecology, and a Washington nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution.
We hope you will join us on October 12, 2017 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
for this exciting online presentation and discussion!


If you have trouble joining the meeting, call Adobe Connect at 1-800-422-3623.


Audio will be broadcast from your computer. Make sure to test your computer capabilities prior to the forum by running the Adobe Connect Test prior to the webinar:

Rebecca Brown
Washington Department of Ecology

Jeremy Simmons
Washington Department of Health

Desiree Sideroff

Kathy Emery
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

Dwight Wilcox
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

All webinars will be recorded and made available online.

Yucca Mountain H.R. 3053, Nuclear Waste Policy, limit DOE’s authority to collect certain fees charged to utilities with nuclear plants to cover the costs of disposing

Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), the federal government, through the Department of Energy (DOE), is responsible for permanently disposing of the nation's nuclear waste in a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. H.R. 3053 would not change that fundamental requirement, but would temporarily limit DOE's authority to collect certain fees charged to utilities with nuclear plants to cover the costs of disposing of the waste they generate and would authorize DOE to enter into agreements to provide benefits to state, local, and tribal governments that might host or be affected by facilities related to the waste management program.

View full here:

Free webcast Walking-Working Surfaces questions @jjkeller has answers

Thursday, October 5th   1 PM Central Time
(2 ET, 12 MT, 11PT) – Register Now!

Last November, OSHA finalized the walking-working surfaces rule that revised Subpart D in its entirety. Since that time, many employers have struggled to understand the depth and breadth of the changes, as well as the impact on their workplace. 

During this webcast, we will answer the most frequently asked questions by hundreds of general industry employers about the new requirements to help ensure compliance and prevent slips, trips, and fall in your workplace.

We'll also take your questions during our Q&A portion of the event!

 Register Now
Featured Speakers:
  Jennifer StroscheinJennifer Stroschein
Workplace Safety
J. J. Keller & Associates

 MIchelle GraveenMichelle Graveen
 Workplace Safety
 J. J. Keller & Associates 

NIOSH Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular and Other Chronic Disease Prevention Program, Program Performance One Pager (PPOP)

NIOSH: The Cancer, Reproductive, Cardio-vascular and Other Chronic Disease Prevention Program provides lead-ership in preventing work-related diseases related to many types of cancer, reproductive health, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as occupational neurologic and renal disease. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming work.

What are our priorities?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular and O

ther Chronic Disease Prevention (CRC) Program works with partners in industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, and academia. The program focuses on:

  • Preventing and reducing incidence of occupational cancer
  • Preventing and reducing incidence of adverse reproductive outcomes related to work
  • Preventing and reducing incidence of occupational cardiovascular disease (CVD)

NIOSH Recognizes National Nanotechnology Day

NIOSH: On October 9, the U.S. nanotechnology community will come together to celebrate the second National Nanotechnology Day. Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale with the goal of developing new and improved advancements in medicine, consumer products, energy, materials, manufacturing, and other fields. The annual event is an opportunity to inform the public about nanotechnology, share scientific accomplishments that benefit industry and society, and promote its future possibilities and benefits.

As with any new technology, it is important to identify and mitigate potential hazards or risks. NIOSH is the leading federal agency conducting research and providing guidance on the occupational safety and health implications and applications of nanotechnology. NIOSH is committed to disseminating knowledge on the responsible advancement of this technology and has developed focused practices for small businesses, medical surveillance of nanotechnology workers, and effective engineering controls. NIOSH has also produced risk assessments including recommended occupational exposure limits for ultrafine titanium dioxide and carbon nanotubes. More information is available on NIOSH  website.

In recognition of National Nanotechnology Day, NIOSH is bringing together Wikipedians and scientists to lead an effort to update Wikipedia articles on health and safety information pertaining to nanomaterials. Wikipedia editors from the Midwest will join NIOSH scientists in Cincinnati to learn the latest advances in nanotechnology health and safety and communicate that information as content on Wikipedia. This effort will provide the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office with additional resources to share with the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Updated Website for Hazardous Drug Exposures in Healthcare

Update your bookmarks! NIOSH recently updated the Hazardous Drugs and Antineoplastic Agents webpages to enhance user navigation experience. All information related to our hazardous drugs listing, including antineoplastic agents, can now be found at one location. Stay tuned to this website for future updates to the NIOSH Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs List.

Find Publicly Available Data You Can Easily Analyze! Use the NIOSH Data Visualization Tool to Examine OSH Issues

NIOSH recently added new data sets to its Worker Health Charts (WHC) tool. Built for researchers, educators, health professionals, and policy makers, WHC can be used to visualize occupational data for research and public health purposes. WHC produces different chart types depending on the query options you select. Email any questions or comments to WHC.niosh@cdc.gov.

NIOSH - New Respiratory Protection Program Training Available

NIOSH and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) recently released a new Respiratory Protection Program Training. The program includes a respiratory protection course and accompanying resources for occupational health professionals who want to learn more about OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard and the role of the respiratory protection program administrator. You do NOT need to be an AAOHN member to participate in this free training or access the training resources.

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

Occupational hearing loss can happen as a result of workers' exposure to loud noise. Noise levels over 85 decibels can be hazardous to hearing. If you have to raise your voice to speak to someone an arm's length away, the noise levels may be loud enough to damage your hearing. This October, remind your colleagues that noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable. To learn more, visit NIOSH's website for noise and hearing loss prevention and read our feature article on hearing protection.

Tox-App: An App to Search for Potential Environmental Health Hazards in your Community

Use Tox-App, a free mobile app for iOS users from the National Library of Medicine, to search for industrial facilities that reported releasing certain chemicals into the environment (based on data from the US EPA TRI program). Tox-App includes a subset of about 100 TRI chemicals for the most current TRI year. You can download Tox-App from the Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tox-app/id1227471020?mt=8

Tox-App is based on the National Library of Medicine online tool TOXMAP and provides some of the basic TOXMAP functions, including:

- Search for reporting facilities by name or state
- Browse for facilities by chemical, state, or county
- View locations of reporting facilities on an interactive map

Learn more about Tox-App here:

Oct 4, 2017

OSHA’s Mobile-Friendly Publication on Training Requirements is Easy to Use on the Job

Our comprehensive guide to Training Requirements in OSHA Standards is a valuable reference to help employers, safety and health professionals, and training directors comply with the law and keep workers safe. However, at more than 250 pages, the printed version can be cumbersome to carry on some jobsites. That's why the guide available in digital (MOBI and EPUB) formats; it can be read on a smartphone or tablet and easily searched for the standards that apply to specific industries or activities. Visit OSHA's website to download a copy.

New Fact Sheets Available on Protecting Workers in Laboratories and Shipyards

Two new OSHA fact sheets provide information on assessing and preventing hazards in specific worksites.

  • Preventing and Managing Laboratory Worker Exposure to Zika Virus provides guidance on protecting workers in biomedical laboratories from infection by the virus. It includes information on performing risk assessments and standard biosafety practices for laboratory work involving pathogens.
  • Evaluating Shipyard Competent Person Programs is aimed at protecting shipyard workers from exposure to dangerous atmospheres, particularly in or around confined and/or enclosed spaces aboard vessels. The fact sheet offers guidance on determining the necessary qualifications of experts who must be employed to determine whether a confined space is safe for workers and prescribe protective measures.

Top Stories OSHA to delay enforcement of crystalline silica standard in the construction industry OSHA Memorandum Outlines 30-Day Enforcement Plan for Silica Construction Standard Enforcement of OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standard for construction went into effect on Sept. 23. The agency announced in a September 20 memorandum a 30-day enforcement phase-in to help employers comply with the new standard. Citations may be considered for employers not making any efforts to comply. For more information on silica hazards and OSHA’s standard, visit the Silica Final Rule webpage. Top 10 OSHA Violations Announced at National Safety Congress Top from left: Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection, Lockout/Tagout Bottom from left: Ladders, Powered Industria Top from left: Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection, Lockout/Tagout Bottom from left: Ladders, Powered Industrial Trucks, Machine Guarding, Fall Protection

OSHA has awarded $10.5 million in one-year grants to 80 organizations through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. The program funds grants to nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based groups, employer associations, unions, joint labor-management associations, and colleges and universities. See the list of Fiscal Year 2017 Susan Harwood Training Grant recipients for details on the education and training offered by each awardee.

Top 10 OSHA Violations Announced at National Safety Congress

Top from left: Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection, Lockout/Tagout Bottom from left: Ladders, Powered Industria
Top from left: Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Scaffolding, Respiratory Protection, Lockout/Tagout
Bottom from left: Ladders, Powered Industrial Trucks, Machine Guarding, Fall Protection – Training Requirements, Electrical – Wiring Methods

On Sept. 26, at the National Safety Council's annual Congress & Expo, OSHA Deputy Director of Enforcement Programs Patrick Kapust announced the preliminary list of 10 standards most frequently cited by the agency's inspectors during Fiscal Year 2017. Fall protection was the most-cited standard for the seventh year in a row, followed by Hazard Communication, and Scaffolding. The only new addition to last year's list was Fall Protection – Training Requirements, which came in at ninth place. OSHA publicizes the Top 10 list to increase awareness of these standards so employers can take steps to find and fix the hazards to prevent injury or illness.

Oct 3, 2017

Micro Hydro as Farmland Protection against Wild Animals

Simple and easy-to-install micro hydro generators are being introduced on a broad scale in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan on July 26, 2017. One newly installed generator recently began operating in an irrigation canal in the Shiota district of Hikari City, located in the southeast area of the prefecture.

The installation was done by Hikari City Chikurin-kai, a group engaged in conservation of nearby "satoyama," rural areas comprising flat farmland set against forested hills. The group purchased and installed a simplified-type micro hydro generator made by local manufacturer Taiko Kikai Industries. The total installation cost of 300,000 yen (about US$2,700) was subsidized by the Seven-Eleven Foundation.

The generator generates 4.8 watts of electricity from a head of 0.8 meters and flow of four liters per second. The electricity is supplied to some 3,000 meters of electric fencing and to LED lighting used as street lamps. These systems are for protecting local produce from wild animals such as boars.

It was the eighth small-scale hydro generator introduced in Yamaguchi. Other communities are using the electricity procured from micro hydro generators set in irrigation canals to protect farmland from boars and monkeys and to illuminate school routes. They offer good examples of the utility of small-scale hydropower as an independent power source, one that can bring electricity to areas beyond the reach of conventional sources.

Source: Smart Japan (in Japanese)

Oct 2, 2017

Better Plants Program Partners Save $4.2 Billion in Energy Costs

DOE- Department of Energy (DOE) announced that partners in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program have saved about $4.2 billion in cumulative energy costs across nearly 3,000 facilities that represent about 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint. In addition, DOE is recognizing the achievements of nine partners who have met their energy or water savings goals this year and welcoming 12 new partners who have joined the program.  

Today, close to 200 Better Plants partners are reducing energy costs to strengthen their productivity, create jobs, and increase their resiliency. As part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants partners voluntarily set a long-term goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period across all their U.S. operations. DOE supports these efforts with technical expertise and national recognition

Read the full report to learn more about this year's successes and how the Better Plants program plans to boost competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency.

Through the Better Buildings Initiative, the Energy Department is partnering with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more energy efficient over the next decade while creating thousands of jobs. These partners have contributed to over 1,000 solutions on the Better Buildings Solution Center


Energy Department Launches Up to $15 Million to Tackle Solar Desalination

DOE - The U.S. Department of Energy today announced new funding to develop revolutionary solar desalination technologies that will help create freshwater from otherwise unusable waters. Desalination treats seawater, brackish water, and contaminated water for use in municipal and industrial water supplies, or to reclaim contaminated water. The Solar Energy Technologies Office expects to make $15 million available for 7 to 10 projects that explore early-stage technologies with the prospect of significantly reducing the cost of desalination through solar thermal energy.

"By integrating solar technology with desalination, we can dramatically lower the cost of creating clean water," said Charlie Gay, Solar Energy Technologies Office director. "Solar desalination can not only be used in creating freshwater from saltwater, but also to clean wastewater from industrial processes."

Electricity costs account for up to half of the operating expenses for desalination operations and require plants to be grid-connected. Solar power, either in the form of electricity or thermal power, has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of desalination, while enabling smaller, more portable systems.

Selected projects will help improve established solar desalination technologies and create low-cost designs for solar thermal collection and storage. Successful sub-components will be tested in an integrated system and will demonstrate a credible pathway to commercial development. The projects will be awarded as cooperative agreements, and will require between 20 to 50% cost share, which ensures that federal research dollars are responsibly spent. This represents a total public-private funding of nearly $20 million.

Each project will also need to demonstrate significant improvements over best-in-class, near-commercial systems, produce repeatable results, and include clear, market-driven objectives. For example, projects that seek to address challenges facing municipal markets that utilize seawater for desalination will need to demonstrate success in creating low-cost freshwater at high volumes. Water that is produced at oil and gas well sites, by contrast, will have a particularly high salt content that is generated away from electric grid infrastructure. This makes reverse osmosis desalination technologies unpractical, but presents a significant market opportunity for solar thermal desalination.

Learn more about the department's solar energy research and concentrating solar power research

Earth's sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn:

Perhaps of interest, although depressing is this article in the Guardian:

The scientists found that a third of the thousands of species losing populations are not currently considered endangered and that up to 50% of all individual animals have been lost in recent decades. Detailed data is available for land mammals, and almost half of these have lost 80% of their range in the last century. The scientists found billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost all over the planet, leading them to say a sixth mass extinction has already progressed further than was thought.

Billions of animals have been lost as their habitats have become smaller with each passing year.

The scientists conclude: "The resulting biological annihilation obviously will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences. Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe."

They say, while action to halt the decline remains possible, the prospects do not look good: "All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life."

Wildlife is dying out due to habitat destruction, overhunting, toxic pollution, invasion by alien species and climate change. But the ultimate cause of all of these factors is "human overpopulation and continued population growth, and overconsumption, especially by the rich", say the scientists, who include Prof Paul Ehrlich, at Stanford University in the US, whose 1968 book The Population Bomb is a seminal, if controversial, work.

"The serious warning in our paper needs to be heeded because civilisation depends utterly on the plants, animals, and microorganisms of Earth that supply it with essential ecosystem services ranging from crop pollination and protection to supplying food from the sea and maintaining a livable climate," Ehrlich told the Guardian. Other ecosystem services include clean air and water.

"The time to act is very short," he said. "It will, sadly, take a long time to humanely begin the population shrinkage required if civilisation is to long survive, but much could be done on the consumption front and with 'band aids' – wildlife reserves, diversity protection laws – in the meantime." Ceballos said an international institution was needed to fund global wildlife conservation.

The research analysed data on 27,500 species of land vertebrates from the IUCN and found the ranges of a third have shrunk in recent decades. Many of these are common species and Ceballos gave an example from close to home: "We used to have swallows nesting every year in my home near Mexico city – but for the last 10 years there are none."

The researchers also point to the "emblematic" case of the lion: "The lion was historically distributed over most of Africa, southern Europe, and the Middle East, all the way to northwestern India. [Now] the vast majority of lion populations are gone."

Read on at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/10/earths-sixth-mass-extinction-event-already-underway-scientists-warn

​​Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Health Care Personnel — United States, 2016–17 Influenza Season

Update: Below is the CDC summary of "​​Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among Health Care Personnel" but I would like to report that the current methods of ​​Influenza Vaccine have lead to the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine against any influenza illness of 48%. Among children 2 to 17 years of age, the inactivated influenza vaccine was 60% effective (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28792867)

CDC - Weekly The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends annual influenza vaccination for all health care personnel (HCP) to reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality in health care settings. For the 2015–16 influenza season, the estimated overall influenza vaccination coverage among health care personnel was 79.0%.

....Overall, vaccination coverage in 2016–17 was highest among physicians (95.8%), nurse practitioners and physician assistants (92.0%), nurses (92.6%), and pharmacists (93.7%), and lowest among other clinical HCP (80.0%), assistants and aides (69.1%), and nonclinical HCP (73.7%) (Table 1). However, in hospital settings, vaccination coverage was approximately 90% or higher in all occupational groups, including assistants and aides and nonclinical personnel.

Discussion: The overall influenza vaccination coverage estimate among HCP was 78.6% in the 2016–17 season, an increase of 15 percentage points since the 2010–11 season, but similar to the 2013–14 through 2015–16 seasons (5). As in previous seasons, the highest coverage was among HCP whose workplace had vaccination requirements. In the absence of requirements, HCP with vaccination available at their workplace had higher coverage than those without on-site vaccination. HCP working in hospital settings consistently reported higher vaccination coverage than did those working in other settings and were the most likely to report workplace vaccination requirements and on-site vaccination. Even in occupational groups with lower overall coverage (i.e., assistants, aides, and nonclinical personnel), hospital personnel reported vaccination coverage ≥90%. In the 2016–17 season, 93.7% of HCP working in hospital settings reported either having a vaccination requirement or having on-site vaccination for at least 1 day. Most vaccinated HCP reported being vaccinated at their place of work, underscoring the importance of workplace vaccination availability.

Read full at:

Sources and resources:
Carla L. Black, PhD1; Xin Yue; MPS, MS1; Sarah W. Ball, ScD2; Rebecca Fink, MPH2; Marie A. de Perio, MD3; A. Scott Laney, PhD4; Walter W. Williams, MD1; Megan C. Lindley, MPH1; Samuel B. Graitcer, MD1; Peng-Jun Lu, MD, PhD1; Rebecca Devlin, MA2; Stacie M. Greby, DVM1

Health and Safety Report - Tool Ergonomics, ​Dust Exposure, WHMIS Update and Workplace Mental Health workshop

Getting a Grip on Hand Tool Ergonomics

Using hand tools to install a ceiling fan, fix a car, or repair plumbing are just a few situations where you can find yourself working with tools held above your head, in tight spaces, and in awkward body positions for extended periods. By properly selecting and using hand tools, you can prevent serious injuries, musculoskeletal disorders and unnecessary suffering, as well as lost workdays.

For many workers, using hammers, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and other hand tools is part of their day-to-day work. Non-powered and powered hand tools, such as drills, are widely used in a variety of industries as well as at home.

Along with common injuries such as cuts and bruises, the frequent and extended use of hand tools can cause soreness, aches, pains, and fatigue, which, when ignored, can lead to chronic musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries or disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system, including muscles, tendons and nerves. Common examples of musculoskeletal disorders are tendonitis, tenosynovitis, bursitis, tennis elbow (epicondylitis), and carpal tunnel syndrome.

You can help reduce these types of injuries and work-related musculoskeletal disorders by choosing the right tool for the job and using it correctly.  Using a well-designed tool that fits your hand without causing awkward postures or harmful contact pressures, will help decrease the physical demand required to complete the task. If you use a tool that doesn't fit your hand or use it in a way in which it was not intended, you risk developing an injury.


Problems that result from prolonged usage of the wrong tool or the right tool used improperly can appear as symptoms such as tingling, swelling of joints, decreased ability to move, continual muscle fatigue, sore muscles, numbness, change in skin colour of your hands or fingertips, and pain from movement, pressure, or exposure to cold or vibration.

These symptoms may not appear immediately - they can develop over weeks, months, or years. By then, the damage may be serious, so it's important to take preventative action.


Static load, awkward working positions and postures, and tissue compression are all factors that can cause discomfort, fatigue and, eventually, musculoskeletal disorders.

Static load

Static load or effort occurs when you keep your muscles tense, motionless, elevated or extended for a period of time. Bending and twisting the neck or the whole torso can also increase static load considerably. When you add the exertion of force required by hand tools the static load can increase even further.

Static effort increases the pressure on muscles, tissues, tendons and ligaments. It reduces blood flow which can cause muscles to tire at a much quicker rate than they would when performing work involving movement. Statically loaded muscles are much more vulnerable to fatigue and subsequent injury than muscles which are performing dynamic work. Furthermore, muscles which are tired by static work take more than 10 times longer to recover from fatigue.

Awkward working positions and body postures

Hand tools can be useful when working in tight spaces and when access is difficult.  However, working in a tight space often means working in an awkward position. When the hand holds and uses a tool in an awkward position, it has less strength. When your arm is uncomfortable, the rest of your body is likely to be so as well, because it is natural to compensate for discomfort by trying to realign the body by bending the back, rounding the shoulders, tilting the neck, and so on. Awkward positions of the upper body increase the effort needed to complete the task. The resulting fatigue, discomfort, and pain add to the risk for developing injury.

Tissue compression

Using a hand tool requires a firm grip. However, if you are gripping too hard the resulting compression of soft tissue in the palm and fingers may obstruct blood circulation, resulting in numbness and tingling.


Selecting ergonomically designed tools and using them properly can help avoid pain and injury. This is particularly important when the job requires movements that are repetitive and forceful.

Some basic tips when using hand tools:

  • Select the right tool for the job. Substitutes increase the chance of having an accident.
  • Consider power tools for repetitive tasks, if appropriate.
  • Use tools designed to allow the wrist to stay straight. Avoid using hand tools with your wrist bent.
  • Use good quality tools.
  • Pull on a wrench or pliers. Never push unless you hold the tool with your palm open.

The best tool is one that:

  • Fits the job you are doing
  • Fits the work space available
  • Reduces the force you need to apply
  • Fits your hand
  • Can be used in a comfortable work position

Taking care and precautions up front can help to prevent a lot of pain and serious injury. 



Dust Exposure: Keep it Down!

Wood dust is more than just a nose irritant floating in the air of a workshop or lingering on the floor waiting to be cleaned up. Breathing in these tiny dust particles can be harmful and, over time, make you sick.

Working with wood, such as sawing, routing, and sanding, can create wood dust. When the dust becomes airborne, you are at risk of exposure and inhaling it into your lungs. This can happen when removing sawdust from furniture, during maintenance activities, or when cleaning equipment (for example, emptying the bag from a dust system or vacuum). Fine dust produced from processes such as shaping, routing and sanding are associated with higher exposure levels. Hardwoods (such as maple and oak) generally produce more dust than softwoods (for example, cedar and pine) when used in similar conditions. Dry wood tends to produce more dust than fresher woods.

Health effects

Exposure to wood dust has been associated with health issues due to the natural chemicals or substances in the wood such as bacteria, moulds, and fungi. Wood dust is also associated with toxic effects, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, dermatitis, and decreased lung capacity and allergic reactions. Wood dust exposure can cause asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, chronic bronchitis, and cancers in the nose and throat areas.   Understanding the potential health risks of breathing in wood dust can be an important step in addressing this workplace hazard and protecting workers from harm.

Workers at risk

Some occupations are at an increased risk for exposure to wood dust including logging, sawmill work, furniture and cabinet making, carpentry, cleaning or maintenance where wood dust is present, construction and shipbuilding.

Safety tips for working around wood dust

  • Educate and train employees about the hazards of wood dust exposure, safe work procedures, how to identify when a ventilation system is working appropriately, and the importance of control measures.
  • Read, understand, and follow health and safety information on the safety data sheet (where available and applicable).
  • Know the wood you are working with and all hazards associated with that wood.
  • Use wood with no, or fewer known, health effects where possible.
  • Reduce the amount of dust generated by reducing the need to cut or shape the wood.
  • Use an appropriately designed industrial ventilation system, including local ventilation exhaust and using high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters. The design of the ventilation system will depend on the equipment being used (sanders, shapers, routers, saws, etc.).
  • Use on-tool dust extraction systems.
  • Keep tools and blades sharp. Dull blades may release more dust into the air.
  • Be aware that you can be highly exposed to dust when cleaning (for example, emptying dust bags) or maintaining equipment.
  • Practice good housekeeping, and keep surfaces and floors clear.
  • Use wet clean-up methods such as wiping surfaces with a wet rag or mop or use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to avoid re-introducing the dust into the air.
  • Avoid using compressed air to blow dust off of furniture, equipment or clothing.
  • Bag and seal dust waste to prevent dust from re-entering the air.
  • To prevent a combustible dust explosion, don't allow wood dust to accumulate, including on ledges, ceiling beams, light fixtures, and hidden areas.
  • Wear respiratory protection when appropriate.
  • Use protective clothing and gloves to reduce skin exposure.
  • Wash or shower to remove dust from skin. Wash hands and face when finished a task, and before eating, drinking or smoking. Clean clothes by washing or using a vacuum when washing facilities are not available.


Additional Resources:

New OHS Legislation App for Saskatchewan

For thousands of homebuilding, commercial and industrial construction companies and workers in Saskatchewan, accessing provincial health and safety regulations and employment legislation just got easier. A new app from the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association (SCSA), Guide to OHS Legislation, is intended to help Saskatchewan employers and employees understand and comply with the legislative obligations within their workplaces. Each of the guide's 20 topics includes a summary and related resources such as hazard alerts and safety talks.

 "The OHS Regulations and Saskatchewan Employment Act are more than 500 pages in length. While workers, supervisors, and other managers are required to adhere to the Regulations and Act, it is often impractical for people to carry such a massive document in their back pocket" says Collin Pullar, president of the SCSA. "We felt that there was a need for a quick reference tool that focussed on some of the most common issues in construction safety with direct reference to the Regulations and Act. From the onset, we determined that the tool had to contain brief, plain language summaries and links to additional resources and training that employers and workers could benefit from. It had to be accessible anywhere and to anyone."

The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association collaborated with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to develop the mobile app as well as a web-based version.

You can download the app from either the Apple App Store or Google Play. To check out the web-based version visit: http://ohsguide.scsaonline.ca.

Podcasts: WHMIS 2015 Update: Tips to Transition

This month's featured podcast is an interview with CCOHS' Jennifer Dipper, who shares WHMIS 2015 transition tips and information.

Feature Podcast: WHMIS 2015 Update: Tips to Transition

In this episode, Jennifer Dipper, Supervisor of General Health and Safety Services at the CCOHS shares WHMIS 2015 transition tips and key information workplaces need to know about meeting the new deadlines.

The podcast runs 7:24 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.

Encore Podcast: Ergonomic Risk Factors of Office Work

While office work may seem harmless, prolonged sitting, typing on a keyboard and using a mouse for hours at a time every day can set the stage for musculoskeletal injuries. In this podcast, CCOHS explains the three ergonomic risk factors of office work.

The podcast runs 4:36 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.


CCOHS produces free monthly podcasts on a wide variety of topics designed to keep you current with information, tips, and insights into the health, safety, and well-being of working Canadians. You can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player and listen to it at your own convenience... or on the go!

See the complete list of podcast topics. Better yet, subscribe to the series on iTunes and don't miss a single episode

 Saint John Workshop Offers Practical Approach to Address Workplace Mental Health

Mental health is a key component of a healthy workplace. And as part of healthy workplace, employers are required to protect their employees and address all workplace hazards, including psychosocial hazards. Many organizations, including the federal government, are committed to implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace as part of their health and safety programs.  To help organizations advance from awareness to action, CCOHS is conducting a practical one-day workshop, "Creating Your Healthy Workplace".

This workshop will equip leaders and champions of mental health with the framework, tools and resources they need to develop and implement a comprehensive healthy workplace program that addresses mental health.

Promoting a workplace culture that balances work, life, safety, health and wellness brings many rewards, including a more enjoyable and productive work environment, and happier, healthier employees who feel encouraged, supported and rewarded for their efforts.

Workshop details

October 3, 2017 from 8:30 am to 4 pm
Delta Hotels by Marriott, 39 King Street, Saint John, New Brunswick

$425 per person; materials, refreshments and lunch included

Register online. Space is limited.