Nov 12, 2019

Severe lung disease characterized by lymphocytic bronchiolitis, alveolar ductitis, and emphysema (BADE) in industrial machine‐manufacturing workers

Previously healthy male never smokers, ages 27 to 50, developed chest symptoms from 1995 to 2012 while working in the facility's production areas. Patients had an insidious onset of cough, wheeze, and exertional dyspnea; airflow obstruction (mean FEV1 = 44% predicted) and reduced diffusing capacity (mean = 53% predicted); and radiologic centrilobular emphysema. Lung tissue demonstrated a unique pattern of bronchiolitis and alveolar ductitis with B‐cell follicles lacking germinal centers, and significant emphysema for never‐smokers. All had chronic dyspnea, three had a progressive functional decline, and one underwent lung transplantation. Patients reported no unusual nonoccupational exposures. No cases were identified among nonproduction workers or in the community. Endotoxin concentrations were elevated in two air samples; otherwise, exposures were below occupational limits. Air flowed from areas where machining occurred to other production areas. Metalworking fluid primarily grew Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes and lacked mycobacterial DNA, but 16S analysis revealed more complex bacterial communities.
Conclusion

This cluster indicates a previously unrecognized occupational lung disease of yet uncertain etiology that should be considered in manufacturing workers (particularly never‐smokers) with airflow obstruction and centrilobular emphysema. Investigation of additional cases in other settings could clarify the cause and guide prevention.

Artificial intelligence: Implications for the future of work and cognitive decision support systems (DSSs).

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a broad transdisciplinary field with roots in logic, statistics, cognitive psychology, decision theory, neuroscience, linguistics, cybernetics, and computer engineering. The modern field of AI began at a small summer workshop at Dartmouth College in 1956. Since then, AI applications made possible by machine learning (ML), an AI subdiscipline, include Internet searches, e‐commerce sites, goods and services recommender systems, image and speech recognition, sensor technologies, robotic devices, and cognitive decision support systems (DSSs). As more applications are integrated into everyday life, AI is predicted to have a globally transformative influence on economic and social structures similar to the effect that other general‐purpose technologies, such as steam engines, railroads, electricity, electronics, and the Internet, have had. Novel AI applications in the workplace of the future raise important issues for occupational safety and health. This commentary reviews the origins of AI, use of ML methods, and emerging AI applications embedded in physical objects like sensor technologies, robotic devices, or operationalized in intelligent DSSs. Selected implications on the future of work arising from the use of AI applications, including job displacement from automation and management of human‐machine interactions, are also reviewed. Engaging in strategic foresight about AI workplace applications will shift occupational research and practice from a reactive posture to a proactive one. Understanding the possibilities and challenges of AI for the future of work will help mitigate the unfavorable effects of AI on worker safety, health, and well‐being.

Read full at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23037

Draft Risk Evaluation for Methylene Chloride for TSCA

In the October 2019 draft risk evaluation for methylene chloride (MC), EPA reviewed a suite of potential MC exposures and made initial determinations on risk. These preliminary determinations may change as EPA's evaluation becomes more refined through the public comment and peer review processes. Below are the draft risk evaluation and supporting documents for MC

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft risk evaluation for 60 days until December 30, 2019, in docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2019-0437. EPA will also hold a peer review meeting of EPA's Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) on the draft risk evaluation for this chemical's conditions of use on December 3-4, 2019

Read about the steps EPA is taking in the risk evaluation process for MC.

Learn more about EPA's risk evaluation process.

Nov 6, 2019

DOE Announces $24.9 Million Funding Selections to Advance Hydropower and Water Technologies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced selections for up to $24.9 million in funding to drive innovative, industry-led technology solutions to advance the marine and hydrokinetics industry and increase hydropower's ability to serve as a flexible grid resource. Innovative water power technologies have the potential to increase the affordability of hydropower and marine energy. Selected projects will also strengthen U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and build on department-wide initiatives to improve the capability of technologies to deliver value to the grid.

Projects were selected across four Areas of Interest (AOI)—Hydropower Operational Flexibility, Low-Head Hydropower and In-Stream Hydrokinetic Technologies, Advancing Wave Energy Device Design, and Marine Energy Centers Research Infrastructure Upgrades.

"Hydropower is a valuable national resource and these technologies will make it an even more competitive clean energy option to invest in the Blue Economy," said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. "These awards are another example of this Administration reaffirming its commitment to an 'all-of-the-above' energy policy to the benefit of the entire nation."


Read full at:

https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-announces-249-million-funding-selections-advance-hydropower-and-water-technologies