Feb 27, 2020

Screening for Lung Cancer — annually 148,869 lung cancer-associated deaths

CDC - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual lung cancer screening for adults aged 55–80 years who have a ≥30 pack-year cigarette smoking history and currently smoke or have quit <15 years ago.

What is added by this report?

In 10 states, one in eight persons aged 55–80 years met USPSTF criteria, and, among those meeting USPSTF criteria, only one in eight reported a lung cancer screening exam in the last 12 months.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Public health initiatives to prevent cigarette smoking, increase smoking cessation, and increase recommended lung cancer screening could help reduce lung cancer mortality.

The figure is a visual abstract with text describing that lung cancer screening saves lives and the need for increased screening when recommended.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States; 148,869 lung cancer-associated deaths occurred in 2016 (1). Mortality might be reduced by identifying lung cancer at an early stage when treatment can be more effective (2). In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (CT) for adults aged 55–80 years who have a 30 pack-year* smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years (2). This was a Grade B recommendation, which required health insurance plans to cover lung cancer screening as a preventive service.§ To assess the prevalence of lung cancer screening by state, CDC used Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data collected in 2017 by 10 states.** Overall, 12.7% adults aged 55–80 years met the USPSTF criteria for lung cancer screening. Among those meeting USPSTF criteria, 12.5% reported they had received a CT scan to check for lung cancer in the last 12 months. Efforts to educate health care providers and provide decision support tools might increase recommended lung cancer screening.

Read on at:


Be Ready for New Strains on Worker Health

CCOHS- The identification of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China in late 2019 has highlighted the need for workplaces in Canada to follow good practices to minimize the potential for infection. Coronaviruses are a large family of common viruses that are typically associated with mild illnesses. However, novel strains can develop into serious diseases, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronaviruses are common in animals, but in rare cases, the virus can evolve to infect people, then spread from person-to-person. The route of transmission is not always known, but the viruses are generally thought to spread by respiratory droplets when people are in close contact.

People caring for individuals with a coronavirus are at the greatest risk for contracting the disease such as health care workers and others who work close to their clients or patients. However, everyone can adopt good hygiene practices to minimize the potential for infection.

Prevent the spread

Workplaces can promote the adoption of many good hygiene practices that will help prevent the spread of any virus or infection, including the flu. The most important day-to-day action everyone can take is proper and regular hand washing with soap and water. Individuals should use tissues, or cough and sneeze into their arm or elbow (not their hand) while turning away from other people. Dispose of used tissues and wash your hands right away. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially after you have touched surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails that others have touched. Avoid sharing cups, glasses, dishes and cutlery, and wash your dishes with soap and water immediately after use. If a vaccine is available, encourage everyone to get the shot, or consider setting up a mini clinic for convenience and coverage.

Have a policy in place

Workplaces should have a policy in place that outlines requirements to follow when people may be sick, or when they are absent because they are caring for others. This policy should indicate how the individual will notify the workplace of their situation. Let workers know they can and should stay home if they are not feeling well. Workplaces must plan for these absences as well as for possible increases and decreases in business, and for changes in how they do their business. Provide cross-training for coverage of job duties, and make sure that workers are comfortable performing these added job tasks and responsibilities. Employers should also stay up to date on the latest situation by monitoring public health agency websites and keep everyone informed.

Develop an infection control plan

In addition to having a policy in place, workplaces (non-healthcare) can set up an infection control plan that includes providing clean hand washing facilities, or alcohol-based sanitizers when regular facilities are not available, for example to workers on the road. Objects that are touched frequently, including doorknobs, handles, and railings, should be cleaned more often using regular disinfectants or soap and water.  If a person has been suspected or identified with an infection, employers should clean that person's station, along with other areas where they have been. Ventilation systems should be checked for proper functioning.

Provide boxes of tissue throughout the workplace and encourage its use by displaying good hygiene practice posters. Consider temporarily removing magazines and papers from waiting areas or common rooms. Use social distancing techniques as necessary to minimize contact. Conduct business via telephone or online, allow employees to work from home, and encourage flexible work hours to avoid peak public transportation times and crowding the workplace.



The World Congress on Safety and Health at Work Invites the World Through its Fellowship Program

CCOHS- The XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, taking place October 4-7, 2020 in Toronto, Canada, is offering a fellowship program to help support occupational safety and health professionals from developing countries in attending the global prevention event.

Successful program applicants will receive funding for the costs of travel to the Congress, accommodations, and the Congress registration fee. Partial fellowships may also be granted.

The fellowship application process is open until April 15. For more information, visit the Congress website.

The 2020 World Congress is organized by the International Labour Organization and the International Social Security Association and is co-hosted by CCOHS and the Institute for Work and Health.

Feb 26, 2020

EU Publishes New Classification for Titanium Dioxide Via Inhalation

On Feb. 18, the European Commission published a regulation classifying titanium dioxide (TiO2) containing greater than 1% respirable dust content by inhalation as a Category 2 [Animal] Carcinogen. This action follows the fall decision by CARACAL— the expert group that advises the European Commission and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on questions related to REACH and CLP — the EU's chemicals classification and labeling regulations. Notably, the Category 2 cancer hazard classification by respirable dust inhalation has been focused on conveying that specific hazard where respirable dust exposures occur (i.e., exposure to particles less than 10 µm in diameter).

For TiO2 in formulated products — like liquid paints — this distinction mitigates the required hazard warnings somewhat; it does, however, retain them for powder coatings since they may contain more than 1% of respirable dust size particles.

The requirements for labeling in the new regulation will  be enforced  after Sept. 9, 2021.

Despite repeated efforts made by TiO2 manufacturers and end users, as well as by trade groups that represent them, including substantial efforts by ACA and other World Coatings Council members, the EU adopted this regulation that will impose onerous new labeling requirements  for many products containing TiO2, leading to market unease, with implications for product quality, performance and waste management.

Read full from source:


Stimulating summer class focusing on military as specialized workplace

Are you looking for an outstanding 1 credit summer class that addresses military exposures, veterans health, and service-linked policies?  This course is ideal for you!  It is designed to appeal to students from many disciplines, including those from *outside* of GWU.  We can certainly accommodate students wishing to participate online.

Summer II 2020 - PubH 6199
Veterans, Deployment & Environmental Issues - 1 credit - Dr. David Goldsmith

Note that this class meets on Monday evenings,
6:10pm - 8:40pm, June 29 until Aug 3, 2020

For more information, please email Dr. Goldsmith (dgoldsmi@gwu.edu),

This course examines the current, historical and future policy concerns about military exposures and the risks of illness among deployed troops and military veterans. The class will emphasize troops' exposure during Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.  It will examine the roles of DOD, the Veterans Administration, medical researchers, and the National Academy of Medicine in health protection, exposure monitoring, health and cancer research, and policies regarding service-connected disabilities. Current topics--such as sexual assault, the increase of women vets, and delays in VA disability benefits, burn pits, suicide, and PTSD/traumatic brain injuries--will be included.  Students will write a paper and make a short presentation on a topic of interest. There is *no* exam.

This class will be a difference-maker for anyone seeking a job at the Veterans Administration (VA) or with Tricare, or who seeks a research or policy position that addresses the health of active duty military or veterans.

Examples of current stories that will be covered in the course

Sexual Violence Victims Say Military Justice System Is 'Broken'

Privatization of VA health care.

The wars' toll on female Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

Feb 11, 2020

Department of Energy Invests $74 Million in Building and Construction Technologies and Innovations

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $74 million for 63 selected projects to research, develop, and test energy-efficient and flexible building technologies, systems, and construction practices to improve the energy performance of our Nation's buildings and electric grid. Awardees include National Laboratories, universities, small businesses, and industry partners.

America's 125 million residential and commercial buildings use more energy than any other sector in the United States, accounting for 40% of the Nation's energy use and nearly 75% of its electricity consumption. The research partnerships announced today will pursue new technologies to enhance the energy productivity of buildings and improve the capacity of buildings to operate more flexibly.

"DOE is accelerating its quest to improve the energy productivity and flexibility of America's residential and commercial buildings," said Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R Simmons. "We're renewing our commitment to develop state-of-the-art building technologies that will empower Americans with more options to enhance buildings performance quickly without disruption to their lives." 

Many of the projects announced today will advance technologies to unlock deep energy savings through grid interactive efficient buildings and advanced building construction technologies and practices, without sacrificing the comfort of building occupants or the performance of labor-saving devices and equipment. For example, the grid interactive efficient building projects will make advances in technologies to link buildings to one another across the internet and the power grid, which would enable a greater degree of flexibility over conventional buildings to reschedule operations to periods of the day when energy is cheaper and more efficient to use.

Crucially, those projects are also required to address the cybersecurity of flexible buildings and verify the performance of their equipment. Other projects will focus on developing novel thermal energy storage materials, advancements in non-vapor compression HVAC technologies, fuel-driven building equipment, and solid-state lighting.

Learn more about these projects from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy HERE and HERE.

Department of Energy Awards $187 Million to Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $187 million in funding, including $48 million of cost share, for 55 projects in 25 states to support innovative advanced manufacturing research and development. These projects address high-impact manufacturing technology, materials, and process challenges that advance the Trump Administration's goal to strengthen domestic manufacturing competitiveness and position the U.S. for global leadership in advanced manufacturing.

"The manufacturing sector is on the leading edge of American innovation and plays an integral role in our economy," said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. "By investing in advanced manufacturing projects that enhance energy productivity, we're supporting the competitiveness of the entire U.S. manufacturing industry."

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office will provide funding for projects in the following three topic areas:

  • Innovations for the Manufacture of Advanced Materials: $124.6 million for 36 projects focused on new, low-cost manufacturing processes to catalyze domestic battery manufacturing, phase-change storage materials for heating and cooling applications, and the development of innovative materials for harsh service conditions.


  • Lower Thermal Budget Processes for Industrial Efficiency & Productivity: $28.7 million for 8 projects to conduct novel research on industrial process heating and drying technologies to increase energy efficiency and product quality. These projects are related to process heating which accounts for 70% of all manufacturing process energy use.


  • Connected, Flexible and Efficient Manufacturing Facilities and Energy Systems: $33.5 million for 11 projects that support more efficient industrial power conversion equipment, new opportunities for converting process energy to electrical energy while better integrating with the electrical grid, and projects that build upon recent advances in new, wide-bandgap semiconductors supported by DOE. A number of projects will also support advancements in combined heat and power, energy-efficient technologies for simultaneous onsite production of electricity and heat, as well as address technical challenges in district energy systems.

As part of the first topic, the selections include $65.9 million toward lowering the cost of battery energy storage through manufacturing innovation, as part of DOE's Energy Storage Grand Challenge, recently announced by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. The Grand Challenge will accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in energy storage. The battery manufacturing selections were co-funded by EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office and with support from the Vehicle Technologies Office.

Read more about the individual projects HERE.

Coronavirus Rare Incubation of 24 Days Means quarantines need to be 6 weeks long instead of 3 weeks.

Feb 6, 2020

EPA Hires Wisconsin Environmental Rockstar as Administrator for EPA's Region 5!

(FET) EPA Names new Administrator for Region 5 Kurt Thiede of Wisconsin has been named regional administrator for EPA Region 5, overseeing environmental protection efforts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.
He comes to this role with extensive experience promoting and protecting the environmental health of the Great Lakes region.
He is an 18year veteran of WDNR, and previously spent four years as the administrator for the Land Division. 
He has a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management and biology from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, and in 2016 he received an outstanding alumnus award from their school of natural resources.

Read more about Mr. Thiede at EPA:

Feb 4, 2020

Energy Department Announces $18.8 Million for Hydrothermal and Low Temperature Geothermal Research

(DOE) the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $18.8 million toward the research and development (R&D) of innovative subsurface geothermal technologies. DOE's Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) will fund up to six projects focused on two topic areas:
  • Topic 1: Exploration RD&D: Hidden Geothermal Systems in the Basin and Range; and
  • Topic 2: Advanced Energy Storage Initiative (AESI): Bi-directional Energy Storage Using Low-Temperature Geothermal Applications.

This multi-topic funding opportunity aims to drive down costs and risks associated with the discovery of hidden geothermal systems in the Basin & Range region of the western U.S., and to enhance energy system resilience through utilization of Reservoir Thermal Energy Storage (RTES), Deep Direct-Use (DDU), and other geothermal direct use applications. These applications can be deployed at military installations, hospital complexes, and other large energy end-uses across the U.S., such as university campuses.

Read full at DOE

Feb 3, 2020

Anhydrous Ammonia Chemical Release — Lake County, Illinois, April 2019

On April 25, 2019, a farm tractor towing two 2-ton ammonia tanks on a county road in Lake County, Illinois, experienced a mechanical failure that resulted in the release of anhydrous ammonia, a colorless, pungent, irritating gas that can cause severe respiratory and ocular damage (1). Approximately 80% of anhydrous ammonia produced in the United States is used as a fertilizer in agriculture (1). Eighty-three persons, including first responders, motorists, and neighborhood residents, were evaluated at area hospitals because of exposure to the gas. Two weeks after the release, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and CDC's National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) collaborated with the Lake County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health on an investigation using ATSDR's Assessment of Chemical Exposures program to describe the release, review the emergency response, and determine health effects associated with the exposure. First responders, community residents, and hospital personnel reported communication challenges related to the nature of the gas release and effective protective measures. Among the 83 persons evaluated at six area hospitals for effects of the chemical release, 14 (17%) were hospitalized, including eight (10%) who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), seven (8%) of whom required endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation; no deaths occurred. In addition, ICU health care providers experienced symptoms of secondary exposure. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance Program has specific recommendations and tools to protect responders during all phases of a response (2). Hospitals also need to review institutional policies and procedures for chemical mass casualty events, including decontamination (3). Prompt and correct identification of hazardous material (hazmat) events, and clear communication among responding entities, including on-scene and hospital responders, is important to ensure effective response after a chemical release.