Blog Profile / The Pump Handle

Filed Under:Health / Epidemiology
Posts on Regator:719
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:November 9, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Worker safety, consumer protections trumped by USDA plan to privatize pork inspections

USDA announced today a proposal to allow pork producers to run their slaughtering lines as fast as they want in exchange for conducting their own food safety inspections. It’s a warped example of cost-benefit analysis and one that could have serious consequences for workers and consumers. Under the plan, the cost to companies of self-inspecting [...]

After years of steady progress, America’s uninsured rate begins climbing back up

Despite constant undermining from the Trump administration, nearly 8.8 million Americans got covered during the last open enrollment period on That’s nearly as high as the previous enrollment period, and a testament to people’s desire for health coverage. Still, it seems the administration’s actions didn’t go without impact.

Farmworker research in a climate hostile to immigrants

President Trump’s despicable comments about immigrants got me thinking about the challenge of conducting research with farmworkers about working conditions. Many are unauthorized or have guestworker visas and likely reluctant to participate.

Florida, California workers and acute kidney injury

Two new papers describe the relationship between heat strain, dehydration, and acute kidney injury among U.S. farmworkers. The research describes a current health hazard that will only get worse with heat waves and the changing clim...

ProPublica’s exploration of why black mothers are more likely to die

ProPublica’s Lost Mothers series on U.S. maternal mortality recently turned its attention to the shockingly high rates of deaths in black women when compared to women of other races and ethnicities.

Study: Washington’s parental counseling law drove vaccine exemptions down 40 percent

On the risk of vaccine exemptions, the science is clear — it would take a relatively small decline in immunization rates to produce big jumps in disease and health care spending. The trick is keeping communities above the danger threshold.

National Academies report “dire need” for robust occupational health surveillance system

A report released on January 9 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls on federal and state agencies to establish and strengthen the systems for assembling data on work-related injuries, illnesses, and exposure to hazards and then using the information for prevention. The 12-person committee included public health researchers, state officials, as [...]

Occupational Health News Roundup

Sanitation workers in the meatpacking industry face life-threatening dangers on the job; number of OSHA inspectors down under Trump; truckers feel the pressure to work while sleep-deprived; and despite increased demand for sexual harassment training, there's little evidence it actually works.

Industry schooled by Appeals Court, rejects its challenge to workers safety rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled late last month to uphold an OSHA rule to protect 2.3 million workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. A three judge panel was not convinced by any of the arguments to reject the OSHA rule that were made by attorneys for the National [...]

Worth reading: The census, sexual assault, and “Trump’s disdain for science”

Recent pieces address how Trump administration moves threaten the census response rate, AIDS prevention efforts, and other crucial work that depends on science; delve into statistics on sexual assault in the US; investigate the working conditions behind Ivanka Trump-branded clothing and accessories; and consider how human bodies and healthcare systems maintain themselves.

Happy Holidays from The Pump Handle

The Pump Handle will be on vacation until January 2, 2018.  Wishing you happy holidays and good health in the New Year.

OSHA omits news in news release

An OSHA news release about a $545,000 settlement with Marshall Pottery was strange to me. The agency hadn't previously announced the willful violations and $830,000 proposed penalty to the firm related to the death earlier this year of employee Arturo Tovar.

Morris’ “Death in the Trench” personalizes latest worker fatality data from BLS

The Center for Public Integrity's Jim Morris writes a soulful account of a plumber named Jim Spencer who was fatally injured on-the-job in 2016. Read it before looking at the new BLS data on the 5,190 worker fatalities from the same year.

CDC instructed not to use seven words, including “evidence-based,” in budget documents

We’re fully into Orwellian territory now. The Washington Post’s Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin reported Friday evening that a group of CDC employees were told not to use seven words in official budget documents: “vulnerable,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”

Nonsense from Trump on cutting regulations, shows no love for coal miners

President Trump boasted yesterday at a photo op of his plans to cut the "red tape of regulations." His regulatory agenda ignores his crush on coal miners by threatening current rules to prevent black lung disease.

Work-related injuries 60 percent higher than Labor Department estimates

Hospital records and workers' compensation data from Michigan reveals many more crushing-type injuries occur on the job than suggested by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Health News Roundup

An Oklahoma rehab center funnels forced free labor into private industry; the National Labor Relations Board reconsiders Obama-era union election rules; farmworkers at risk from California's wildfire smoke; and domestic workers organize for greater labor rights in Seattle.

Worth reading: Maternal mortality, hurricanes, and workplace sexual harassment

Recent pieces address why black women in the US are so much more likely to die during or after childbirth; death and disease in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; and several aspects of workplace sexual harassment, from problems in specific industries to solutions from leaders in their fields.

Government auditors validate safety complaints from meat and poultry workers

An investigation by GAO of the meatpacking and poultry industry validates concerns raised by workers about fear of losing their jobs if they report safety problems, and being denied access to the bathroom and proper medical care for injuries.

Advocates: Trump’s proposed budget cuts are a ‘white flag of surrender’ in global HIV/AIDS fight

On the day before World AIDS Day, the White House put out a statement saying “we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat.” Advocates are waiting — and hoping for — that same sentiment to materialize into policy.

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