Volume 4 Number 3 July 2006
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Strategies After Hurricanes, Floods Outlined
NIOSH Issues Review,
Recommendations on Refractory Ceramic Fibers
Topic Pages Named Best-of-the Web
Laboratory adopts NIOSH Methods
National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory Update
Health Hazard Evaluations
In a February 28, 2006, letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, members of the New York Congressional delegation were informed that Secretary Leavitt had asked me to take a lead role for coordinating the World Trade Center (WTC) health response programs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This role builds on NIOSH’s involvement, since 2002, in funding health programs for screening, monitoring and treating WTC responders. In carrying out the Secretary’s request, I have been working closely with federal, state and local agencies, private organizations, responders, clinics, and others to develop a roadmap for coordinating current and future programs.
I would like to share with you the goals I have set for accomplishing this task and to describe some of the activities where NIOSH and our partners are actively engaged. These goals fall into four general categories.
We are also working with the following two groups:
We are actively working to identify unmet needs of the WTC responders and those living or working near the WTC site on September 11, 2001. Currently, we are exploring the development of a case tracking system, a means of identifying individuals with health problems or who have died and are not in the existing medical monitoring programs. There is no existing monitoring and treatment program for the residents of the lower Manhattan and Brooklyn areas, and we have identified this as an unmet need.
Just as we at NIOSH strive to present our research to our professional colleagues at scientific conferences and in scientific journals, we want to increase the number of clinicians and providers participating in the monitoring, screening and treatment programs who report their findings in the scientific literature.
Unfortunately, no master list is available of those who responded to the WTC attack. Therefore, fully determining who responded to aid in the rescue, recovery, clean-up, and restoration efforts is virtually impossible at our current state of knowledge. Maintaining a master list of this type is one of the first lessons learned that became apparent as our coordination efforts started.
for limiting exposures to mold and preventing mold-related health effects
in the aftermath of hurricanes and storms are outlined by scientists
and engineers from NIOSH and partner agencies in the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an article published in the
June 9, 2006, issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report notes that, for most people, undisturbed mold is not a substantial
health hazard. It is a greater hazard for persons with conditions
such as impaired host defenses or mold allergies. To prevent
exposure that could result in adverse health effects from disturbed
mold, persons should 1) avoid areas where mold contamination is obvious,
2) use environmental controls, 3) use personal protective equipment,
and 4) keep hands, skin, and clothing clean and free from mold-contaminated
dust, the article recommends. The article is available on-line
comprehensive scientific document on occupational exposures to refractory
ceramic fibers is now available from NIOSH. The document provides
a thorough critical review of scientific information concerning occupational
exposures to refractory ceramic fibers, recommends an exposure limit
to address potential work-related health effects, and outlines a recommended
strategy to minimize exposures in the workplace. The document, Criteria
for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Refractory Ceramic
Fibers, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2006-123, incorporates an
intensive NIOSH evaluation of the published scientific literature,
as reflected by more than 230 cited references. It also incorporates
comments by independent scientific peer-reviewers and diverse stakeholder
representatives. NIOSH estimates that approximately 31,500 workers
are potentially exposed to refractory ceramic fibers during manufacturing,
distribution, handling, installation, and removal of these materials. Refractory
ceramic fibers are synthetic fibers produced by the melting and blowing
or spinning of calcined kaolin clay or a combination of alumina, silicon
dioxide, or other oxides. They are used in commercial applications
requiring lightweight insulation that is capable of withstanding high
temperatures, such as furnace and kiln insulation. The document is
available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2006-123.
NIOSH Topic Pages on interstitial lung disease have
received a rating of “excellent” by
the American Thoracic Society. The five-star review on the society’s
web site at http://www.thoracic.org/sections/clinical-information/best-of-the-web/pages/interstitial-lung-disease.html rated
sites according to their authority, timeliness, accuracy, utility and
navigation. According to the review conducted by
Dr. Charlie Strange of the Medical University of South Carolina, the
NIOSH Web sites “contain a wealth of information concerning occupational
lung diseases.” The review singled out the NIOSH WoRLD
Surveillance Report, citing the usefulness of its county-level
occupational mortality data. The WoRLD Surveillance Report can
be accessed at http://www2a.cdc.gov/drds/WorldReportData.
technical methods for lead sampling and analysis were incorporated
recently into standard procedures used by the U.S. Department of Energy’s
Brookhaven National Laboratory. A world-renowned laboratory overseen
and funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy,
Brookhaven conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental
sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security.
The Industrial Hygiene Group in Brookhaven’s Safety
and Health Services Division incorporated the NIOSH Method 9110 on Lead
in Surface Wipes into its surface wipe sampling procedure. Also
referenced in one of the laboratory’s standard operating procedures
is NIOSH Method 7702, Lead by Field Portable XRF for Detection of LBP
(Lead based paint) by the Niton XL300 XRF Meter and Lead in Wipe Samples
by Niton XL700 X-Ray Fluorescence Meter.
June 29 notice alerts users that a respirator represented by the manufacturer
as NIOSH-approved has not in fact been approved by NIOSH. A June
30 notice alerts users that NIOSH has voided approvals for two other
devices. View additional information at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/ .
Hardesty, who retired from Federal Service in 1981 after a distinguished
career as a public information officer for NIOSH and other agencies
of the U.S. Public Health Service, passed away May 23, 2006, at his
home in Ashland, OR. A pioneering communicator
in the field of occupational safety and health, he joined the federal
government in 1955 and served as the NIOSH press officer in the late
1970s. His wife Alice, who survives him, conducted internationally
recognized research in what is now the NIOSH Division of Applied Research
and Technology on the subject of work-related hearing-loss prevention.
|Two NIOSH designed field methods for detecting methamphetamine now commercially available.
NIOSH scientists recently partnered with SKC Inc., a prominent manufacturer of sampling technologies, to commercialize two low-cost, NIOSH-designed field methods to help first responders, public health officials, and remediation workers quickly detect the presence of methamphetamine on various environmental surfaces. Now, a single sampling technique can be used to detect trace levels of the illicit drug on surfaces, or used to evaluate decontamination efforts or clearance.
The kits are available from SKC Inc. at http://www.meth-wipe.com. Mention of this company’s name does not constitute a NIOSH commercial endorsement.
NORA Symposium highlights now available on the Web
OSHA debuts electronic Spanish-language Newsletter
with Cement Roofing Tiles: A Silica Hazard DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 2006-110
Health Hazard Evaluations
Respiratory Protection of Healthcare Workers and Emergency Responders
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children at Work and Play
International Conference on Nanotechnology Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety: Research to Practice
lung disease is a general term used to describe a
group of chronic lung diseases which affect the deepest parts of
the lungs, where oxygen is transferred into the blood stream. Many
of these diseases are caused by the inhalation of dusts or fumes,
such as asbestosis, coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, silicosis,
and bronchiolitis obliterans.