November 3, 2014 | Volume 12, Number 21

OSHA Begins National Dialogue on Chemical Safety

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a national dialogue with stakeholders to help protect workers from hazardous substances on the job.

To start the dialogue, OSHA released a Request for Information (RFI), asking for comments on chemical safety and for measures in updating permissible exposure limits (PELs).

Ninety-five percent of current PELs have not been updated since 1971 and tens of thousands of chemicals used in industries do not have PELs.

Under the RFI, OSHA is seeking comments on:

  • Streamlined approaches for risk assessment and feasibility analyses
  • Alternative approaches for chemical exposure management, including control banding and informed substitution.

For more information, read OSHA’s press release or visit the dedicated website.

Study: Smoking Related to 14 Million Major Medical Conditions

American adults have about 14 million cases of serious, smoking-related medical conditions, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

These medical conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • 4.3 million cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • 2.3 million cases of heart attacks
  • 1.8 million cases of diabetes

The study used the National Health Interview Survey Data to obtain 2006-2012 statistics on smoking prevalence, disease prevalence, and disease relative risk estimates. The study also relied on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to get spirometry data from 2007 to 2010 and adjust for underreporting of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Participants of the study were adults aged 35 and up. For more information, read the full paper.

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Study: Sandwiches Make Up One-Fifth of Americans’ Sodium Intake

Americans get 20 percent of their sodium from sandwiches, according to a study by researchers from the Department of Agriculture. About half of American adults, aged 20 years and up, eat a sandwich on any given day.

Dietary guidelines recommend a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium a day. The amount drops to 1,500 mg for specific groups, including those who have high blood pressure and diabetes.

Previous studies had underestimated Americans’ sodium intake since those studies definition of a sandwich was much narrower than the new research.

The study also reveals that sandwich eaters consume 300 kilocalories more than those who do not eat a sandwich.

For more information, read the press release from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics or view the article abstract.

The study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

BLS Corrects 2011 and 2012 Safety Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified errors in 2011 and 2012 data for national-level, private-sector, nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.

According to the BLS, these press releases feature incorrect data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses:

  • Industry counts and frequency rates
  • Nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.

View this page for a complete list. The BLS attributes the errors to data processing errors and reports that “as of October 23rd…state and local government estimates at the national level were minimally affected…” while state estimates were not.

The news releases containing the incorrect information will not be updated, but the BLS promised revisions to the time series data.

Because of the error, the BLS will delay the release of the 2013 editions of “Occupational Injuries and Illnesses” and “Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work.”

For more information, read the BLS announcement.

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