Occupational Health and Safety
Section Newsletter
Fall 2003

CHAIR’S MESSAGE

APHA needs new members!
So, before I begin, I’d like to request that all you readers please cut and paste the following paragraphs into an e-mail to non-member colleagues, especially those working in government. Feel free to modify, and please follow up after you send:

Why should occupational safety and health professionals join APHA?
APHA provides one of the few venues for true cross-disciplinary interaction, with working groups of occupational health nurses and industrial hygienists enriching the section, along with the active participation of physicians, public health specialists, health educators, social scientists, academicians, public health practitioners, students, union activists and others. It also enables us to connect to the larger world of public health and, through the active development of organizational policy, places the resources of its 50,000 members in the service of occupational health and safety. During this past year, APHA’s executive director, Dr. Georges Benjamin, has written to support the Washington State ergonomics standard, lobbied to include worker protection in the smallpox vaccination program, invoked the APHA policy supporting OSHA’s proposed TB rule, and co-sponsored (with NIOSH) the National Occupational Research Agenda's June Symposium. We need better integration to encourage APHA to focus on OHS budgets to the same extent they do CDC’s and to continue to integrate OHS into public health, but we need more members to accomplish that.

How to join?
Here is the Web site to join: <www.apha.org/membership/>.
Here is the section Web page, which includes information on joining the occupational health list serve (bottom of page): <http://depts.washington.edu/oshalert/>.
Thanks!

Now, on to the news and preparations for San Francisco!
Laura Boyle describes the NORA Symposium later in this newsletter, but I would like to emphasize what a terrific meeting it was. The National Occupational Research Agenda itself is in it’s seventh year now, and has been a remarkable effort led by NIOSH to engage stakeholders from labor, industry, academia and government to take a comprehensive look at research needs, in order to target and prioritize. The wonderful thing about it was that a government agency seriously engaged its public and changed its focus on that basis. Significant results included an entirely new focus on applied research, such as intervention effectiveness and prevention of traumatic injuries. Complex areas such as mixed exposures and special populations at risk were included in the 21 priority areas. NIOSH then engaged implementation teams that included stakeholders to work to further the agenda. It has also followed up by re-directing existing resources, both intramural and extramural, to target these areas, and used the framework to obtain additional funding and to help guide joint efforts with various NIH centers. This year’s Symposium marks the first time the meeting was held as an open scientific session, and it produced a wonderful series of papers and posters on topics that matter to section members.

At the same time OSHA, while beset by more problems than we have space for here, has done some truly innovative and important work in its Hispanic Task Force. Region V has paved the way (soon to be followed by other Regions) in accepting NGO facilitation of complaints from immigrant workers who would be unlikely to forward complaints themselves.

NORA-fueled research may be one of the reasons why the scientific sessions for this year’s APHA meetings will be so rich. As Celeste Monforton describes in this newsletter, the quality and number of submissions were extremely high, inspiring a new approach to presentations. For example, Monday night there will be an entire session on Occupational Health Services Research, a field that did not exist a few years ago, and is rapidly developing thanks to specific NORA targeting. Celeste has done an incredible job this year, and has agreed to work on next year’s meeting in DC as well, but is looking for a volunteer to replace her after that. This is a great way for new members, particularly those from academia, to get engaged in the section, and anyone interested in working on this committee is more than welcome.

My heartfelt thanks to Celeste and to Mary Miller, our “webmeister,” Karla Armenti, our newsletter editor, John Morawitz, nomination chair, Darius Sivin, events chair, Andrea Kidd Taylor, chair of the scholarship committee, and Jim Cone, policy guru, and all who have been the soul and sinew of OHS. ALL welcome additional help – please look for them in San Francisco, or contact them earlier by e-mail, <http://depts.washington.edu/oshalert/leadership.htm>.

Our business meeting will start on Sunday morning at 8:30, and we hope to see many new faces there. We are starting to flesh out the agenda for the different business sessions, please send suggestions; we will distribute and post so you won’t miss a thing. Included in the schedule will be at least one discussion of the strategic planning process as described by Craig Slatin in this newsletter. Dave Kotelchuck has been a wonderful chair-elect, has been leading intersectional work along with outreach, and hits the ground running in this issue of the newsletter. So please make him happy by writing on your “to-do” list for next week a follow up call to the people you just e-mailed.

I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

Message from the Chair-Elect

“SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT APHA”

As Chair-Elect of the OHS Section, I had the opportunity to attend APHA’s annual chairs-elect meeting on June 26-27 in Washington, DC. Along with the chairs-to-be of 19 other APHA sections, I learned a lot about the organization – even though I’ve been a member of APHA for over two decades. I’d like to share some impressions and information with you:

First, this was my initial opportunity to hear from and speak with APHA’s new Executive Director, Dr. Georges Benjamin, former health commissioner of the State of Maryland. He is an impressive person – thoughtful, down-to-earth, and willing to share with us not only his vision for the organization, but the problems we face as well. I look forward to working with him.

As he and APHA President-Elect Virginia Caine noted to us, the organization currently has three priority areas:

  • Strengthening the Public Health Infrastructure;

  • Improved Access to Care for All; and

  • Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.


Kim Krisberg, Section News Editor of The Nation’s Health, outlined for us how each of these issues has been covered in recent issues of the organization’s monthly newspaper. The paper may appear as an eclectic mixture of public health articles to general readers like you and me, but in fact it consistently focuses on the above three themes. As you might guess, she asked us for articles related to our sections and our professional public health interests. She can’t write the articles that interest us and relate to our special concerns unless she hears from us, either about the health and safety issues we struggle with daily or about local stories related to OHS issues. So let’s contact her with our health and safety stories – I’m going to add her to my e-mail list when I send out OHS articles and commentary to colleagues and other friends. Why don’t you do the same? Her e-mail address is <kimberly.krisberg@apha.org>, and her fax number 202-777-2534. Our lively discussions on e-mail deserve a broader audience, and will help educate our APHA colleagues about the real issues we face in the workplace and community.

So, you want to read The Nation’s Health online, and weekly legislative updates from Washington (say on the Medicare drug bills or banning the use of mercury in thermometers)? Then you need to have access to the members’ section of the APHA Web pages at <www.apha.org>. To get into the members’ section, you need your APHA membership number (it’s on your address label for The Nation’s Health or the American Journal of Public Health) and your password (the first letter of your first name and your entire last name – e.g. mine is dkotelchuck). Then just type in your number when they ask for your name, and your name when they ask for your password! (I do hope it’s changed soon.)

Section officers and other members: Having problems or need information about APHA matters? Then e-mail Frances Atkinson, our new APHA Manager of Section Affairs, at <frances.atkinson@apha.org>. She’ll help you or send you to another staff member who can. Also for federal agency and legislative matters, contact Donald Hoppert, Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs for APHA, at <donald.hoppert@apha.org>.

Condolences

Our condolences to long-time OHS section member and leader Jim Cone on the death of his wife, Blanche Grosswald, on June 24, 2003. He and Blanche moved to New York City a few months ago after many years in California. His e-mail address is <jcone@health.nyc.gov>.

A NEW MEMBER’S PERSPECTIVE

I was initially offered admission at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)- environmental health/toxicology for fall 2002. However, I was enticed by the one-year graduate tuition scholarship offered by the University of Arizona, College of Public Health (environmental and occupational health) in April 2002 for the fall semester.

Ever since then, I have been able to secure funding through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and scholarships.

I was already a member of the Community and Hospital Pharmacy sections respectively of the Federation of International Pharmacists before coming to study at the University of Arizona. I had set a goal for membership of three other professional bodies: American Public Health Association, American Industrial Hygiene Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists--all have been accomplished.

I have the desire to pay back the tax-paying public for supporting my education. APHA was thus the first professional body on my agenda. As an individual who is community oriented, I feel that I can contribute my own quota in enhancing the health of the average American, especially on environmental and occupational issues.

I believe it is possible to further strengthen the clout of the section. The first impression I got from a senior colleague about the section was equivocal. This was almost corroborated. I am hoping to bring my love for writing within the limits of my tight academic schedule to the table. I have the belief that the more the section communicates with its members and gets them involved in section activities, the stronger and more effective it will be.

It would be nice to see a situation where new members are made to have a feel for section activities quickly; a situation where they blend into the section fast. It would also be nice to welcome new members almost instantaneously - as soon as their names are forwarded to the section. The section executives may also communicate frequently with new members with the aim of tapping into their knowledge base. They may also serve as facilitators to all members in the area of networking. A sub-committee to welcome new members may be a good idea.

Results of the Section Elections

Occupational Health and Safety
Chair-Elect
Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH

Secretary-Elect
Leslie Nickels, MEd

Section Council
Tobi Mae Lippin, MEd
Kerry Souza, MPH

Governing Council
Elise Pechter MPH, CIH
Darius D. Sivin, PhD

APHA Annual Meeting News, San Francisco (Nov. 16-20, 2003)

California Here We Come!

The host committee of the Occupational Health Section is busily planning events for this year’s APHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Please save the following dates, and let us know if you’re interested in a labor history tour, and when. See you soon!

Saturday or Sunday, Nov. 15 or 16
Labor History Tour? Please help us figure out whether we should plan a labor history tour this year. Because of the new meeting schedule, we’re concerned out-of-towners won’t be here early enough. If you would like to participate in a tour, please contact Diane Bush at <dbush@uclink.berkeley.edu>, and let us know whether you could participate Saturday afternoon (2-4), Sunday morning (9:30-11:30), or both. Thanks!

Sunday, Nov. 16, 2-3:30pm:
Town Hall Meeting. Moscone Ctr, Room TBA. This forum, organized by APHA’s Globalization and Health network, will explore relationships between economic globalization, international trade agreements and economic policy, and public health. The panel will include presentations on workplace, environmental and other public health issues.

Monday, Nov. 17, 6-8:30
Social Hour. Marriott Hotel, Room TBA. Come nibble on food and visit with new and old friends.

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 12-2
Occupational Health Section Awards Luncheon. Location TBA (but not far from the Marriot). Come help recognize, and be inspired by, health and safety activists: International Awardee, Juliana So, founder of the Chinese Working Women’s Network; Alice B. Hamilton Awardee, Dolores Huerta, for lifetime achievement; and the Lorin Kerr Awardee, the WorkSafe coalition, for their work promoting health and safety in California.

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 8 PM –11 PM
Dance Party! Location TBA. Come dance the night away -- and bring your friends.

Special Session at Annual Meeting: "Organized Labor and Public Health"

Saturday, Nov. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (CEI Course, 6 hours)
Sponsors: OHS Section and Labor Caucus

This course will provide an introduction to the structure, functions and culture of organized labor and also engage the learner in the use of this knowledge to further his or her particular goals.

Using a case-study and participatory approach, and led by a faculty with deep and broad experience at the nexus of labor and public health, this course will be an exciting and essential experience for all public health personnel who wish to form working partnerships with organized labor.

Registration for this course may be completed at the APHA Web site, <www.apha.org/meetings>, or contact Dr. Greg DeLaurier at <gdelaurier@comcast.net> for more information.

Calling all popular educators!

If you're at the APHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco this year, you can connect with others using this participatory method, sometimes described as "educating for change."

The Occupational Health and Safety Section often sponsors conference discussions and presentations about using popular education and related participatory research methods. However, there are no such sessions this year.

So, an informal group of popular educators, whose work focuses on health and safety issues, plans to meet for several purposes. Suggested goals include discussing:


  • what can we organize for next year at APHA?

  • what kinds of work are we doing these days?

  • what issues do we face, or questions do we have, about this kind of work?

  • what materials can we share with others?

  • how can we stay in touch?


We will meet on Sunday, Nov. 16, right after the Section business meeting. It likely will end at 10 a.m. You can find out at the business meeting about the location.

At the Sunday meeting, we'll decide if we continue our conversation(s) until 11:30 or noon, or whether we meet later during the Annual Meeting. If we agree to meet later, we'll post notices and try
to reach those who are interested.

For information about the meeting room (in case it's available before November) or to tell us that you want to be part of other conversations, whether or not they take place at this APHA meeting,
please e-mail Dorothy Wigmore, <dorothyw@web.ca>.

Environment Section Program

This year’s Environment Section APHA program reflects a range of topics including the built environment and health, children’s environmental health and vulnerable populations, innovative topics in environmental health, public health collaborations and infrastructure, public health nursing in environmental health, public health and policy, social determinants of health, spotlight on regional environmental health issues indigenous to the San Francisco metropolitan area, terrorism, and toxics. More than 60 scientific and poster sessions will be presented, including a number of co-sponsored sessions partnering with Community Health, Community Health Planning & Policy Development, Epidemiology, Food & Nutrition, Gerontological Health, Occupational Health & Safety, Maternal & Child Health, Mental Health, Public Health Nursing, Public Health Student Caucus and Vietnam Caucus. Our panelists represent a wide range of organizations and government agencies from both the United States and abroad.

Don’t forget to include the Homer N. Calver lecture/luncheon in your APHA Personal Scheduler for Monday, Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m. The winner of the Calver award will be announced shortly. Other events include the launching of the Built Environment Institute – a series of sessions identifying approaches for building sustainable environments that actively improve human health; a Built Environment & Health Field Trip on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2:00 – 5:30 p.m.; a Student Achievement Award poster session on Monday, November 17 at 8:30 A.M.; and the Environment Section Social Hour on Monday, Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

All Environment Section scientific, roundtable and poster sessions will be presented in the Moscone Convention Center. And our online program is available at: <http://apha.confex.com/apha/131am/techprogram/program_312.htm>.

A Common Goal: Union and Researcher Collaboration

Celebrate the work of June Fisher, MD ,(and her birthday) at APHA

Most of you are familiar with the work of our colleague, June Fisher, MD. She has devoted much of her career to working with unions and their members to improve working conditions and to develop innovative health and safety systems and programs controlled by front-line workers. She has contributed a great deal to improving the working lives of transit workers, health care workers and others. Her research has always involved unions and their members in partnership – mutually defining the research problem and collecting and analyzing the data.

This year we commemorate June’s work and celebrate her 70th birthday on the eve of the American Public Health Association (APHA)Annual Meeting. We invite you to join us on, Saturday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for "A Common Goal: Union and Researcher Health and Safety Collaboration" seminar. The session will be held in the auditorium of San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Ave. Presenters and participants will discuss the past success and value of cooperative/participatory research that has been conducted with union/worker consent and/or active participation. And we will contemplate how we maintain the momentum of this cooperative approach in the present environment. There will be no charge for the seminar.

We’ll send out another announcement with more details in October.

Right now, we are in the process of collecting papers (published and unpublished) that have involved unions and workers actively engaged with the researcher to define the research topic and conduct the research. This research can be formally called “participatory” research or acknowledge the cooperation and involvement of the union. All the materials that we receive will be compiled and distributed to participants at the seminar. We will also have them available for those of you who cannot make it. We ask that you send any of your papers or those of your colleagues that meet these criteria to Darryl Alexander, the American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. These materials can also be e-mailed to <dalexand@aft.org> or faxed to Darryl at 202-393-5672.

We’re also in the process of organizing a birthday party for June on Saturday night, Nov. 15. For now, the party is tentatively scheduled to be held at the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. Again, we’ll be in touch with more details.

Please do not hesitate to call me at 800-238-1133 extension 5674 if you have any questions or suggestions for the program or party.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Darryl Alexander
American Federation of Teachers

The 2003 James P. Keogh Scholarship Award Recipients

The OHS Section's Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce that out of the 10 applications received this year for the James P. Keogh Memorial Scholarship award, five (5) individuals have been selected to receive a scholarship - three (3) student applicants and two (2) labor union applicants.

The 2003 James P. Keogh student award recipients are as follows:

Marilyn Duffy is a nurse currently working on a Master of Public Health degree in the health policy and management department at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester. She has an extensive background in acute nursing and managed care. Marilyn feels that the convergence of three disciplines - the philosophy of nursing, environmental health, and public health policy- is providing her with a holistic approach for addressing occupational safety and health issues. She has conducted research on the health and safety effects of SARS exposure among health care workers and the prevalence of school violence among teachers, to name a few. Her ideal job is to be eventually employed by the Indian Health Service to research and promote public health care and environmental justice policy primarily for under-served Native Americans and other minority groups.

Sangwoo Tak is a doctoral student in the Department of Work Environment at U Mass-Lowell. He is currently involved in the Construction Occupational Health Project in the department and is primarily conducting research on the extent and problems of ergonomic injuries among construction workers. He is also researching various aspects of how the increased intensity of labor in Korea is worsening conditions for Korean workers..."the workload, work intensity, and management control over work have escalated to the extent that workers' health and safety are significantly hampered...." Sangwoo's ideal job would be to work for a progressive labor union or organization to address work environment policy and conduct workplace inspections.


Patricia Terry attends UC Berkeley's School of Public Health and is currently working on a Master of Public Health degree in Health and Social Behavior. This summer, Patricia worked with UC Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program on the young workers project. Her primary task for the summer was to develop an interactive Web site and a list of partnership groups interested in addressing the workplace safety of teenagers. She facilitated focus group discussions and attended youth conferences to determine the interests of teens and their vulnerabilities, and to identify responsive youth partners. She also participated in hazardous waste training and attended a summer seminar in industrial hygiene. Patricia states that her interests have become more diverse since beginning graduate school and her work this summer has stimulated and sparked her interest in taking more courses in occupational health and industrial hygiene.

The James P. Keogh labor award recipients are Reynaldo Martinez and Elizabeth Regan who are students from the George Meany Labor Studies National Labor College in Maryland.

Reynaldo Martinez is a member of UTU Local 1904 (PACE) in Rosharon, Texas. While completing his undergraduate studies at the Meany Center, Reynaldo conducted an exhaustive research project on locomotive engineer fatigue in the U.S. switching and terminal operations.

Elizabeth Regan is a member of The Newspaper Guild, CWA Local 31027 of Brockton, Massachusetts. Elizabeth conducted her research on the health and safety rules and regulations for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MTA), and investigated which agencies and/or authorities were responsible for implementation of such rules. Her research aided MBTA unions in organizing and setting up a joint labor-management committee that eventually led to the publication of a single safety rule book and training program for 5,000 MBTA employees.

Each of the award recipients will receive payment of their meeting registration fee and $200 to assist with expenses for attending the Annual Meeting, and a one-year membership in APHA. Please welcome and greet all of our award recipients at the OHS Section meetings at APHA; and try and answer any questions they may have.

Andrea Kidd Taylor, Chairperson
OHS Scholarship Committee

Awardees for the 2003 APHA Annual Meeting Section Awards

Alice Hamilton Award: Delores Huerta, UFW

Being in California is a good opportunity to put the spotlight on the plight of the farm labor force and the harsh working conditions they still face going into the 21st Century. The UFW, with great leadership from Delores, fought some of the most important OHS battles of our lifetimes – including the fight against pesticide exposures, the fight for a field sanitation standard and a ban on use of the short-handled hoe.


Lorin Kerr Awardee

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) was the first to contact OSHA regarding the lack of protections for rescue workers at the World Trade Center. NYCOSH's subsequent contact with the AFL-CIO led to a meeting with John Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. After that, OSHA was more involved in getting contractors to improve protections for all workers at the site. NYCOSH called media attention to the concerns of immigrant workers at the site, the "forgotten victims" of the tragedy. NYCOSH facilitated meetings with unions, leading to a NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation for several locations around Ground Zero. NYCOSH helped outreach to the immigrant community, provided respirators, fit testing and training for these workers. Over 400 workers were evaluated and trained. Since October, 2001, NYCOSH's Web site has been one of the few to post up-to-date information about World Trade Center health and safety problems. As a result, visits to the Web site have increased by several times in recent months. NYCOSH sponsored a conference on Environmental and Public Health Policy after September 11. No other organization has offered such a forum in New York City.

International Awardee

Le Van Trung, MD, PhD, is the director of the National Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health in Vietnam (their equivalent of NIOSH). He has been the moving force in creating this institution which develops occupational health standards. He has authored the only original books in Vietnam on occupational medicine and is, himself, a scholar of silicosis. His Institute recently received the Vietnam Silver Medal of Merit awarded by the country for meritorious work. He was the prime mover in the establishment of the Vietnam Association for Occupational Health, which had its founding meeting on April 25, 2002. He is one of the founders of occupational medicine in Vietnam.

Strategic Planning Process Discussions to Continue at the 2003 Annual Meeting in San Francisco

The Occupational Health and Safety Section has been engaged in annual strategic planning discussions through its business meetings at the past two APHA annual meetings. Section Chair Rosie Sokas, along with Chair-Elect Michael Silverstein, Action Board Representative Craig Slatin, and Resolutions and Policy Committee member Denny Dobbin have decided to continue these discussions at this year’s business meetings. The meeting schedule will not permit an extended period for the planning discussion, but one goal of a shorter discussion will be to establish a planning committee that will organize a more extensive discussion for the 2004 APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

History of the Planning Process

At the 2000 APHA Annual Meeting in Boston, the OHS Section had several discussions about using the 2001 Annual Meeting in Atlanta to begin a discussion about longer-term planning for our section. The discussions ranged from the developing of a long-range plan to developing strategies for organizing for progressive action both within APHA as well as through the Association’s activities. The 2001 business meetings were extended for these discussions.

The OHS leadership agreed to the following reasons to pursue longer-term planning:

• We seek to guide the OHS Section to assume a progressive role within APHA.
• We seek to develop a “map” of actions needed in order to make that happen.
• A plan will help us to gauge, annually, our progress.
• Our interests in doing this coincides with a planning directive from APHA.

Our goals and objectives

We are establishing action guidelines and direction for the next five years. This is not meant to restrict leadership autonomy, but rather to provide for continuity of effort over the time period. This is similar to what the Environment Section has done.

Planning in this way helps us to think about how we can best use our leadership resources. For instance, we have not provided much direction for Section Councilors. This process could be used to better establish their roles and tasks. Our intent in this process is to strengthen our impact in setting policies, both within APHA and in the area of workers’ health. The consensus of the planning group was that the planning process should result in establishing a workplan for the section and its leadership teams as they change annually.

Prior discussions

The minutes of the 2001 and 2002 planning discussions are posted on the Section’s web site, <http://staff.washington.edu/oshalert/index.htm>.

At the 2002 meeting, we acknowledged that OHS Section members are very active outside of the section, and therefore have limited time to address Section issues outside of the Annual Meeting. Although we did set some planning goals for 2003, little action was taken. The formation of a planning committee at this year’s meeting should help us to move forward with this process.

Announcements about the schedule for the planning discussion at this year’s business meetings will be posted on the section’s listserve. If you are interested in participating in this discussion, please check your e-mail and come to the meetings. These meetings are for all interested Section members, and not only Section leadership. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.

To subscribe to the OHS/APHA listserv: Go to the APHA Section Web page at <www.apha.org/sections>; click on "join online discussion groups." Your user name is "occhlth" and your password is "rules". You will see a page that explains how to sign on to the listserv. The e-mail address to use for our listserve is <occ-hlth-l@liststar.apha.org> (that is a lowercase letter "L", not the number 1).

Update on Washington State Ergonomics Standard

In response to data showing that more than 50,000 Washington State workers suffer musculoskeletal injuries every year, Washington OSHA issued an ergonomics standard in 2000. The Washington business community, urged on by the same business associations that killed the federal ergonomics standard, tried unsuccessfully to stop Washington OSHA from issuing the standard. They tried to get the governor to veto it and failed. They tried to get the legislature to rescind it and failed. They tried to get the courts to overturn it and failed. But four strikes against them still was not enough for these anti-worker zealots. Now they’re going “to the people,” using the state initiative process to try to overturn the standard at the ballot box.

The initiative process, most famous these days for the recall attempt against California Gov. Gray Davis, was originally envisioned by the progressives in the early 1900’s as a way for common people to overcome the control over state governments by corrupt business and railroad tycoons. Today the tables have turned. The initiative process is available only to those who have the money and is increasingly used to overturn progressive government actions– in this case to repeal Washington’s ergonomics regulation.

In early July, the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIA), which represents home builders, and other supporters such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Association of Washington Business and the Washington Farm Bureau hired professional signature gatherers and turned in enough signatures to put Initiative 841, to overturn the ergonomics standard, on the Washington ballot.

The initiative sponsors have used more than money and paid gathers to gather collect signatures. They have also used blatant lies. The BIA’s web page had asserted the federal standard was repealed “by the U.S. Senate in 2001, led by democrat Tom Daschle (SD)” when Daschle, a strong supporter of the standard, was not even Majority Leader at the time. They claimed that carpet layers and drywallers wouldn't be able to work more than two hours per day. Laborers could only lift one load weighing more than 75 pounds. Workers wouldn’t be able to have their arms above their heads or their elbows above their shoulders for more than two hours per day. Mariners catcher Dan Wilson might not even be able to catch an entire game.

While many of these lies have been removed from the literature, the damage has been done. The initiative will be on the ballot this Fall. Fighting this effort to overturn these workplace protections is a top priority of the Washington State AFL-CIO and has national significance as well. If Initiative 841 succeeds and Washington's ergonomic standard is overturned, it will doom similar state efforts as well as efforts to convince federal OSHA that a standard is the only way to reduce ergonomic hazards that continue to be the biggest cause of injuries in American workplaces.

The APHA Network on Globalization and Health Report: Fall 2003

FTAA Threatens Global Health; Plans Coincide with APHA Annual Meeting

How does the global economy affect health status and disparities in health status, public health systems and policy, access to coverage within private and public health care systems, occupational health and safety, injury control, environmental health, and access to pharmaceuticals and to safe water, and social and economic equality? What do international trade agreements have to do with public health?

Members of the APHA Network on Globalization and Public Health will address these and other issues during the APHA Annual Meeting in November 2003. A Town Hall meeting on Nov. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. in San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center will offer brief presentations, and a chance to network with some local and national research and advocacy groups based in the Bay Area. The meeting will include observers from the September meeting of the international World Trade Organization ministerial in Cancun, Mexico, and members of international public health associations. Join the planning with an email to Ellen Shaffer, <ershaffer@cpath.org>. (Please see final schedule for exact room location.)

This year’s APHA Annual Meeting takes place just before the international gathering of trade ministers in Miami planning the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). FTAA would extend NAFTA to the entire western hemisphere (except Cuba). The Network will help sponsor a press conference and other FTAA-related events.

APHA has been actively involved in support of its 2001 resolution, which opposes including health care, water, and other vital human services in international trade agreements. Along with the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH) and the American Nurses Association, APHA alerted members of Congress in July that smaller scale nation-to-nation trade agreements were setting dangerous precedents for international agreements such as FTAA. The letter, which was circulated to the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Sherrod Brown, explained that U.S. agreements with Singapore and Chile will:

Impede access to life-saving medicines, contradicting Congress’ earlier support for policies that would modify the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). They will: allow patents to be extended beyond the 20-year term required by TRIPS; require a 5-year waiting period before governments can provide generic producers access to the test data produced by pharmaceutical companies, delaying affordable access to medicines; and restrict how governments provide marketing approval and sanitary permits for medicines. Pharmaceutical companies could block production of generic medicines.

Ease the terms of trade on tobacco products, reducing tobacco tariffs for Singapore to zero. While public health protections have reduced tobacco use in the United States, this provision will make it easier to dump tobacco products in Singapore.

Open the door to further privatization and deregulation of vital human services including standards for health care professionals, and provision of health care and water, sectors better addressed through open international collaboration rather than through commercial trade negotiations. While some services and some professions are exempted from coverage by some trade rules, these exemptions are too narrow to assure full protection. The United States has no exemptions for water and sanitation, leaving the country open to challenges from foreign private corporations and their subsidiaries.

Grant foreign private investors greater rights than U.S. investors. Under NAFTA, similar provisions have led to lawsuits by private companies that overturned important health and environmental protections. Again, this contradicts the negotiating objectives of the Trade Act of 2002.

Other social and public services are poorly defined, leaving trade tribunals rather than elected officials and regulators to decide whether basic public health protections are barriers to trade. Covered services include income security or insurance, social security or insurance, social welfare, public education, health and child care. Trade panels are not required to have any expertise in health care or public health.

The letter urges Congress to advocate for trade agreements that exclude vital human services such as health care and water, that improve access to life-saving medications, and that do not threaten efforts to reduce exposure to dangerous substances. Further, it encourages support for enforceable commitments to advancing population health, and to achieving universal access to health care and to safe, affordable water in the United States and internationally. The U.S.-Singapore and U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreements do not meet these objectives, and therefore should not serve as models for other trade agreements, including the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) or the Central America Free Trade Area of the Americas (CAFTA).

The CPATH Web site, <www.cpath.org>, provides additional background information on economic globalization and health. APHA groups involved with the Network include: Medical Care Section, Mental Health Section, Environmental Health Section, International Health Section, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section, Occupational Health and Safety Section, Peace Caucus, Socialist Caucus, Spirit of 1848, DisAbility Forum, Hawai’i Public Health Association, and the Public Health Association of New York City.

Recent Conference on Protecting the Nation’s Workforce

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and APHA recently co-sponsored the 2003 NORA Symposium, “Working Partnerships: Applying Research to Practice.” NIOSH engaged APHA and more than 500 other partner organizations and individuals in developing the National Occupational Research Agenda, or NORA, in 1996. Since then, the research agenda has stimulated and supported new collaborative research in 21 priority areas of occupational injury and illness prevention. Approximately 250 researchers and stakeholders attended this year’s symposium, and more than 100 papers were covered at 12 breakout sessions. Research findings to further occupational injury and illness prevention on such areas as allergic and irritant dermatitis, fertility and pregnancy abnormalities, indoor environment, and personal protective equipment were presented.

NIOSH Director John Howard kicked off the conference by reminding participants that NORA is a model for public health and occupational health researchers in setting priorities, fostering partnerships, leveraging funds, doing quality peer reviewed research, translating research findings into interventions and evaluating the effectiveness of all activities as outcome measures. APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, MPH, also provided introductory comments on the challenges faced by our workforce that underscore the growing importance of research in occupational health. As he stated in his remarks, “New and emerging diseases place workers at increased risk. We've seen the intentional use of biological agents to cause harm, such as the anthrax letters and new technologies that have spawned injuries such as repetitive stress disorders. The work being done and being funded by NIOSH is vital for the health and safety of our work force.”

The Symposium provided effective solutions to help prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths. The NORA Partnering Award for Worker Safety and Health recognizes organizations that have joined in research partnerships to develop new equipment, practices, products, procedures, or policies for protecting workers from job-related illness, injury, and death. At this year’s symposium, the 2003 Award was presented to the project "Evaluation of a Best Practices Back Injury Prevention Program in Nursing Homes." The winning partners included BJC Health Care, BJC Occupational Health Nurse Council, Washington University, West Virginia University, Arjo Inc., EZ Way Inc. and NIOSH.

The focus of this prevention program was to combine measures that may help reduce possible causes of injury by identifying the movements and postures that put nursing assistants at risk of back strain, stress and injury in lifting and moving residents. Mechanical lifting devices for reducing those stresses and strains were also closely evaluated. A “best practices” program was put in place based on project results and employee input. The successful project reduced the frequency of back injuries in six facilities operated by BJC Health Care by 57 percent, lowered injury rates by 58 percent, and decreased workers’ compensation expenses by 71 percent. Rates for the three years before the intervention were compared with rates for the three years after.

This project is considered an excellent example of NORA’s value in stimulating new research partnerships to address serious work-related injury and illness concerns. Howard adds, “Everyone benefits when partners work together to tackle demanding challenges in occupational safety and health.” For more information about NIOSH and NORA, call the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674), or visit <www.cdc.gov/niosh>.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Rural Health Theme Issue of the American Journal of Public Health

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is planning a theme issue on rural health scheduled for publication in October 2004.

The guest editors at the School of Rural Public Health of the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center are soliciting contributions to the "Research and Practice" section of that issue. Twelve to 17 articles focusing on major research issues and practice activities in rural public health will be selected for possible publication in that issue. All papers will undergo peer review by the AJPH's editorial team, as per usual practice. In order to be considered for inclusion in the theme issue, articles must be submitted by Jan. 15, 2004, through the online submission at <http://submit.ajph.org>. This Web site also provides Instructions for Authors, including specific guidelines for Research and Practice articles. When submitting articles, please select "Rural Health" under the Theme Issue menu. Additional information concerning the theme issue can be obtained by contacting Charles D. Phillips, PhD, MPH, at <phillipscd@srph.tamushsc.edu>. "In theory, theory and practice are the same thing. In practice they're not."

Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut
Kenneth R. McLeroy, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
School of Rural Public Health
3000 Briarcrest Drive, Suite 310
Bryan, TX 77802
kmcleroy@srph.tamu.edu
979 845-2387

International Scientific Conference to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 12-14, 2003

Occupational and environmental health in Southeast Asia will be the focus of an international scientific conference to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam on Nov. 12-14, 2003. The conference is being organized by Dr. Matthew Keifer, a University of Washington associate professor and member of the Occupational Health Section, and Dr. Le Van Trung, president of the Vietnam Association of Occupational Health.

Speakers from Vietnam, other nations in Southeast Asia, and throughout the world will discuss occupational and environmental health problems in the region and present methods to reduce or eliminate exposures. The focus will be on interventions, good practice guidelines and relevant national and international research. The conference will be held in Vietnamese and English. Sightseeing tours in Hanoi are covered by the conference registration fee and optional tours can be scheduled before or after the conference for an extra charge.

Information is available at <http://depts.washington.edu/ehce>, by calling 206-543-1069, or by e-mailing <ce@u.washington.edu>. The registration fee is $150, payable in U.S. or Vietnamese currency at the conference. Scholarships are available for delegates from Southeast Asian countries.

Conference sponsors include the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Fogarty International Center, The Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, The World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, the Vietnam Association of Occupational Health, and the Vietnamese National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Sharon L. Morris, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Chair for Community Outreach
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98105-6099
Phone: 206-543-9540
Fax: 206-685-3872

University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences offers continuing education

The University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences is offering the following continuing education courses this fall. Details can be downloaded at <http://depts.washington.edu/ehce/NWcenter/schedule.html>.

Sep 15, 2003 Ergonomics for Industry

Sep 16, 2003 Creating a Safety Culture in Your Workplace

Oct 15, 2003 State-of-the-art Concepts in Noise and Hearing Loss

Oct 27, 2003 Hazard Communication and Emergency Procedures

Oct 28-29, 2003 Applied Laboratory Ergonomics

Nov 17, 2003 Hearing Conservation

Kathy Hall, Senior Editor
University of Washington
Dept. of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100
Box 354695
Seattle, WA 98105-6099
Phone: 206-685-6737
Fax: 206-685-3872
Web sites - Departmental: http://depts.washington.edu/envhlth/
Editor's corner: http://staff.washington.edu/kjhall/

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Faculty Position: Tenure Track/Open Rank

The School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago seeks a faculty member with academic background/experience and major research interests in the area of Exposure Assessment, Measurement, and Human Health. The position is in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, appointed jointly with the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, established to promote collaborative environmental research among faculty from across the disciplinary spectrum. Appointment to IESP carries a reduced teaching load with proportionately increased emphasis on sponsored research. EOHS has strong research, educational, and service programs, is closely linked to the federally sponsored Great Lakes Center for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, is home to UIC's occupational medicine residency program, and has an ABET accredited program in Industrial Hygiene. Appropriate academic/experience backgrounds include environmental epidemiology, toxicology, industrial hygiene, environmental engineering, environmental medicine and behavioral sciences. Candidates should have demonstrated strong research skills to be able to successfully compete for NIH, NSF, NIOSH, DOE, and EPA research grants. The successful candidate will be expected to take a leadership role in organizing multi-disciplinary research on crosscutting environmental themes. A doctoral degree is required, and a demonstrated track record of research funding and peer-reviewed publication is preferred.

The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. For fullest consideration, applications should be received until position is filled. Send a letter of interest and a curriculum vitae to:

Ms. Candy James
School of Public Health (M/C 922)
University of Illinois at Chicago
2121 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612 7260

NEW BOOK

"Dioxins and Health, Second Edition"
Edited by Arnold Schecter and Thomas A. Gasiewicz
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Publication Date: June 2003
$150.00; Cloth; ISBN 0-471-43355-1

Contact information

To order a copy of this book, contact customer service at 877-762-2974 or
visit the company Web site at <www.wiley.com>.

Book Description

Studies have shown that dioxins and structural analogues cause immune alterations, nervous system effects, and cancer in humans. Additionally, these ubiquitous toxins have been linked to endocrine alterations, producing diabetes mellitus in adults and thyroid and sex hormone changes in newborns. Updating the acclaimed First Edition, "Dioxins and Health," the Second Edition covers the latest major scientific findings on the most potent, well known, and long-lasting of the persistent organic pollutants (POPS). The Second Edition, which incorporates significant advances in dioxin research made in human and animal epidemiology, contains chapters on such wide-ranging areas as: the health risk assessment of dioxin-like compounds; pharmacokinetics of dioxins and related compounds; experimental toxicology, reproductive and development epidemiology; chemical, environmental and health aspects of the Seveso; the Yusho rice oil poisoning incident; and agent orange in Vietnam. Toxicologists, environmental, toxicologist epidemiologists, environmental chemists, regulators, and environmental attorneys will find "Dioxins and Health, Second Edition" to be an invaluable resource.

Newsletter Information and Accessibility

You might have noticed that the OHS section newsletters are automatically “published” online shortly after each issue’s deadline.

The most common reason people might not be receiving this notification is that their e-mail address is not in the APHA database. You can update your member records on the APHA Web site or call the membership department at (202) 777-2400.

Although we realize the importance of receiving the newsletter notifications, they aren't needed to access the newsletters, so members can visit the Web site at any time to view their newsletters at <www.apha.org/sections/newsletterintro.htm>.

If members are still concerned they aren't receiving the notification, they can e-mail Frances Atkinson, the APHA Newsletter Design Coordinator at <frances.atkinson@apha.org>.