The Cardno ChemRisk View
Brooke Tvermoes, Ph.D., will be speaking at the GMA Science Forum – Connecting Sound Science with Sound Policy, to be held April 18-21, 2016, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. The GMA, or Grocery Manufacturers Association, is a trade association "representing the makers of the world's favorite food, beverage and consumer products" and assisting their members with diverse issues such as to "spur economic growth; ensure access to safe, healthy, and affordable foods; market [their] products responsibly; and tackle hunger relief." For the past decade, the GMA Science Forum has kept scientists and decision makers in the industry informed. This year's Forum will "provide attendees with multiple views and actions to be taken in order to ensure policies, laws and regulations are based on sound, up-to-date science, and achieve compliance with the ever changing regulatory environment."...
Perhaps overshadowed by the publicity surrounding the aforementioned issues, last week the league approved several new rule changes for the upcoming 2016 season, many of which are intended to protect players from injury. One noteworthy change will move touchbacks from the 20- to the 25-yard line. This rule is intended to protect players by discouraging returns made during kickoffs, plays that have especially high injury rates. Our recent study of the effects of the NFL’s 2011 amendments to the Free Kick rule, changes that were similarly aimed at reducing the incidence of injuries during kickoffs, demonstrated that almost all of the positive effects of the rule changes were attributable to a decrease in active gameplay rather than to safer gameplay (see abstract here). We additionally showed that, though kickoff injury rates decreased, the types of injuries suffered, including those to the head, did not significantly change. Our study highlights the need for detailed assessments of injury prevention interventions to understand exactly how they influence injuries and why.
Furthermore, additional research into the mechanisms of and risk factors for sports injuries, particularly those that can lead to long-term disability, will be key to their prevention. The need for the rapid collection and synthesis of such information has become critical to the viability of the game of football. Our company’s collective expertise in program evaluation, risk assessment, study design, and data analysis can help organizations maximize the effectiveness of their injury prevention strategies, conduct high-quality research, and effectively disseminate findings. For more information about our work in this area, please contact Dr. Peter Ruestow.
With the release of OSHA's Final Rule for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica on March 25, 2016, the U.S. will likely reach a new era in silica regulation. Crystalline silica is the most well-studied and one of the oldest known causes of occupational lung disease, although thus far it has only been regulated on the national level by OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs). However, efforts to release a comprehensive rule for the mineral have been underway for some time, with efforts toward a recommended standard headed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the 1970s, and an in-earnest effort by OSHA to promulgate a standard in the early 2000s.
This new regulation will impact a broad cross-section of American industry, and, notably, construction, foundries, and fracking. The hallmark imperative of this regulation is a PEL of 50 µg/m3, which cuts the previous PEL in half. In addition, there is an action level of 25 µg/m3 that will trigger additional requirements serving to prevent employees from developing a disease. The regulation also contains requirements for exposure assessment, controls including respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and a written silica control plan, among others. Notably, abrasive blasting with sand is still allowed in the U.S. despite that it can result in the highest silica exposures if workers are not properly protected, and that there are alternatives to sand. Appropriately, the new regulation contains a clause with regard to controlling exposures from sand abrasive blasting.
Many in the public health community have long seen the necessity of passing a standard that comprehensively regulates crystalline silica exposure. OSHA has estimated that the expected exposure reduction resulting from the regulation will prevent silicosis in over 900 workers annuallyand save over 600 lives annually. The Agency estimates that the annual cost to industry will be $1.03 billion, but with annual benefits to industry of over $8 billion (see Table I-1 of the Final Rule). Certain industry representatives and congressional representatives have expressed an intent to block and oppose the regulation in courts. Nevertheless, this occupational health standard, which has been a top priority both for the current OSHA administration headed by David Michaels and past OSHA administrators, is an important step toward protecting the health of U.S. workers.
For more information, please contact William Cyrs, Matthew Le, or Thomas Slavin
In particular, we are pleased to announce that Bethany Winans, Ph.D., received the Best Paper of the Year. Her paper, titled "Linking the aryl hydrocarbon receptor with altered DNA methylation patterns and developmentally induced aberrant antiviral CD8+ T cell responses," was nominated by a researcher at Michigan State University and was selected from among four other nominated papers. The SOT cited its outstanding contribution to understanding the impact that early life exposure to pollutants has on the developing immune system.
Our staff fully enjoyed the conference, as well as the great ambiance of the city. We extend our congratulations to all of the presenters at the conference. We would like to thank the SOT organizers for hosting us. We would also like to thank everyone who took time to visit our posters and presentations. If you have any further questions, please see our presenter Q&A series, Parts I, II, III, IV and V, or reach out to the authors directly. Their contact information can be found in the professionals section of our website.
For our final featured presenter in our SOT spotlight series, Christina Trusty shares thoughts on her recent poster presentation below....