CDC

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Control Banding: Qualitative Hazard Analysis

“The majority of chemical substances in commerce have no established occupational exposure limits (OELs). In the absence of established OELs, employers and workers often lack the necessary guidance on the extent to which occupational exposures should be controlled. A strategy to control occupational exposures that may have value when there are no relevant OELs is known as control banding (CB). CB is a qualitative strategy for assessing and managing hazards associated with chemical exposures in the workplace. The question about the utility of the CB strategy for workplaces in the United States has been raised, warranting a critical review of its concepts and applications. This report is the result of a review of the published literature and related proceedings on CB.

In summary, this review and analysis have led to recognition of the following key messages:

  • Control banding is a potentially valuable tool for risk management of source chemical agents and other occupational hazards.
  • Despite limitations, in the absence of OELs, CB may be a useful strategy for assessing and controling occupational hazards as part of a comprehensive safety and health program.
  • CB is not meant to be a substitute for OELs.
  • The use of CB does not alleviate the need for environmental monitoring and industrial hygiene expertise.
  • CB strategies may be useful for providing hazard control guidance to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs); larger businesses may find CB strategies of greatest utility for prioritizing hazards and for hazard communication.

Additional development, evaluation, and discussion are required before widespread implementation of CB in the United States can be recommended. This document is intended to set the stage for that discussion. At this time, the existing toolkits for CB may not be appropriate for the United States and will need modification before being applied. Critical is the need for a dynamic system that incorporates changing factors over time for both control implementation and managerial oversight. It is recommended that a taskforce of safety and health professionals, labor and management, and government representatives be established to advance the research and development needs for CB in the United States.”

To download a copy of this document, click here (Control Banding (992))

Source: CDC.gov

CPSC, EPA, HUD, CDC, and ATSDR Release Initial Chinese Drywall Studies

made-in-china

The interagency task force on Chinese drywall is releasing today the initial results of several studies that begin to assemble pieces in the overall Chinese drywall puzzle. The investigation continues and
additional reports will be released in November.

In sum, the three studies released today are:

  • Elemental and Chemical Testing: The study of the elemental and chemical composition of 17 drywall samples shows higher concentrations of elemental sulfur and strontium in Chinese drywall than in non-Chinese drywall.
  • Chamber Studies: Preliminary results of ongoing testing to detect gases emitted from drywall
    in laboratory chambers show higher emissions of total volatile sulfur gases from Chinese than
    from non-Chinese drywall.
  • Indoor Air Studies: Indoor air testing of 10 homes in Florida and Louisiana was conducted to
    identify and measure contaminants and to inform a drywall home indoor air testing protocol.
    This data from a small sample of homes, allows preliminary observations of certain chemicals in
    the indoor air. The tests did not detect the presence or found only very limited or occasional
    indications of sulfur compounds of particular interest – hydrogen sulfide, carbon disulfide, and
    carbonyl sulfide. Concentrations of two known irritant compounds, acetaldehyde and
    formaldehyde, were detected in both homes with and without Chinese drywall, and at
    concentrations that could exacerbate conditions such as asthma in sensitive populations. The
    levels of formaldehyde were not unusual for new homes, however, and were higher when the
    homes were not air conditioned.

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Influenza & H1N1 Activity in the US

flu_activity_in_us

Source:  CDC

Key Flu Indicators

November 6, 2009, 11:00 AM

Each week CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in a report called FluView.* During the week of October 25-31, 2009, a review of the key indictors found that influenza activity remained high in the United States. Below is a summary of the most recent key indicators:

  • Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) nationally decreased very slightly this week over last week after four consecutive weeks of sharp increases. While ILI declined slightly, visits to doctors for influenza-like illness remain at much higher levels than what is expected for this time of the year and parts of the country continue to see sharp increases in activity. It’s possible that nationwide ILI could rise again. ILI continues to be higher than what is seen during the peak of most regular flu seasons.
  • Total influenza hospitalization rates for laboratory-confirmed flu are climbing and are higher than expected for this time of year. Hospitalization rates continue to be highest is younger populations with the highest hospitalization rate reported in children 0-4 years old.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Report continues to increase and has been higher for five week now than what is expected at this time of year. In addition, 18 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported this week; 15 of these deaths were confirmed 2009 H1N1, and three were influenza A viruses, but were not subtyped. Since April 2009, CDC has received reports of 129 laboratory-confirmed pediatric 2009 H1N1 deaths and another 15 pediatric deaths that were laboratory confirmed as influenza, but where the flu virus subtype was not determined.
  • Forty-eight states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time; a decline of one state over last week. They are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This many reports of widespread activity at this time of year are unprecedented during seasonal flu.
  • Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far continue to be 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception

*All data are preliminary and may change as more reports are received.