PUBLIC HEALTH AND COMMUNITY MEDICINE - UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON AUTUMN,
Culture in the Workplace
For years, industrial hygienists have worked
with companies and their employees to solve workplace safety problems.
These efforts were often successful, though over time conditions
would sometimes revert to “business as usual.” To support
lasting change, industrial hygienists have started collaborating
with social scientists to support shifts in individual and organizational
thinking. This issue of Environmental Health News describes successful
programs from construction, sawmilling, plastic production, agriculture,
and fishing that can serve as models for other industries.
February’s loss of the space shuttle Columbia, safety culture
has been in the news. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board
report found that “NASA’s organizational culture and
structure had as much to do with the accident as the external tank
took a high profile disaster, the loss of the Columbia, to focus
more attention in “the other Washington” on the importance
of having a safety culture, according to Sharon Morris, assistant
chair for outreach in the Department of Environmental and Occupational
Health Sciences. In “our” Washington, she said, many
companies have been quietly working to understand what it means
to have a workplace safety culture and to make the necessary organizational
Three of those companies talked about their programs in a short
course organized by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health
Advisory Board and the department’s continuing education program
at the September Governor’s Health and Safety Conference.
What, then, is a safety culture? How can a bad one be fixed or a
good one made better?
One academic study, by Mearns and Flin, suggests that measuring
the safety culture of an organization requires looking not just
at individual attitudes and practices, but also paying attention
to the way an organization handles risks and contemplates safety
practices. Safety cultures mirror the organization’s shared
attitudes, perceptions, values, and beliefs around safety.
At the short course, Morris described a shift, in recent decades,
in how we talk about worker injuries. “We used to talk a lot
about accidents — accidents happen.” The solution would
be to “blame the worker; train the worker.” Since then,
she said, we have largely gone from talking about preventing accidents
to preventing injuries and disease.
Here are three companies that could, in Morris’ words, “teach
NASA a thing or two about safety.”
“Why pursue zero injuries?” asked Keith Dyer, safety
director of Mortenson, a Minneapolis-based construction company
that rehabilitated the legislative building in Olympia. “Because
that means that about 1,200 construction workers are killed each
year in the US, and one is simply too many.”
His company established a “zero accidents” task force
in 1989 to research the total cost and human impact of accidents.
It was a radical notion at the time, but the company president recognized
that accepting current industry safety standards would be saying
to 100 of his workers, “eight of you will be hurt on this
job.” That was an unacceptable goal for a family-owned business.
In 1995, the company launched its zero-injuries campaign. It instituted
mandatory training for foremen, field engineers, superintendents,
project managers, and senior leadership. In annual performance reviews,
safety was counted as much as quality and productivity. Another
radical concept was to charge the cost of accidents to the project
Since then, cultural change can be seen, for example, in the daily
stretching and bending classes. In a recent survey, 99% of its workers
rated Mortenson as a safe place to work. In 2003, Mortenson was
awarded the Association of General Contractors’ national construction
safety excellence award.
employee at Welco Lumber doing an ergonomic stretch. Photo courtesy
Welco Lumber Co., Skookum Division
Welco Lumber Company’s Skookum division sawmill in Shelton
makes red cedar siding, decking, and fencing. It sought the University
of Washington’s Field Research and Consultation Group’s
help with its noisy and dusty environment.
Industrial hygienists Gerry Croteau and Mary Ellen Flanagan worked
with the company to build an enclosure for a very loud and dusty
process, the bevel resaw area. Skookum workers built it, then installed
a “made in the USA” sign. Morale in that work group
improved, Flanagan said, and noise levels dropped and wood dust
levels fell from 140% of the permissible exposure limit to 20%,
“an impressive reduction.”
That was only one example of how Skookum has “engaged nearly
everyone in safety,” said Dick Bullard, vice president and
When Welco purchased the Shelton mill three years ago, the old mill
had a slogan that “Safety is #1,” but little follow-through.
The company was using a safety video from the 1940s and tolerating
unsafe conditions. What the signs really meant, Bullard said, was
that “safety was #1—as long as it didn’t affect
A cultural change was about to hit Shelton.
In Welco’s 10-year business plan, the topmost strategic goal
is “to achieve the safest work environment in our industry.”
One of Welco’s key strategies was to use the annual audit
process to ensure continuous improvement in safety. A core value
is to “insist on safe work performance.”
The sawmill production line will be shut down rather than tolerate
an unsafe shortcut. Remarkably, the plant works at 90% efficiency
now, compared with 80% before the changes. Bullard attributes much
of the improvement to getting employees involved with safety.
Throughout the mill, employees realized the company was serious
about safety when Dallas Schmidt, the mill’s business manager,
was reprimanded for taking a long-tolerated shortcut. A second reprimand
would cost him his job.
Lynn Fleming, the plant’s safety manager, said “everybody
actively cares about the safety and health of others—it’s
become like a religion. You practice it all the time, and take it
home with you.”
Pacific Western Pipe has a 60-worker operation in Tacoma that makes
polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe for electrical conduit and irrigation
and drainage lines. “We embraced the [Washington state ergonomics]
rule as we saw it coming,” said Mike Melampy, plant manager.
The result was a state “Ergonomics in Action” award
The company realized how expensive lost-time injuries can be, and
found that, “as safety improved, so did productivity,”
Melampy said. Another result was improved communication. “Once
employees saw that management cared about quality-of-life issues,
they started speaking up,” he said.
Dusty Hughes, a blender operator on the B shift, came to believe
that, as an employee, he could have control over his job. His job
involved scooping PVC resin with a straight-handled scoop that required
a twisting motion that hurt his arm and wrist. He explained the
problem, and company management tried to buy an ergonomic scoop.
When that failed, they asked an outside vendor to help design a
new handle at a 90° angle to the old one. When the state Department
of Labor and Industries heard about the solution, it asked the company
to be part of a demonstration project.
The re-handled scoop was only the beginning. Employees from all
departments—most of them hourly—were asked to sit on
a safety committee. As they started being heard, many concerns were
raised. For example, maintenance employees helped redesign a handcart.
A wall was removed to make it easier to change blades in a grinder,
which previously required working for hours in an awkward posture.
Employee involvement was codified with a near-miss form. “A
review of near-misses gave us information on work problems that
employees faced,” Melampy said. Not only does management get
a report, but all near-misses are reviewed by workers.
For further reading
Geller, ES (1996) The Psychology of Safety, Radnor, PA.
Mearns, KJ and Flin R (1999). Assessing the state of organizational
safety—culture or climate? Current Psychology 18(1):
Nelson, EJ (2003). The Employer Safety Guidebook to Employee
Zero Injury. Nelson Consulting, Inc., Houston, TX.
Culture c. 1911
Hamilton, the nation’s first occupational health physician,
recognized the importance of a safety culture—and of
|© 1996 USPS
Hamilton’s first area of study was the white-lead industry.
American lead plants used a “dry separation” process
when their European counterparts used an underwater method
of changing metallic lead into basic carbonate (white lead).
The American process exposed workers to poisonous dust.
Hamilton visited the factory of Wetherill and Brother, an
old Philadelphia establishment. Her recommendations for cleaning
up dangerous operations were warmly received by Webster King
Wetherill, secretary and treasurer of the company, who promised
Still, she recognized the importance of involving the plant
foreman, a Mr. Foster, who had been her guide on the plant tour.
He had been with the company for 38 years, and she thought he
might favor the status quo.
In a May 22, 1911, letter to Foster, Hamilton wrote:
… The factory which is safe and clean, is the factory
which has a foreman who wishes it to be safe and clean. He
is the most important factor …
As long as your roller room has piles of white lead on the
floor and in open trucks, you will always be having lead poisoning.
You see you will never be able to make your men careful under
those circumstances, for they get so used to dust and untidiness,
that they do not know it when they see it. Make a rule that
the floor must be kept clean and all white lead covered up…
Keep at the men all the time about dust. Teach them to watch
each other, and when you see a man raising dust, tell the
other men that he is poisoning them and they must watch him
Alice Hamilton: A Life in Letters
Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press
Resistant Work Cultures
by Kris Freeman and Pacific Fishing magazine
fishing is one of the world’s deadly occupations. Yet fishers
have shown reluctance to implement safety measures, even though
their risk of injury is high, and the means to reduce risk are
well known and have been proven effective.
Reporters and photographers view violence and trauma regularly,
yet an unwritten code among journalists holds that no assignment,
no matter how dangerous, can prevent them from taking a photograph,
gathering facts, and producing a story.
Teenagers may be among the most resistant populations, combining
inexperience with a sense of immortality.
Departmental outreach staff discussed the difficulties—and
promises—of changing these work cultures in a poster session
at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting
in San Francisco in November.
Kris Freeman discussed the commercial fishing industry’s
work culture of high risk. Fishers minimize their feelings of
vulnerability through fatalism, denial, and a tendency to “blame
the victim” for accidents. The largest improvements in commercial
fishing safety have come from regulation or insurance requirements.
She described successful safety programs that draw on fishers’
business and problem-solving skills, and are congruent with the
industry’s individualistic, competitive culture. A successful
Norwegian program provided detailed cost-benefit analyses (for
example, the cost of safety glasses vs. the cost of an eye injury
at sea). Successful programs in the US have organized public safety-drill
competitions among vessels, such as “survival suit races.”
Kathy Hall and Roger Simpson, an associate professor in the Department
of Communication, describe how journalists and their employers
give little attention to the potential effects of the violence
they see. Indeed, the culture of daily journalism resists interventions
such as those that have become common for public safety agencies.
Simpson and other researchers have found that journalists on the
front lines are strikingly similar to public-safety workers in
both their experiences and their emotional responses, yet they
generally have little safety training or counseling to help them
cope with traumatic events. Three exceptions—media organizations
that have developed positive safety cultures—are Cable News
Network (CNN), the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and
the New York Times.
Darren Linker, of the Health and Safety Awareness for Working
Teens program, described an interactive Web site that can be used
to teach health and safety to students in high school wood shop
classes. They learn general safety principles they can use throughout
their working life, plus specific instructions about safely using
saws, drills, sanders, and other shop equipment.
The goal of the Web site, and of the Health and Safety Awareness
program in general, is to educate students about workplace health
and safety by promoting an attitude of occupational injury and
illness prevention, Linker said.
by Andrew Hendry
131st Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Nov 15-19
researchers are in bold-faced type.
Acharya, Tanya Kim, Marcia Henning, Stella Chao, and Thomas
Burbacher, Community partnerships for culturally competent
environmental health education
Gloria Coronado, Beti Thompson, and William Griffith,
Occupational tasks and organophosphate pesticide exposure among
farm workers in Eastern Washington State
Kris Freeman, Search strategies of e-health
consumers and implications for Web page design
Kris Freeman, Fatalism and denial: Cultural
barriers to improving workplace safety in the commercial fishing
Kris Freeman, Searching for health information
online: How do readers decide which sites to trust?
Kathy Hall, Occupational safety and health
online: University as an information center
James Krieger, Donna Higgins, and Tim Takaro, Housing
and health: interventions and strategies from Seattle
Darren Linker, Using technology to teach safety
and health to vocational students: A new tool for wood shop teachers
Roger Simpson and Kathy Hall, Journalists and
trauma: How newsroom norms can hurt
Larkin Strong, Beti Thompson, Gloria Coronado, and William
Griffith, Reported health symptoms and pesticide exposure
among farmworkers in Central Washington
Tim Takaro, Beryllium exposure and disease
in populations downstream from production: Nuclear weapons workers
and the public surrounding production plants
Laura Welch, Knut Ringen, Eula Bingham, John Dement, Tim
Takaro, William McGowan, Anna Chen, and Patricia Quinn,
Screening for beryllium disease among construction trade workers
at department of energy nuclear sites
Thomas M. Wickizer, Gary Franklin, Deborah Fulton-Kehoe,
Judith Turner, and Terri Smith-Weller, Patient
satisfaction and its relationship to treatment outcomes among injured
workers receiving care through the Washington State Workers’
Loss Among Carpenters
carpenter uses a Skilsaw to cut wood to build a concrete form.
Photo by Rick Neitzel
age 50, two out of three carpenters have lost so much hearing from
occupational noise exposure that they need hearing aids. Researchers
at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are
studying ways to prevent occupational hearing loss and how to teach
carpenters to value good hearing.
Doctors Mark and Carol Stephenson of NIOSH were on campus in October
to discuss the organizational and behavioral aspects of hearing
conservation. Behavioral research, grounded in the social sciences,
can explain how beliefs and behaviors develop, and give insight
into how they can be changed. Mark gave a seminar in the Department
of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. He reported on
research that NIOSH is doing in partnership with the United Brotherhood
of Carpenters and Joiners of America. DEOHS research scientist Rick
Neitzel assisted with portions of their research.
Mark and Carol were invited to campus by Professor Noah Seixas,
who has been researching noise and hearing loss in carpenters for
five years and whose interests have recently turned to behavioral
factors. Noah said, “While understanding how noise affects
hearing is important, changing the way organizations are structured
to support workers’ healthy behaviors is also needed to prevent
A senior research audiologist at NIOSH, Mark stated, “Occupational
hearing loss is so common among carpenters, many think it’s
normal to lose their hearing.” In a profession where fatal
accidents can happen in an instant, a safety culture has evolved
around the precept, “If it doesn’t bleed, don’t
worry about it.” It’s not surprising that the gradual
loss of hearing from noise exposure isn’t respected as a problem.
Carpenters are not unaware of the danger loud noise poses to hearing.
According to the results of a NIOSH survey, 100% agreed or strongly
agreed with the statement “loud noise can hurt my hearing.”
Almost 90% agreed that their own hearing had been damaged by noise.
Nevertheless, the Stephensons’ studies found that only about
17% of carpenters said they wore hearing protection “most
of the time,” and actual observations showed that they wore
protection less than 10% of the time. The challenge, Mark said,
was to develop safety programs that help people become motivated
to protect their hearing.
Mark emphasized that effective hearing loss prevention programs
are not accidental, but are rooted in sound health communication
models that carefully frame hearing loss prevention messages. Such
models include the theory of reasoned action, the health belief
model, and the health promotion model. Carol added that careful
timing is also essential in changing a company’s safety culture.
“You have to consider what else is happening in the company
or in the world that might detract from or facilitate the changes
we desire.” The stages of change model can be used to help
address timing issues in developing safety and training messages.
So, why aren’t carpenters wearing hearing protectors? Mark
noted that it’s not enough for workers to believe they are
susceptible to occupational hearing loss and that the problem is
serious. Effective programs must apply training messages that target
barriers to desired behaviors. For example, Mark explained that
barriers to hearing protector use typically involve the “4
Cs”: comfort, convenience, cost, and communication. He noted
that cost involves more than dollars and cents. There may be a social
cost to wearing hearing protectors. Some workers may experience
social pressure to be “tough” and not wear them. If
training messages ignore social issues, even the best hearing protectors
may not be worn. Communication barriers include the ability to hear
important sounds such as speech and warning signals. With well over
200 models of hearing protectors to choose from, Mark stated there
should be a device to meet every need and address every barrier.
By removing barriers and developing hearing loss prevention skills,
it should be possible to imbue workers with a belief that they are
in control of their own hearing health. Only then will hearing loss
prevention programs be likely to succeed. Investments in hearing
protection programs can bring huge rewards, Mark said, because “occupational
hearing loss is 100% preventable.”
FOR FURTHER READING
Glanz, K, Rimer, BK, Lewis, FM, eds. (2002). Health Behavior
and Health Education. Theory, Research and Practice. 3rd edition.
Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
NIOSH Web site
on hearing loss prevention
noise Web site
than 200 industrial hygienists, safety professionals, occupational
medicine physicians, occupational health nurses, and audiologists
attended an Oct. 15 seminar titled “State of the art
concepts in noise and hearing loss.” The Pacific Northwest
Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association sponsored
the session, which was held at the annual Northwest Occupational
Health Conference. Departmental staff and faculty including
Rick Neitzel, Sue Swan, Noah Seixas, Janice Camp, and Bill
Daniell organized this one-day short course. The seminar featured
nationally recognized speakers in the areas of hearing loss
biology, epidemiology, exposure assessment, hearing conservation,
and noise control.
Creating a Safe Workplace On The Farm
faculty and associates addressing a wide range of topics played
a major role in “Challenges in agricultural health and safety.”
The annual conference is co-sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Agricultural
Safety and Health (PNASH) Center, one of 10 NIOSH-funded agricultural
centers in the nation. Its counterpart at the University of California,
Davis, hosted this year’s event, held in San Francisco in
September. About 120 people, mostly researchers from the western
United States, attended.
Richard Fenske, professor and PNASH director, assessed federal standards
on pesticide illnesses and injuries and found them lacking. The
current standard is generic in its approach to such issues as personal
protective equipment and does not require exposure monitoring or
medical surveillance. Recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
recommendations regarding pesticides rely heavily on protective
equipment and worker education rather than engineering controls.
Matthew Kiefer, associate professor and PNASH co-director, reviewed
new research on health effects of pesticide exposure among agricultural
workers. In developing countries, older, more dangerous chemicals
remain in use despite their proven ill effects, while the newer,
“safer” pesticides used in developed countries may have
unforeseen health consequences. Many of them resemble pharmaceuticals
in action and similar toxicity may be expected. Since pesticides
are rarely tested on humans, however, the side effects have not
yet been assessed.
Boiko, outreach director at PNASH, reported on her recent project
involving mental health disabilities among Hispanic farm workers
in the Yakima valley. She helped develop a new survey tool to work
with this population, including people with low literacy in Spanish
as well as English. The self-administered, tape recorded survey
proved reliable for diagnosing mental illness.
has many hazards, including power equipment, pesticides, and
Professor Jane Koenig of the Northwest Center for Particulate Air
Pollution and Health and Peter Johnson, an assistant professor who
specializes in ergonomics, spoke about recent research into diseases
associated with farming and tools for measuring agricultural injuries.
Koenig, an authority on respiratory ailments, reported that studies
of the effects of particulate matter from field burning in Pullman
and Spokane indicate increased symptoms in subjects with asthma
or chronic respiratory diseases. Johnson introduced two breakthrough
ergonomic research tools he is helping to develop: the “Virtual
Corset,” a pager-sized device that attaches to the subject’s
body and measures either limb/trunk postures or 360† of limb rotation,
and a tattletale logger that will be able to collect physiological
data unattended for long periods of time.
Discussions of two PNASH-funded projects were also on the conference
program. Kathy Pitts of Eastern Washington University spoke about
an innovative farm health and safety intervention method, interactive
plays, used with Hispanic farm workers. Maria Hernandez-Peck, also
of EWU, reported on her study of older farmers in Eastern Washington
and the factors in their retirement.
In addition, PNASH research scientist Angela Carden and research
coordinator Maria Negrete contributed posters to the conference
as did several UW students working with the Center: Fabioloa Estrada
(MS graduate), Kathryn Toepel (MS student), and Lisa Younglove (MPH
student). PNASH faculty and staff mentor students, and the Center
further supports them through graduate stipends, tuition, and travel.
PNASH will host next year’s conference, “Cultivating a
sustainable agriculture workplace,” in Portland, Oregon, Sept.
To confirm this schedule, or find more information
about these courses, call 206-543-1069 or visit the Continuing
Education website. Courses are in Seattle unless otherwise noted.
Center for Occupational Health & Safety
exhaust and human health: Current scientific and policy issues
hazardous waste refreshers
and techniques to improve your safety training programs
Sound Occupational and Environmental Medicine Grand Rounds
safety, health, and medicine conference
aging workforce: Developing health and safety strategies that
Sound Occupational and Environmental Medicine Grand Rounds
and vector-borne disease: Current and emerging issues
Sound Occupational and Environmental Medicine Grand Rounds
and receiving of hazardous materials for laboratory operations
Training Institute Educational Center
for OSHA rules only! All classes offer training that meets WISHA,
OR-OSHA, and Alaska state standards.
501: OSHA Trainer course for general industry
510: OSHA Standards for construction (Portland)
3110: Fall arrest systems
511: General industry standards (Boise)
502: Construction trainer update (Portland)
on Safety seminar: Competent person
2225: Respiratory protection
503: General industry trainer update (Portland)
510: OSHA Standards for construction
3010: Excavation, trenching, & soil mechanics (Portland)
on Safety seminar: Steel erection
safety & health duties
2250: Principles of ergonomics
500: Trainer course for construction industry (Portland)
511: General industry standards
6000: Collateral duty for other federal agencies (Portland)
on Safety seminar: Scaffolding
2015: Hazardous materials
2225: Respiratory protection (Portland)
521: Guide to industrial hygiene
503: General industry trainer update
6000: Collateral duty for other federal agencies (Spokane)
500: Trainer course for construction industry
511: General industry standards (Portland)
6000: Collateral duty for other federal agencies
521: OSHA guide to industrial hygiene (Portland)
500: Trainer course for construction industry (Boise)
502: construction trainer update
3095: Electrial Standards (Portland)
Mike Morgan has been named as the first editor-in-chief of
the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, jointly sponsored
by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). This journal,
which will begin publication in January, will replace journals previously
published by these two associations.
John Milner, a former occupational medicine physician
on our faculty, has been promoted to full professor in the School
of Medicine. It is unusual to be promoted to a full professorship
unless one is fulltime faculty. This honor reflects his significant
contributions to teaching and clinical training. John also received
the Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award (Dermatology) in 2000 after
Gribble, a PhD student in the Faustman lab, won two awards
at the 2003 Teratology Society Meeting: the Eli Lilly women and minority
travel award, and the James Bradford award for best poster. The Bradford
award led to an invited talk at the Middle Atlantic Reproductive and
Teratology Association 2003 meeting.
Professor Noah Seixas attended the Skanska USA safety
strategic planning conference in October. He also presented an update
on the department’s studies in the construction industry to
the Western Washington Construction Apprenticeship Coordinators in
student Jon Hofmann was in Costa Rica in July to
work with investigators at the Central American Institute of Studies
of Toxic Substances (IRET) on a cohort mortality study of former banana
plantation workers. This is a follow-up study of more than 40,000 people
who worked on banana plantations during the 1970s and had high
exposures to pesticides. The researchers will look at the causes of
death of former workers, to see if any are related to high pesticide
exposure levels or other risk factors of working on banana plantations.
Professor Mike Yost gave a talk to the Puget Sound
Clean Air Agency on optical remote sensing methods in September. In
October, he gave a talk in San Francisco to the US EPA standing air
monitoring work group on open-path measurements of particulate matter.
Senior Lecturer Janice Camp received the Distinguished
Industrial Hygienist Award from the Pacific Northwest Section of the
American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Noah Seixas, Sue Swan, Rick Neitzel, Rick Gleason, Bill Daniell,
Gerry Croteau, Stephanie Carter, Marie Martin, Mike Morgan, Kate Stewart,
Steve Russell, Austin Sumner, Joel Kaufman, Mary Ellen Flanagan,
and Richard Fenske presented their research at the
Northwest Occupational Health Conference in mid-October in Seattle.
Professor Lucio Costa gave invited presentations
at the International Neurotoxicology Association meeting in Dresden,
the EUROTOX meeting in Florence, and the Italian Society of Occupational
Medicine in Bari.
Assistant Professor Peter Johnson traveled some 48,000
miles (the equivalent of twice around the world) collaborating on
ergonomic issues. In June and December, he was in Go¨thenburg,
Sweden, working on a physical exposure assessment of cell phone users—teenagers
who are wearing out their thumbs by text messaging. In June, he worked
with the Danish National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) on
a muscle fatigue study (see Environmental Health News, winter 2001).
In August, he presented a software tool to assess exposures of office
work at the International Ergonomics Association Conference in Seoul,
Korea. In September, he presented exposure assessment tools for agricultural
ergonomics at the Challenges in Agricultural Health & Safety Conference
in San Francisco (see page 8). In September, he was also at Harvard,
working on an exposure assessment system for computer workers. He
also worked with Vermont-based Microstrain on hardware for agricultural
ergonomic exposure assessment (a virtual corset). In November, he
was in Thailand and Vietnam to conduct ergonomics courses for the
Four investigators from the EPA-funded Northwest Center for Particulate
Air Pollution and Health attended meetings in Vancouver, BC, in October.
Tim Larson and Jane Koenig spoke
at a symposium on Air Quality and Health sponsored by the British
Columbia Lung Association. Koenig, Larson, Joel Kaufman,
and Jeff Sullivan attended a discussion of cross-boundary
air pollution issues sponsored by the Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Air
Quality and Health Impacts Cohort Study.
Rolf Hahne and Mike Yost taught
a two-day course on Exposure Assessment at Burapha University in Chonburi,
Thailand, in June.
Shengli Shi won a second place award for student
platform presentations and $100 at the Pacific Northwest Association
of Toxicologists (PANWAT) 2003 annual meeting.
Professor Elaine Faustman traveled to China in November
as the toxicology delegation leader of the People to People ambassador
program. Because many Chinese toxicology students obtain their graduate
training in the US, it is of value for American scientists to learn
more about the toxicological issues, opportunities, and challenges
Senior Lecturer Chuck Treser attended the Environmental
and Occupational Health Education conference in August, which focused
on how schools of public health could better address children’s
environmental health issues. In September, he was invited to a meeting
of the national Public Health Training Centers to set a research agenda
for rural public health for the US Health Resources and Services Administration
(HRSA). He developed a white paper on environmental health research
needs, which he is revising for the final report.
Dr. Patricia Boiko, director of outreach for the
Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH), chaired
a stakeholder workshop in July in Toppenish. The workshop brought
together 18 stakeholders and seven PNASH staff to develop a process
for involving affected parties in the center’s activities. Attendees
came from government, agriculture, labor, agricultural extension,
tribes, and community organizations. Others from PNASH were Richard
Fenske, Marcy Harrington, Matt Keifer, Stacey Holland, Karen Snyder,
and Maria Negrete.
Hazards to Children
Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) provides
free telephone consultation on pediatric environmental health risks
to health care providers, public health professionals, communities,
Consultants include pediatricians, toxicologists, occupational and
environmental medicine physicians, and other environmental health
specialists affiliated with the University of Washington. PEHSU professionals
can assess health risks such as mercury in childhood vaccinations,
exposures to silica dust, and well water contaminated with arsenic.
For assistance, call 1-877-KID-CHEM (1-877-543-2436).
Consultants can provide educational assistance on pediatric environmental
health risks. For example, they could work with providers at community
hospitals near a Superfund site. For educational assistance, call
Providers also see children and their families at the University of
Washington Medical Center, Roosevelt, in Seattle.
Please contact the PEHSU Coordinator, Nancy Beaudet, 206-341-4448,
or visit http://depts.washington.edu/pehsu/,
for general questions or to request a copy of the PEHSU brochure.
NW PEHSU was created by the University of Washington Occupational
and Environmental Medicine Program together with the Washington Poison
Center. It is federally funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry (ATSDR) through the Association of Occupational
and Environmental Clinics, and covers Region X: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon,
Keifer, Mary Salazar, and Karen Snyder received a grant to conduct
community health interventions with Yakima valley agricultural workers.
The four-year grant is funded by the National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, along
with community groups, will assist Hispanic farm workers in responding
to occupational and environmental risks. The Northwest Communities
Education Center/Radio KDNA, a community-based nonprofit organization
and Spanish language public radio station, will lead the outreach
effort. Heritage College will be a training site for students and
a base for field research.
The Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic will serve as a student training
site and produce clinical protocols and guidelines on occupational
and environmental health concerns. The project is expected to create
sustainable partnerships between community organizations, the Yakima
valley Hispanic community, and University of Washington scientists.
Health News is published three times a year by the Dept. of Environmental
and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington.
should be addressed to
Environmental Health News
4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98105-6099;
the department on the World Wide Web at http://depts.washington.edu/envhlth.
permission is granted providing that copyright notice as given below
is included. We would appreciate receiving a copy of your reprinted
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University
Editor - Sharon L. Morris
Writer & Editor - Kathy Hall
Writer - Eric Swenson
& Illustrator - Cathy Schwartz
Design - Devon DeLapp
Assistant - Kipling West
Chair - David A. Kalman
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