Nearly 9,500 People Die Each Year in London from Air Pollution


Debate continues to rage in almost every circle about whether global warming is simply a natural cyclical phenomenon or whether are responsible because of our emissions. Put that debate aside because it really doesn’t matter whether our emissions are causing global warming or not. It doesn’t  matter because regardless we need to reduce emissions.

A new study on pollution in London came to the conclusion that almost 10,000 people die each year because of air pollution. Previous studies showed much lower numbers but this is primarily because they failed to include NO2 in the study. Diesel engines and vehicles are the main culprit when it comes to NO2 emissions.

Clean emissions in the past decade has mainly focused on gasoline engine emissions largely ignoring diesel engines. This new data opens up a whole new issue when it comes to air quality, especially in big cities like London.

You can read more about this story on

Death on the Job

A new report published on the website gives a national and a state-by-state profile of worker safety and health. The 216 page report entitled “Death on the Job the Toll of Neglect” gives a ton of information and data.

dotj_cover_2015_mediumThere’s a lot of reading that gives a lot of numbers and statistics but once you get through that there are a number of very telling and interesting charts and graphs that tell the story better.

Then, look up your state to see where it ranks with other states.

CDC Not Practicing What They Preach

The purpose of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is to control diseases and keep them from spreading or so it would seem from the name of the organization. Turns out, however, that the CDC gets a fail grade on lab procedures and house keeping that would, in fact, keep diseases from spreading.

An independent evaluation of the CDC concluded

Prompting this investigation of the CDCs safety procedures is a set of lab accidents this past year in handling Anthrax, Bird Flu and Ebola. Fortunately no one was hurt but that, apparently had more to do with luck than anything that CDC might have put together to protect its workers.

Additionally, workers at the CDC are afraid to report problems and safety violations for fear of repercussions.

that measures are being taken to rectify these problems stating that additional safety training is being scheduled and new safety measures are now in place.

I don’t know about you but I’m sure I’ll sleep better at night knowing this!


Stats on Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers by State

Oregon, Colorado and Washington head the list of abusers of “nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers” (Interesting that of these three states, two have now legalized marijuana) according to a new report released by SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) NSDUH Report (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) dated January 8th, 2013.

The study, which you can view or download online in PDF form lists each state and where it falls in percentage of drug abusers of pain killers.

The report further breaks down the percentage by age category (12-17, 18-25, 26 or older).

Comparisons with prior years show a decrease in certain states and, for a bit of good news, no increase in any of the 50 states.

Let’s hope that the next report shows further decreases.

On a personal note, I do believe that the bulk of the responsibility for this decrease will lie with doctors who perscribe pain killers easily and to almost anyone. Doctors need to realize how dangerous pain killers can be.

Whistleblowe Statistics for 2012

With 2012 over and done with, OSHA has just released the stats on its’ whistleblower program.

The statistics show that cases filed continues to increase steadily.

The vast majority of cases were, of course, withdrawn or dismissed (disgruntled employees, people seeking to create problems, etc…).
The actual number of cases found to have merit dropped from 55 in 2011 to 45 in 2012.

You can view all the data on the OSHA whistleblowers website. It is essentially 7 pages of charts and graphs like the one above, making it easy to view at a glance.

A State-by-State Injury Rating just posted a injury prevention report card for each state. Based on an evaluation on “10 key indicators of steps states can take to prevent injuries”, including such things as enforcing seat belts, drunk driving, domestic violence, etc…

One one scored a perfect 10, but CA and New York got a 9 while WA, OR and North Carolina each scored an 8.
At the bottom of the list Montana and Ohio ended up with only 2 out of ten.

Using the map on the site, you can click on your state to find out where you rank and why.


How Safe Are Our Pipelines?

We’ve covered this issue more than once in this blog, namely the issue of how well our natural gas pipelines are being maintained (See the Sept. 23, 2010 & the Sept. 21, 2010 blog posts).

A new report issued last week by a coalition of US environmental groups claims that the pipelines owned and operated by Alberta’s energy industry might not be as safe as they are purported to be. The issue apparently is that the pipeline in question is supposed to carry bitumen which is a tar sand sludge from Alberta down to Texas (note the fact that it covers pretty much the whole height of the United States and only a small section of Canada) in order to refine the mixture further than it already is. In this “marginally refined slug” are a lot of impurities and heavy metals as well as sand. The report is claiming that this mixture is far more corrosive than the Alberta Energy industry believes it is and that, as a result it is going to slowly erode the pipelines putting a large section of the United States at risk.

To make matters worse, many are claiming that we don’t even need all the oil that we are buying from Canada. It’s really an economic issue having to do with trade issues between Canada and the US. There are alternate forms of energy we can use if we are willing to cut down on the amount of oil we import.

The Alberta energy industry, needless to say, claims that the report is exaggerated and inaccurate… no surprise there!

Half of all admissions now through ER

As if the state of the economy isn’t enough, a new report, entitled “2009 Emergency Department Pulse Report Patient Perspectives on American Health Care” adds to the bad news.

According to the report, half of all hospitals admissions in the USA now come through the Emergency Department. Additional bad news from the report findings tell us that the average time spent in ER has now climbed to four hours and three minutes. That’s a lot of people spending a lot of time sitting around in the Emergency Room.

The full report is available for download from the Press Ganey website here.

The results of this increase means increased stress on medical personnel, overcrowding, a decrease in the quality of the care that patients receive and inconsistencies in the way that various medical issues are handled. The state of the economy and the increase of uninsured patients is, in large part, to blame.

Strangely enough, satisfaction with the quality of care in ER from patients has steadily increased over the past five years as seen in this chart, taken from the report:

The question begging to be asked, of course, is why, with the increased wait time, overcrowding, storing of patients in the hallways, lack of consistency and standardizations, increased irritability of staff, etc… are people happier than ever? I’m guessing that it proves that we can get used to almost anything given time. Has it gotten so bad that we are happy with 4 hour waits and other problems simply because we thought it was going to be even worse?