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Health and Safety Headlines

OSHA Likely to Approve Massachusetts State Plan for Government Workers

Federal OSHA has proposed granting initial approval for a Massachusetts state safety and health plan to cover both state and local government workers. The OSH Act doesn’t cover state and local government workers, but allows states to create their own plans that do. Massachusetts would become the seventh state to institute a plan protecting public sector employees. Approval is based on an assessment that the state plan will be at least as effective as federal OSHA in protecting the safety and health of workers.

Work-Related Exercise More Likely to Raise Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Researchers at NIOSH and the University of Pittsburgh found that people had prolonged higher heart rates and increased blood pressure following physical activity at work compared to leisure activities. This aligns with previous studies suggesting occupational physical activity has a negative effect on heart health, while leisure activity improves cardiovascular health. Overall, the study suggests that public health recommendations for exercise may need to be adjusted to distinguish between occupational and leisure activities.

Controversial Pesticide Linked to Cancer Found in Majority of U.S. Urine Samples

A government study found that glyphosate, a widely used but potentially carcinogenic herbicide, was found in more than 80 percent of urine samples from U.S. kids and adults. Because it’s so widely used in agriculture, Americans are exposed to the chemical through food virtually every day. In 2020, the EPA said glyphosate doesn’t pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer, but the agency has recently been asked to reexamine its findings. In the meantime, Bayer will remove glyphosate from its residential Roundup products starting in 2023, but glyphosate will still be available for professional and farm use.

WHO Declares Monkeypox an International Health Emergency

Monkeypox, which has spread to 75 countries and has infected at least 16,000 people, has been declared a “health emergency of international concern” by the World Health Organization. While experts agree that monkeypox isn’t as threatening to public health as COVID-19, they hope the new designation will prompt countries to invest in resources to curb its spread, including access to vaccines and treatments. Monkeypox is transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal and can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion and a blister-like rash that appears on the face, hands, feet, chest, genitals and inside the mouth.

[Hannah Sabitoni]

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