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Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH

of Lecturer, Texas State University & Professorial Lecturer Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Posts by this author

October 25, 2017
Celebrity chef John Besh has joined Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly in news headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace. The New Orleans-based Besh?has received numerous James Beard awards and has appeared on the Bravo TV network’s show Top Chef. His offenses were reported this week by?…
October 20, 2017
The headlines are grabbing people's attention: CBC News: "Pollution causing more deaths worldwide than war or smoking";?CNN: "Pollution linked to 9 million deaths worldwide in 2015, study says"; BBC: "Pollution linked to one in six deaths";? Associated Press: "Pollution killing more people every…
October 14, 2017
OSHA took the long road to adopt a standard to address respirable crystalline silica. Although the final rule was issued in March 2016, it is being challenged by both industry and labor groups. The first says OSHA went too far, the other says OSHA didn’t go far enough. The long road, however may be…
October 11, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court is not interested in hearing former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's claim that he didn't get a fair trial. On October 10, the court denied Blankenship's petition to review his criminal conviction. (here (see page 3)) In December 2015 a jury found Blankenship guilty of…
October 4, 2017
President Trump’s nominee to head the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) appeared today before a Senate committee for a confirmation hearing. David Zatezalo answered questions about the epidemic of black lung cases, an increase in mine worker fatalities, the need for…
September 29, 2017
West Virginia’s senior U.S. senator will not be supporting President Trump’s nominee to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued a statement on Wednesday which said: “While I appreciate Mr. Zatezalo’s willingness to serve, I cannot support his…
September 22, 2017
It’s been nearly a month since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25 off the Gulf coast of Texas. The Houston Chronicle continues its excellent coverage of the massive “clean-up” efforts in cities across the region. Today’s edition features photos and interviews from Dickinson, TX, a town…
September 15, 2017
The Trump Administration is proposing to scrap a requirement for mine operators to conduct safety checks before miners begin their work. Identifying hazards and fixing them is key to preventing work-related injuries and deaths. The requirement on Trump's chopping block applies to more than 11,000…
September 7, 2017
Researchers who investigate the impact of the work environment on health contributed dozens of papers to the peer-reviewed literature over the past 12 months. Scholars and advocates with non-profit organizations also published reports on various topics related to worker rights and safety. The final…
September 6, 2017
Investigative journalists play an important role in raising public awareness about worker health and safety issues. The number and quality of stories over the last 12 months was exceptional so "The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety" includes a full section which highlights our picks for…
September 5, 2017
Kim Krisberg and I published yesterday---Labor Day 2017---the sixth edition of "The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety." ?It’s our effort to record the key events which advanced (or degraded) worker safety protections in the last 12 months. Kim's?blog post yesterday?provided an overview…
August 31, 2017
Massive “clean-up” projects are underway in Houston and the surrounding region. As the waters brought by Hurricane Harvey recede, individuals seeking work---day laborers---will be assembling in damaged neighborhoods and offering their skills. It was a commonplace scene following Superstorm Sandy's…
August 30, 2017
Drivers honked and waved. They gave thumbs up to the 30 people on the sidewalk. The group was holding signs outside a North Carolina poultry plant. “El ba?o” – the bathroom – was the word catching the drivers’ attention. The scene on August 14 was a demonstration in front of the Case Farms poultry…
August 18, 2017
Earth Justice, the United Steelworkers, the Environmental Defense Fund and other public interest groups are suing the Trump administration over two new regulations to address toxic substances. The groups filed petitions last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. They are asking…
August 8, 2017
Our colleague Lizzie Grossman, a contributing writer at The Pump Handle, died earlier this month from ovarian cancer. ?She was a long-time freelance writer who specialized in environmental health topics. Her books included?Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of…
July 26, 2017
My favorite way to capture students’ attention about lead poisoning is to tell them about Dr. Herbert Needleman and his use of children’s baby teeth. In the late 1960's, Needleman recruited school teachers in Chelsea and Somerville, MA to collect their young students’ deciduous teeth when they fell…
July 19, 2017
I spend most of my time these summer days in cool air-conditioned (AC) environments. I feel the 100 degree heat when I’m going from one AC-cooled building to another. For me, the intense central Texas heat is something that is “out there” not "in here." But?I was reminded today of people whose jobs…
July 12, 2017
The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay describes the Tour de France as part bike race and part soap opera. The 198 riders who start the 23-day event are phenomenal athletes. Many will complete the race but not until they peddle 2,200 miles across farm land, past historic monasteries, through charming…
July 7, 2017
I started my post yesterday with my version of the famous quote from the film Casablanca: “I'm shocked,?shocked?to find an epidemic of black lung disease.” It was my reaction to the latest story by NPR’s Howard Berkes?about nearly 2,000 recently diagnosed cases of the most severe form of black lung…
July 6, 2017
I felt a little like Claude Rains (as Capt. Louis Renault) in the film Casablanca. He's the actor with the famous line "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here." On Sunday my neighbor asked me:?“What do you think about all those coal miners with black lung?” “Shocked, shocked,”…
June 30, 2017
It is maddening to read yet again about a worker being killed in a trench cave-in. These deaths are completely preventable by using some pretty cheap equipment. The death of Donald “DJ” Meyer in December 2016 is especially tragic. The 33 year-old is survived by his son Ashten, 8. The youngster’s…
June 27, 2017
I had one ear tuned this morning to the webcast of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s appearance before a subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee on his Department’s FY 2018 budget request. You never know what bumble bee might be in a lawmaker’s bonnet or how they might use their time to gush about…
June 23, 2017
The first six months of the Trump administration has been particularly deadly for coal miners. Nine workers at U.S. coal mines have been fatally injured in the first six months of 2017. Five of the nine deaths occurred in West Virginia. In all of 2016, eight workers were killed on the job at U.S.…
June 22, 2017
Tesla held its annual stockholder meeting this month, and co-founder/CEO Elon Musk was asked to speak about worker safety problems at their plants. He briefly mentioned the topic in his prepared remarks, but was probed later about it by a stockholder.?The question came from @sunabeepdeep who asked…
June 16, 2017
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit against one of President Trump’s deregulatory efforts. Executive Order 13771 (EO) requires an agency to rescind two regulations for each one it wants to adopt, and have the action's combined incremental costs…
June 13, 2017
[This post is dedicated to Doug Larkin. Doug was the co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. He suffered in recent years with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and passed away yesterday.]? Dallas-based OxyChem imports about 300,000 pounds of asbestos each year. Yes, asbestos.…
June 8, 2017
The phrase used in human resource circles is an “absence control program.” It's a program in which employees receive demerits company-determined infractions such as an absence or being late for a shift. If a worker accumulates too many demerits or "points," s/he is fired. I worked at a restaurant…
June 7, 2017
My typical afternoon snack has its roots in New York’s $14 billion a year dairy industry. The state leads the country in Greek yogurt production. A new report by the Workers’ Center of Central New York (WCCNY) and the Worker Justice Center of New York (WJCNY) fills me in on the laborers who make…
June 1, 2017
Add this to the list of absurdities from the Trump Administration: the Justice Department (DOJ) is arguing that the AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers (USW) should rely on DOJ attorneys to defend an Obama-era OSHA regulation. Seriously? The rule that DOJ says it will defend on the unions' behalf…
June 1, 2017
The text came in from my husband: "Canada is going to be getting warmer all the time." That was his way of telling me today's news that President Trump is pulling out of the historic, global climate change agreement. ?It makes me sad and brings to mind the words of Pope Francis in his encyclical…