Weekly News Round-UpThe government shutdown’s potential affect on public health, Academy Awards for the EHS community and the question your doctor should be asking you are among this week’s top stories as featured on ISHN.com:

Explosion at natural gas plant in Mexico kills five workers

Latest in a series of gas-related incidents

The BBC is reporting that an explosion at a natural gas storage plant in Mexico Tuesday night has killed at least five people – all employees at the facility.

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Shutdown ends, uncertainty remains

Will politicians’ actions cause U.S. brain drain?

With the 16-day government shutdown officially over, 450,000 furloughed federal employees headed back to work today. While it’s unclear how long it will take EHS-related agencies like OSHA, MSHA, NIOSH, the CSB and the NTSHA to get back up to speed, some consequences of the shutdown include an estimated $23 billion hit to the U.S. economy and – some say – irreversible damage to the scientific standing of the country.

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Calif. luggage maker earns $34,000 in state OSH fines

Lack of PPE, heat-related illness among hazards

Blocked fire exits, lack of foot protection and dangerously stacked merchandise were among the hazards discovered recently at a California distribution center by the state’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

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Second worker dies at 49ers stadium-in-progress

Crews working in “high gear” to meet deadline

A truck driver crushed by a bundle of rebar on Monday was the second worker killed at the construction site for the new San Francisco 49ers stadium. Sports Illustrated (SI) is reporting that 60-year-old Edward Erving Lake II, was severely injured by the rebar, which was being unloaded from his truck.

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Best OSH films to be recognized at international festival

“What are the trends?”

It’s the EHS version of the Academy Awards: a media festival taking place in Frankfurt, Germany in 2014 will honor the best media productions about occupational safety and health. The International Media Festival for Prevention will give awards to films and multimedia applications that increase risk awareness on the part of employees or provide information on comprehensive safety topics.

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Is government shutdown undermining work safety?

"We can't afford to have this lapse"

With many safety inspections suspended because of the federal government shutdown, observers say there's an increasing risk for workers. At least half of the staff members at federal safety agencies are furloughed, and many operations that normally keep workers safe on the job have stopped.

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Ethics education a must for safety professionals, study says

A recent study examining ethical reasoning among safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals is expected to help educators determine how to integrate a moral and ethical base within safety curricula to prepare future safety professionals to have an ethics based thought process when they enter the work force.

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Poll: Americans favor federal regulations to prevent chemical plant disasters

A new national poll released by a coalition of more than 100 health, labor, community, environmental and public interest organizations shows that, in the wake of the West, Texas, chemical plant explosion, American strongly support new federal requirements to prevent disasters at facilities that store hazardous chemicals.

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Your doctor should be asking you about this, says AHA

It’s “as bad for you as smoking”

The next time you go in for a checkup, in addition to checking your blood pressure and other cardiac risk factors, your doctor should ask how much you exercise.

That new recommendation from the American Heart Association (AHA) is because “physical inactivity is about as bad for you as smoking,” says Scott Stratch, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s College of Health Sciences.

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Air pollution affecting health in Europe

Air quality is "a central concern"

Around 90 % of city dwellers in the European Union (EU) are exposed to one of the most damaging air pollutants at levels deemed harmful to health by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to the latest assessment of air quality in Europe published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

"Fire-safe" cigarettes help reduce fire deaths

Reduced ignition strength makes them extinguish quickly if ignored

According to a recent report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 540 civilian deaths in the United States were attributed to smoking material fires in 2011, a 30 year low that is well down from 1980 levels.

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"Diseases do not respect government shutdowns”

Public health experts slam politicians

Congress’ current piecemeal approach to funding government agencies is not winning fans among public health experts, who point to a salmonella outbreak that has spread to 18 states as evidence that the budget impasse is endangering the nation’s health.

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New York City residents have above average pesticide exposures

Dense living conditions could be a factor

Think pesticide exposure occurs mainly in rural settings, among agricultural workers? Think again. A new study shows that New York City residents have a higher-than-average exposure to two types of pesticides.

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