NIOSH eNews - October, 2012

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


Bookmark and Share


Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser.


niosh logo
The Monthly Newsletter of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Volume 10 Number 6 October 2012

From the Director’s Desk

John Howard, M.D. Director, NIOSH

A New Rule Establishes Standards for Evaluation of Digital Chest Radiographs

Since its creation, NIOSH has been responsible by law for administering a program that offers chest radiographs, or x-rays, to provide underground coal miners with medical monitoring for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or "black lung," the term by which this serious but preventable occupational lung disease is probably better known among the general public. The NIOSH Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP) evaluates miners’ chest radiographs for the presence and severity of changes in the lung associated with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. The program uses a standardized classification system developed by the International Labour Office (ILO).

Until recently, the ILO system could only be applied to traditional film radiographs, because it required the use of film-based radiography, the only radiography technology that existed years ago when the technical standard was developed. As a result, the system (and critically for our agency, the NIOSH program based on the system) could not be applied to the modern, digital chest images, which have largely replaced film-based radiographs at medical facilities in the United States. Digital imaging has largely replaced film methods because of its many advantages: It eliminates the need to develop film. It allows the electronic images to be stored and used economically like other computer files. It allows images to be adjusted to improve visualization of abnormalities and to compensate for problems like over-exposure of the image.

Recognizing the need to modernize the CWHSP, NIOSH embarked on a sustained effort about seven years ago to enable use of digital chest imaging in the program. An important barrier was the need to develop the highly technical guidance needed to ensure that digital imaging would provide results equivalent to film radiography under the ILO classification system. This was important because the ability to adjust the appearance of digital images could potentially affect the interpretation of specialists who read the radiograph to identify and classify abnormalities associated with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. Because a body of information in this area did not already exist, NIOSH and partners carried out the necessary research.

Link Up with Total Worker Health on LinkedIn

Join NIOSH’s Total Worker Health™ Group on LinkedIn. Connect with experts leading the integration of health protection and health promotion. Share your ideas and experiences and ask questions on ways to best integrate health protection and health promotion in the workplace. Stay up to date on new research and practices in Total Worker Health™.

WTC Final Rule Statement

On September 12, the WTC Health Program administrator published a final rule in the Federal Register adding certain types of cancers to the list of WTC-related health conditions under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. The final rule will become effective 30 days after publication, on October 12. For additional information about the addition of cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions visit

Former NFL Players at Increased Risk of Death from Neurodegenerative Causes, Study Finds

A new NIOSH study found that National Football League (NFL) players may be at a higher risk of death associated with Alzheimer’s and other impairments of the brain and nervous system than the general U.S. population. These results are consistent with recent studies by other research institutions that suggest an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease among football players. Read more

Free Hearing Loss Webinar

On October 30, at 3:00 EDT, join NIOSH for a free NIOSH train-the-trainer webinar on preventing work-related hearing loss. CEUs are available. For more information or to register, go to

WestON Meeting - Building Western Capacity

The fifth annual Western States Occupational Network (WestON) meeting was held in September in Denver. The meeting provided a venue for state occupational safety and health professionals throughout the western U.S. to meet and share ideas for collaboration, information exchange and capacity building. Presentations, agenda and photos can be viewed at
. The sixth WestON meeting is planned for September 26–27, 2013, in Denver. For more information on this meeting or initiatives to foster state OSH capacity in the West, please contact Yvonne Boudreau (

Collaborating Center Newsletter Available

The September Collaborating Centre Connection newsletter is now available with updates on the work of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health.

News from Our Partners

Florida Occupational Health and Safety Program

The Florida Occupational Health and Safety Program released a new report on work-related fatalities in Florida. The report can be found at


In This Issue

Around NIOSH

Health Hazard Evaluations (HHE)
FACE Reports
Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Reports
r2p Corner
Federal Register Notices
New Communication Products
Call for Abstracts
Upcoming Events

Did you know?

NIOSH/Cincinnati employees recently participated in a Diversity service project with Childhood Food Solutions (CFS) to help repack food into individual bags for CFS to deliver to a local school before the next long weekend when school-provided breakfasts and lunches are not available. NIOSH Cincinnati employees have volunteered twice during the last year with CFS, packing thousands of bags for distribution to children.

NIOSH Web Sites

NIOSH eNews is Brought to You By:
  • John Howard, M.D., Director
  • Fred Blosser, Editor in Chief
  • Tanya Headley, Story Editor
  • Jenise Brassell, Monthly Features Editor
  • Cathy Rotunda, Copy Editor
  • Glenn Doyle, Technical Lead
  • Kevin Whaley, Technical Support

You are subscribed to NIOSH eNews for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This information has recently been updated, and is now available.