Advocating for Health and Safety in the workplace is a protected right. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) protects health and safety advocacy as a concerted activity. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) protects it under section 11 (c) of the OSH Act of 1970. Nurses represented by a union have further protections, under contractual language negotiated into contracts.
NYSNA encourages its members to participate in EnviRN Knowledge Network's National Call-in Day for Safe Chemicals on Tues., Dec. 13. Members are urged to contact their members of the U.S. Senate, asking them to support the Safe Chemicals Act. Toxic chemicals are in every day consumer products and are found in our bodies, environment and communities. Current federal laws are so weak that chemicals do not have to be proven safe before being released for general use. Join in this important initiative for your selves, your families and friends, and your community. Find out more information online.
NYSNA, along with many other health care organizations, recently endorsed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of women’s, environmental and public health, and consumer rights groups. The Campaign is working to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to stop using chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems in all cosmetics, including baby shampoo, fragrances, and lotion. Cosmetics are among the least regulated consumer products on the market today. As a result, cosmetics sold in the US contain ingredients and impurities with known health hazards, including lead, mercury, hydroquinone, coal tar, formaldehyde, and dioxane. Visit the coalition website to learn more.
National, as well as state efforts are currently underway that address the reduction of toxic chemical exposure for children and families. On a national level, Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families is focusing on new toxic chemicals legislation coming before Congress this summer. The target of this effort is the overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, and individuals are invited to join the organization’s coalition.
The NYS Child Safe Products Act (S7070/A10089) recently passed out of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. The act would reduce toxic chemicals in children's products when safer alternatives are available, and provide a comprehensive framework to address problem chemicals. Organizations including NYSNA, the Learning Disabilities Association of NYS, the American Sustainable Business Council, and the NYS United Teachers support this bill. An online petition is available for New Yorkers that want the Child-Safe Products Act to pass both houses this year, and end the exposure of individuals to toxic chemicals.
NYSNA encourages its members to join Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) in their efforts to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (S. 619/H.R. 1549). This new legislation would curb the use of human antibiotics in food animals.
Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are an increasing concern for individuals, communities and the nation's healthcare system. Patients suffer longer illnesses and pay higher medical costs, and healthcare providers are left with little means of protection from bacterial infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 60,000 Americans die annually from resistant infections. NYSNA urges its members to join with the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Nurses Association and other public health organizations; lend your support by signing HCWH's online petition and discover more on this campaign.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and the representatives of 13 state environmental agencies agree that meaningful reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is essential.
In statements presented at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, both the federal and state environmental regulators proposed eight principles for reforming the TSCA. Since the law was enacted in 1976, the only regulation issued by the EPA was a ban or limit on production or use of hexavalent chromium in 1990.
NYSNA and the American Nurses Association support TSCA reform. A recent report, “Hazardous Chemicals in Health Care,” found that all the nurses and doctors who participated in the study had toxic chemicals present in their bodies.