Wednesday Briefing

Sites contaminated by radioactive wastes from old military bases and factories abound in Britain. A government report found that, in England and Wales, probably 150 to 250 sites — but perhaps as many as 1,000 — are tainted by the wastes. That far exceeds previous official estimates. For example, the Ministry of Defense last December suggested that there were just 15 such sites overall in the United Kingdom contaminated by radium from old planes and other equipment. The ministry has come under fire from Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, for trying to evade responsibility for cleaning up radioactive contamination. The Guardian

Report faults states’ failure to crack down on alcohol marketing to youths. The report by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University found that only 11 states use more than one of eight identified “best practices” to reduce the exposure of youths to alcohol industry sales pitches. The recommended state practices include restrictions on industry sponsorship of events, promotional giveaways, advertising on college campuses and in other venues where minors are likely to be present.  According to the center, at least 14 studies associate alcohol marketing with increased drinking among youths. Alcohol is blamed for 4,700 deaths annually amoung youths below the age of 21. Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth

Gun manufacturers use “bullet button” to dodge California restriction on assault weapons. California gun controls are aimed at  detachable magazines, which users can pop out with their finger to quickly reload. The intent is to slow down the reloading of a weapon. But to get around that restriction, gun marketers are selling firearms with what is called a “bullet button.” The shooter can use the tip of a bullet, instead of a finger, to release the empty magazine, which is said to make an assault rifle “California legal.” If the state doesn’t crack down, Californians “will all be placed in jeopardy because of this marketing move by the firearms industry,” said a spokesman for the Washington-based Violence Policy Center. CBS San Francisco

Cruise ship industry fighting air pollution controls. The heavy fuel that oceangoing vessels burn adds so much to air pollution hundreds of miles inland that the U.S. joined with Canada during the George W. Bush administration to ask the International Maritime Organization to create an emissions-control area along the coasts. The cargo-shipping industry supported the emissions reductions. The cruise-ship industry, however, wants an emissions-averaging plan that would allow it to burn the same heavy fuel it always has used in some areas, and it’s lobbying Congress for help. The EPA is pushing back, but pressure is building. The emissions reductions would be phased in starting in August. McClatchy Newspapers

South Dakota manufacturer faces penalties of up to $210,000 in worker’s death. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused Adams Thermal Systems Inc. of Canton, S.D., an engine cooling systems company, of three willful safety violations stemming from a November accident that crushed an employee. OSHA charged the company with failing to provide machine guards or safety training, along with failing to develop energy control procedures. The agency placed Adams in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses on recalcitrant employers. OSHA

New York cheese maker charged with 13 workplace safety violations. Inspectors with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Sorrento Lactalis Inc. had inadequate plans for managing potentially hazardous ammonia, which is used for refrigeration at the company’s Buffalo, N.Y. plant. OSHA proposed fines of $241,000. The agency said the company was cited for similar issues, in 2008 and 2011, at its Nampa, Idaho plant. Sorrento Lactalis, which employs 520 people in Buffalo, said it will contest the citations and that it “strenuously objects to OSHA’s allegation that there exists any imminent safety hazard.” The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, OSHA

Recalls: Farm Glass & Metal tea light holder, Kaytee mouse, rat and hamster feed, Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food, Smiling Hara soybean tempeh, Exmark riding mowers

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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