Health experts encouraged by a finding that children consumed fewer calories in 2010 than a decade earlier. The results, from the only U.S. analysis of calorie trends among children in recent years, came as a surprise. For boys, consumption declined by about 7 percent to 2,100 calories a day over the period, from 1999 to 2010. For girls, it dropped 4 percent to 1,755 calories. “To reverse the current prevalence of obesity, these numbers have to be a lot bigger,” said one academic expert. “But they are trending in the right direction, and that’s good news.” Researchers also were pleasantly surprised by a decline among adults in calories from fast food. Those calories fell to 11.3 percent of total intake in 2010, down from 12.8 percent in 2006. The New York Times
Citing new evidence, California lawmaker steps up call for sanctions against indoor tanning group. In his second letter to federal regulators in a month, State Sen. Ted Lieu pushed for restrictions on the new American Suntanning Association. Lieu called the group “essentially the same entity” as the Indoor Tanning Association, which U.S. regulators accused of making false statements about sunbed risks and benefits. The ITA, as FairWarning has reported, signed an agreement in 2010 barring it or its successors from making unfounded tanning claims. In his new letter, Lieu cited a trade magazine article in which a board member of the new group thanked the ITA for “a smooth transition” and for handing over lobbying materials.
After four mining deaths in two weeks, West Virginia governor orders a “safety stand-down.” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered all West Virginia coal operators to briefly halt production to review safety laws and best practices with miners. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced a similar effort, saying it would coordinate mine visits with state officials and calling the recent mining deaths “tragic and unacceptable.” But state and federal officials stopped short of any new inspection or enforcement efforts. The governor announced the move following Tuesday night’s death of a miner who was run over by an underground vehicle. Since June, when a major state mine safety bill took effect, 9 West Virginia miners have died. The Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette
Texas combustible dust fire that killed two workers leads to charges against three companies. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Watco Mechanical Services, Jordan General Contractors and JP Electric in connection with a combustible dust fire in August that claimed the lives of two Jordan General workers. Workers were cutting metal with a torch at a Watco operation in Hockley, Texas when the fatal fire erupted. In all, the three companies were cited for 24 violations, including an array of charges for failing to control dust hazards. Watco, based in Pittsburg, Kan., was the target of 16 of the charges. Proposed penalties for the three companies total $119,840. OSHA
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center faulted in death of research lab worker. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found three serious violations at the lab where Richard Din, 25, was exposed to a rare form of meningitis that took his life last April. OSHA criticized the lab for allowing Din and other staffers to work with the bacteria in the open rather than in a biosafety cabinet, which isolates germs behind a protective screen and provides ventilation. OSHA also said that lab workers, including Din, should have received meningitis vaccines and training on recognizing symptoms of the disease. The VA said OSHA’s safety orders are now in place. No fines were proposed because OSHA can’t fine other U.S. agencies. The Associated Press, San Francisco Examiner, OSHA
Compiled by Stuart Silverstein and Bridget Huber