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Cincinnati Hosts NORA Manufacturing Sector Conference


September 7-8, 2011
Brenda Walker and Tasha Turner-Bicknell, OHN Masters Program
University of Cincinnati Education and Research Center (UC-ERC) joined with NIOSH and CDC to sponsor the first NORA Manufacturing sector conference. Governmental agencies such as NIOSH, OSHA, and CDC were in attendance in addition to representatives from the corporate manufacturing sector, and leaders in academic and scientific research such as the UC-ERC. 
John Howard, director of NIOSH, opened the conference with a presentation on Aging Productivity and the role of workplace wellness programs in the context of the aging worker.   The morning session continued with presentations on injury and illness prevention and illness surveillance.  
Morning session on day 2, Future of Safety and Health in an Evolving Workplace, included presentations from large corporations such as Dow Chemical and Tyson Foods.   Susan Ripple, Senior Industrial Hygiene Expertise Center Manager for the Dow Chemical Company, received the 2010 Robert W. Campbell Award for achievement in health and safety. Ms. Ripple emphasized the role of culture in safety compliance and the importance of complete integration of safety culture within the manufacturing organization. 
Presentations were followed with opportunities for questions. Pointed questions from conference attendants kept the discussion interesting requiring panelist to address pertinent issues such as child labor and the implications of the changing global workforce. Questions regarding stewardship and responsibility in the context of manufacturing machinery and chemicals to be used in diverse workplaces and the incidence of cancer due to exposures in the manufacturing sector were of particular interest. 
Breaks were an excellent opportunity to view poster presentations, which included about 40 posters in diverse topics, varying from respiratory protection (e.g.,  The NIOSH HPD WellFit system: the Future is Fit Testing by Mark Stephenson) to wellness (e.g., Gain OSH Benefits in Manufacturing by Sleep Fatigue Training by Claire C. Caruso).  Lunch breaks provided an opportunity to network with industry experts from all over the country. 
Afternoon sessions were structured workshops that addressed National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) ten strategic goals. NORA strategic goals provided a framework for the presentation of ongoing research during these sessions.
Conference participants also had an opportunity to take a tour at the University of Cincinnati either at the Department of Environmental Health or the School of Dynamic Systems. Faculty and students gave demonstrations on the ongoing health and safety research projects.
While attending the conference I was able to see firsthand the passion and drive many of the companies held in regards to keeping their employees safe and healthy. At many of these conferences you here from CEOs’s and different levels of management and they usually sing the same song, for instance, how they value their employees and try and send them all home at the end of the day alive.The difference with this NORA Conference was that upper management not only practiced and delivered on a daily basis the importance of delivering each employee home safely at the end of the work day but, educated the employees to the level of knowledge where they were able to understand why and how safe practices in the workplace effected them and their co-workers. Many of the managers at the conference were able to point out and demonstrate the various strategies used to make their workplace free of hazard and incorporate education and training on a level that challenged workers to use safe practices and hold a level of accountability for themselves.
            One of the speakers pointed out it was not enough for them to train and implement safe practices if the employee did not understand what it meant personally to them. It takes time and commitment to get people to buy into a practice that does not always show immediate results. Sometimes the health effects can take long time to develop, for example at the chemical plant where processing of popcorn flavors and taste for the popcorn is made “workers may get home at the end of the day but, they may develop serious lung diseases in the next year”.
Photo shows some of the attendants from UC-ERC, from left: Dr. Talaska (EOH), Matthew Coombs (OSHE), Brenda Walker (OHN), Barbara Alexander (EOH), Jane Christiansen (OHN), Dr. Reponen (EOH), Tasha Turner-Bicknell (OHN), Adrianne Eastlake (EOH).

UC ERC participates in NIOSH NORA Symposium, July 12-13

by Peggy Berry, OHN doctoral program


The University of Cincinnati exemplified its abilities in collaborative research during the NORA Symposium “Achieving impact through research and partnerships” on July 12th and 13th, 2011. The symposium provided opportunity for the exchange of ideas and networking between university researchers, NIOSH researchers, companies and non-profits. Not only did the University of Cincinnati support this symposium but provided a speaker, Dr. Carol Rice, who spoke on the NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERCs) and importance of continuing to support new researchers in occupational health and safety.
With the collaborative focus of the ERC program, graduate students and professors presented five rapid poster sessions during the two day conference. On July 12th, Dr. Kermit Davis and Dr. Lida Orta Anes presented their poster on “Lifting at the right height: Adjustable height cart reduces low back disorder risk.” This was followed by “Early criteria for evaluating the cardiovascular and psychophysical effects of heat stress on firefighter” presented by Ashutosh Mani, who represented a large collaborative group within UC supported by Annie Hamilton, Denise Miller, Barbara Alexander, Diane Busch, Todd Ramsey and Drs. Tiina Reponen, Amit Bhattacharya and Kermit Davis. The Sycamore Fire Station added to the collaborators on this poster session with William Jetter and William Lovett as representatives.
On July 13th, poster sessions by UC representatives continued. Peggy Berry and Drs. Gillespie, Gates, and Schafer presented “The effects of bullying on the productivity of the novice nurse. This was followed by “A partnership between academic researchers and hospitals for reducing violence against healthcare workers” by Tammy Mentzel, Dr. Gates and Gillespie, and Maria Sanker. This research was done collaboratively with Kimberly Vance and Katherine Staubach of University Hospital of Cincinnati. The last poster session was done on “Investigating the power-drive as an effective intervention to reduce caregiver back, shoulder, and upper extremity effort during transferring of hospital beds by Drs. Susan Kotowski and Kermit Davis.
The lunches, poster sessions and breaks were important times to network. I was especially pleased to be able to eat lunch with Barbara Braun, a nurse researcher with The Joint Commission after she had presented on The Joint Commission and NORA: Identifying Synergies. During a NIOSH presentation, I spoke with the American Nurses Association Director of Occupational & Environmental Health, Nancy L. Hughes, who was in attendance.
The ERC made contact with many individuals, including the new Dean of College Conservatory of Music (9/1/11), Dr. Peter Landgren who was presenting his work on the development of a personal noise dosimeter for orchestra musicians and David Heidorn who is manager of government affairs and policy for ASSE and who was very interested in the UC ERC programs. We look forward to working with these folks in the future!

ERC students' trip to Washington DC


Written by Matthew Jackson, photos by Tiina Reponen
Students from Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Occupational Health Nursing, and Occupational Health and Safety Engineering programs traveled to the capital to visit several federal agencies and a national union. Faculty from the division of Occupational and Environmental Health accompanied the students on the trip along with students and faculty from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Education and Research Center.
The purpose of the trip was to hear from the leadership at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Teamsters Union, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
The first visit was to OSHA, which took place on May 23rd. Jordan Barab, the appointed deputy to Dr. David Michaels, introduced himself and addressed the group in a welcome speech. Richard Fairfax, the career deputy to Dr. Michaels, also participated in the overview. It was noted that there are 1100 inspectors to cover the 8 million US workplaces. Dr. Rosemary Sokas, Director of the Office of Occupational Medicine and Chief Medical Officer, led a discussion of how OSHA does ‘detective work’ to evaluate links between workplace exposures and adverse health outcomes. Patrick Kapust who heads the Directorate of Enforcement Programs spoke about the National Emphasis program on primary metals industries. The group learned about the rulemaking and the enforcement process.   Andrew Levinson of the Directorate of Standards and Guidance described the Biological Hazards Guidance. Hazards of national interest include diacetyl, lead, hexavalent chromium, and silica. OSHA and NIOSH have jointly developed a campaign to Prevent Health Illness in Outdoor Workers. 
In the afternoon, we visited the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Karen Jones and LaMont Byrd (MS, 1990) described the history of the Teamsters and health and safety activities. Ms. Jones gave the group a spectacular slide show and oral history of the Teamsters, dating to the early 1900s. The Teamsters pride themselves on their organizations rich history which improved living and working standards for American families and communities. Some of the interesting history of the Teamsters includes the first transcontinental delivery in the US which took place in 1912. It took three months one way for a group of workers to deliver soap from one side of the country to the other. This was the first time this had been attempted, which we found very impressive. We received a photo book, Teamsters Snaphots in Time, and look forward to the Ms. Jones’ written history. 
LaMont Byrd, who is the director of programs and services, led a discussion on the organizations work history and the health/safety culture. Mr. Byrd is pictured above (to the left). The Teamsters are comprised of 1.4 million union workers and is one of the largest unions in America. The Teamsters provide health and safety training at no cost to members. Some of the courses taught include: OSHA 40 hour initial hazardous waste worker course, 8-hour hazardous materials transportation safety and security course, 8-hour hazardous waste worker training refresher course and many others. 
On Monday night the UC group all met alumni Joyce Brewer (MS, 2006) and Warren Friedman (PhD, 1983) in Chinatown for dinner at Tony Chengs. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the food was delicious. We heard about Joyce’s work at FEMA and Dr. Friedman’s HUD and his experience at the White House Council on the Environment. 
Tuesday the 24th included visits to NIOSH and MSHA. NIOSH was visited by the group in the morning. After a thorough security check, the group was given an introduction and orientation to NIOSH by Frank Hearl. Dr. John Howard joined the group and initiated an informal talk during which we all got to ask questions. The perspective of NIOSH leadership—future directions even in times of flat budgets—was very enlightening. Fred Blosser, Associate Director for Communications and a media relations specialist for NIOSH described the importance of engaging with media and specifically how the government prepares background and information for those speaking with the media. Anita Schill, Senior Science Advisor described Science of Science Policy and how to properly relate science to the public. We received a Regulatory Map, showing the process of getting from initiating a standard through step nine, publishing a final rule. It is clearly a long process, and must be done with thorough care to detail.
The UC and Hopkins group is shown below with Dr. Howard (center, back row), Frank Hearl (front row, right) and Leslie Nickels, Senior Health Communications Fellow (left, middle row) and formerly of the University of Illinois ERC. 
MSHA was the last stop for the group, where we were welcomed by Linda Zeiler who is the acting director of technical support a group that includes 200 engineers. Dr. Gregory Wagner, Deputy assistant secretary for policy, spoke as well.
A technical support overview was then given by George E. Gardner, Acting Deputy in Tech Support. The technical support at MSHA consists of Engineers, Scientists, Technicians, and Support Staff. The technical support functions along with accident investigations were also discussed. The Pittsburg safety and health center was introduced to the group. 
Coal mine safety and health was discussed by Charlie Thomas, Deputy Administrator for Coal. An overview of coal along with the 12 coal districts were described by Mr. Thomas. A timeline of mine fatalities was shown and it was noted that mine fatalities have been tremendously reduced thanks to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The 1969, 1977, 2006, miner acts were passed and now a new respirable dusts standard is proposed for associated for coal mining. The main goal of MSHA is to make sure each miner goes home each day from work without injury or illness.
James Weeks gave a presentation on metal and nonmetal mine safety and health. Dr. Weeks is an experienced industrial hygienist who has been working for MSHA for two years. Due to lots of questions and willing responses from the Agency personnel, we ran out of time. We missed presentations from the Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, and Educational Policy and Development. Will just have to start with those when we go back again! 
Overall the Washington DC trip was a great learning experience and you missed out if you did not have the opportunity to attend. It was very interesting to see how the government agencies work on a national level. After the conclusion of this trip we can finally match some faces with names, which is awesome.

Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center Open House


     work by Chris Sparks, photos by Brenda Walker

On May 27, Brenda Walker (Occupational Health Nursing) and Chris Sparks (Hazardous Substances) attended the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center open house to celebrate the new location on Vine Street at 12th Street downtown. Chris has worked diligently over the past few months to get the new bulletin board set up and stocked, and here it is…installed: 

                                                                          Brenda Walker (left) with two members
And in use!
                                  Community Organizer Dan Moore with members, taking one of the OSHA QuickCards.
One of the features of the opening was art work by Dan Moore.  Here are some of the attendees looking at the work.

Stop by and visit the Center. We continue to attend the monthly meetings, and have now gotten back on track for counting the cards removed. We look forward to reports from Brenda Walker that many are disappearing to be used by members and other workers. 

2011 Workers' Memorial Day

On April 28 ERC students and faculty joined labor to remember the lives of 12 workers who went to work healthy one day during the past year, and did not come home. The annual Cincinnati commemoration is organized by the UAW Local 647 and the Cincinnati AFL-CIO.

For the ERC, a special surprise was the announcement of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Advisory Board member and OSHA Area Office Director Dick Gilgrist by UAW Local 647 and IAM Lodge 912. He is shown below (center) with Doug Sizemore of AFL-CIO and President Gary Jordan of Local 647.

 The support of the local AFL-CIO and its unions during the past year is very much appreciated by the ERC.

Horizon Energy Wind Farm, Eli Lilly, General Starch--three visits in Indiana

by Chris Sparks

On April 12 and 13, a group of students of the University of Cincinnati ERC travelled to the wind farm and two other workplaces in Indiana. The group consisted of twelve students from three disciplines, Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Safety and Health Engineering, and Occupational Heath Nursing, and Dr. Jay Kim of engineering. The bus left UC at 8 AM on April 12, arrived at the Purdue University campus around 12:30 PM, and five Purdue students and Professor Neil Zimmerman of the School of Health Science joined. The bus headed to Brookston, IN to visit a wind farm operated by Horizon Energy. The wind farm has about 350 turbines currently in operation producing about 450 MW of electric power (enough to power a city with 250,000 people), which was the first phase of the development. When all three phases planned is completed, the farm will generate about 1.5 Giga-watts of renewable, clean energy. We visited an active turbine and learned how the wind energy is harvested by the turbine happens from the ground up.
We also visited the operations center and saw the behind-the-scenes operations to maintain the efficient collection of wind energy and maintenance of the turbines. The wind turbine is a very tall structure (200 feet above the ground), thus obviously involves many safety issues for its maintenance. On the contrary to some newspaper articles, noise and vibration level was very low to make any serious concern.    
In the morning of the following day, the group, students and faculty from both UC and Purdue, travelled to Indianapolis to tour the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical facility and National Starch plant. The Eli Lilly tour covered the entire process of insulin manufacturing, which was made possible thanks to Dr. Zimmerman’s arrangement. Eli Lilly offers such tours only a few times a year, thus we were given a rare opportunity. Eli Lilly was the first company in the world to mass-produce insulin in a commercial scale. The facility was very modern, super-clean and equipped with state-of-the-art safety equipment and processes. This tour was strongly based in occupational safety and health, and we were able to see all three separate operations of insulin manufacturing. Unfortunately it was not allowed to take pictures of the facility, which was expected at a plant with so many proprietary technologies.
After the Elli Lilly visit, the group went to the National Starch company. National Starch provided an excellent presentation of their operation and safety issues, and even provided nice lunches for us. We were able to see the entire process to produce corn starch from raw corn, from beginning to end. This tour, again, was strongly based in occupational safety and health.
The two days of tours opened students’ eyes to the world of occupational safety and health outside of classroom settings. It provided students a real world view of the application of the skills they are obtaining in the respective ERC programs. Tours like these allow students to better prepare themselves to be a productive member of a health and safety team, no matter where their career paths may lead. The wide range of facilities toured during this short trip also highlighted the enormous need for health and safety programs throughout a wide variety of industries.
Additional comments by students
Brenda Walker
The highlights for me were seeing the Windfarm and the insulin manufacturing plant at Eli Lilly. Both of these were fascinating and everyone we came in contact with had so much knowledge and wanted to share it with us. The tours were very organized.
Traveling with the different disciplines is such a fun and fascinating experience!
Tigist Zwede
Horizon Wind Energy/ Meadow Lake windfarn, White County, Indiana
I would say that I was very happy to participate in the windfarm tour. This new technology is giving energy/ electricity to thousands and thousands homes efficiently with cheap price. This is a very promising source of energy for generation to come and far much better than nuclear energy.
Elli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
As a health care professional I was very impressed of the site cleanliness where Insulin is manufactured. Each time when I am administering insulin I will remember the insulin comes from one of the best lab. The security of the whole headquarter and the importance given to safety towards the employees of Lilly Insulin manufacturing site is also amazing.
Kevin He
The wind farm is very impressive. The general concern about noise and vibration generated from wind turbines is not as serious as people think, after I visited the place. The renewable energy like wind will grow more and more in the future. It is great I can actually see and feel the future energy, awesome!
Adrienne Eastlake
Exposure to the different safety processes that employers use to take care of both business and employees at each different plant is always amazing to see.  Each new experience allows the student to gather ideas and information that could potentially be used in future safety and health evaluations.  I found this trip to be a very valuable learning tool!

2011 Bourbon Trail Tour

The University of Cincinnati ERC completed the second half of the bourbon trail journey on March 12, 2011. The tour started at the historic Jim Beam distillery where Bourbon’s first family began to make bourbon. This tour was very rich in the history of seven generations of distillers from Jacob Beam to Frederick Booker Noe III. Unfortunately we were unable to see the Jim Beam distillery since it is currently not set up to be safe for public tours. Workers are required to wear PPE such as steal toed boots and safety glasses while in the distillery. In 2012 renovations will be completed that make the distillery accessible for public tours. We were taken to the aging house to see where the bourbon takes on its rich flavor.


Next stop on our trail was the Heaven Hills distillery. Also rich in history, William Heavenhill was Kentucky’s First Distiller. After experiencing a fire in his barn in 1789, Rev. Elijah Craig discovered all his barrels were burnt but decided to use them anyways. When he took the bourbon out he discovered the bourbon had changed color and had a different taste. Craig was named the “Father of Bourbon” for discovering the process still used today. Now barrels are burnt in a controlled process where they are only charred for a matter of seconds depending on the distillers taste. 


The barrels weigh around 500 lbs once they are full. When they are stored in the aging house they are placed up to 7 stories high with 3 columns per floor. The barrels are transported with an elevator to get from floor to floor. To raise them up into the columns they use a lift or a ramp system which they roll the barrels onto to reduce back strain.

The last stop on our tour was Maker’s Mark Distillery. This was the most extensive tour where we got to see the entire process. The corn, rye and barley are ground in a grinder in preparation for the mash. The grains are mixed with water and yeast is added in order to bring the alcohol out. The pots which the mash ferments in are cleaned after each batch with steam. The mash tub is cleaned quarterly where employees must go into the confined space inside the tub to clean it. The mash is then distilled twice. First making what’s known as low wine then the high wine better known as moonshine. The high wine is put into a barrel and aged for a period of 4+ years. 
The company has initiated an ambitious plan to use gases emitted from the distilling process to generate energy.  The compnay estimated that this new technology would reduce the annual energy costs by 15%. 
Those who wanted to purchase some Maker’s Mark were given the chance to dip their bottle in wax which is the signature of Maker’s. Gloves, eye protection, a bib and protective sleeves were provided in order to have a safe dipping experience. Overall a great trip and experience for the ERC who identified some safety hazards in the bourbon making process but found that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks involved.
Reported by Michael Martin (PSHE). Photos were provide by Jim Thompson (ON).

On the way coming back to Cincinnati, there were "on-bus" research presentations for the first time.  Joe Kluener (OSHE) presented his MS research, application of nano-fibers to protective clothing of firefigters, and Dr. Kim talked about his research on hand-arm vibration. More will be planned in future trips, which will serve as opportunities to know research and training subjects of others in ERC.      


12th Annual Safety Day Workshop

12th Annual Safety Day was held at Sharonville Convention Center on Feb 15th, 2011. This conference is the foremost conference on Construction Safety in Greater Cincinnati area, sponsored by Tri-State Area Safety Council. I (Ashutosh Mani, IH) attended the conference with Michael Martin (OSHE). The keynote speaker at the conference was Steve Buehrer, Administrator, OHIO Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. There were stalls put up by different pioneer companies operating in the field of worker safety. All companies had their latest products on display. One stall had a CPR challenge (which both Michael and I took). We totally dominated the challenge but due to unknown reasons, we were not given the prize. Michael won a Weather Radio in a raffle. I won an iPOD touch in a lottery.
We attended two talks, “Hearing Conservation” delivered by Dr. Mike Hill and Dr. Karen Phegley and “Protecting your Company’s Electronic Files” delivered by Mary Channey. Both the talks were very interesting. I personally found the second talk more interesting, though the first one was more informative. The talk on Hearing Conservation was focused towards the way sound is measured and aspects of audiogram. It was interesting hearing all about it from a person who actually does audiogram in field on a daily basis. The talk on protecting electronic files was intriguing because I learned about various different ways cyber criminals try to target our information. It was pretty eye-opening. Apart from the exciting talks, free goodies were the other attraction of the conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will look forward to attending it again next year.

Keynote speech

Michael and Ashu at the registration

Hearing conservation talk

Award giving ceremony


ANSI Z-87 Eyewear Workshop

byTodd Ramsey 

On Wednesday February 9th Students, staff, and faculty from the ERC learned about the ANSI Z-87 safety eyewear standard during a session provided by Edge Eyewear. Our speaker gave an overview of the ANSI standard which included testing procedures, manufacturing processes, and the certification process. The seminar was an open floor discussion, and participants were encouraged to ask questions. The highlights from this seminar were demonstrations wherein audience members attempted to wire an electrical outlet wearing sunglasses, and tried to break safety glass lenses with a hammer, as shown below.
The participants viewed a video compilation of accidents illustrating the importance of safety eyewear. Edge Eyewear was also generous enough to provide the entire class with a complimentary pair of base model Edge safety glasses. One audience member said “I enjoyed the presentation, it was presented with clarity. I enjoyed the videos! The presenter was very knowledgeable. And, it was nice to get the free safety glasses!” This event was well-received by the students and staff, and future opportunities like this one would be welcomed.

Environmental Justice Tour: Louisville, KY November 12, 2010

By Mainerd Sørensen, RN, Occupational Health Nursing student

Ten students and one community stakeholder along with Drs. Tracey Yap and Susan Kennerly from the Education Research Center (ERC), traveled by bus to Louisville, Kentucky on 12 November, 2010 for the Environmental and Social Justice Tour (EJT).
The group was joined in Louisville by six students from Bellarmine University and faculty members David Overbey, Ph.D., a literature professor and Katherine Bulinski, Ph.D. an assistant professor of Geoscience at Louisville’s Bellarmine University.
The tour guide was Tim Darst from the Earth and Spirit Center organization of Louisville. The purpose of the EJT was to promote awareness of the distribution of environmental hazards into areas of the city predominantly populated by people of color and lower socioeconomic status. It is a social justice issue that people with less resources and potentially less participation in government, for a variety of historic and economic reasons, bear the burden of what is essentially pollution produced in the advancement of the economy of the region. A slide show and commentary provided an introduction to the city and helped one visualize - from the “bird's eye” view - the juxtaposition of neighborhoods and industrial sites.

The City
The tour began with a drive down Broadway and noting the dramatic change in the appearance of conditions as we passed from the affluent East Side of Louisville near Bellarmine, to the lower income West End. Dr. Overbey explained that Louisville’s West End used to be where everyone lived (all races), the center of life for the city. In the 1930s, most people used the trains to get around the city. He said that after World War II, residents were encouraged to use private automobiles for transportation and eventually the train station was closed. He added that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which promoted desegregation, ironically caused some more affluent whites to move to the East End and the black population and economically disadvantaged residents remained in the West End; the Hispanic population settled mostly in the South Side.
History of West End Louisville Industry
In 1918, the petrochemical industrialization began in west Louisville with the construction of a Standard Oil refinery (now Chevron terminal and tank farm). Over the next two decades additional refineries were built and purchased by Ashland Oil. World War II created a demand for rubber for the construction of military aircraft and tanks. Under the supervision of the US Office of Production Management, the government either built synthetic rubber plants or purchased them from their original owners, investing $92.4 million in Louisville. The first plant to be built was National Carbide in 1941, which used limestone and petroleum coke to produce acetylene gas. The acetylene gas was used as feedstock at a neoprene synthetic rubber plant built by E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. that same year. Also in 1941, BF Goodrich began construction and then produced a synthetic rubber made from vinyl chloride, called Koroseal. Other companies such as Goodrich joined in making various types of “nitrile” rubber from acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. When WWII broke out in December of 1941, the government took over the DuPont plant. In 1943, the federal government opened what is now the American Synthetic Rubber Plant to make styrene-butadiene rubber tires to be used by the Department of Defense. Rubber was used for tires and vinyl for seats. The west end area of Louisville became known as “Rubbertown.”
Chemical Plants and Toxic Waste
As the tour bus approached the industrial section of the West End it became evident that chemical plants and their potentially toxic wastes were very close to residential communities.
The Morris Foreman Wastewater and Sewage Plants displayed risk communication signs such as “private property” and “no trespassing” on the fences and gates.
The tour group was told that it took 30 years to fix the water treatment plant and clean it up so that it was safe for residents. Ashland, Zeon Chemicals, Chevron, Lubizol and Chemco are all located in the vicinity.
The Neighborhoods
The neighborhoods the group toured through included well-kept houses and houses in disrepair; yards showing clearly the owner's attention to landscaping and yards with less consistent care. There were no unmistakable signs of pollution – these are hidden behind tall berms and underneath expanses of field and forest. We heard that some owners were unable to sell: the property value was “upside-down” related to the liens on the property. We also heard of mismanaged plans to compensate affected property owners. In short, a description similar to other cities where industry contributed to the economic growth of the community and left a legacy.
In the world today, many enjoy unprecedented material goods and wealth. Yet, with many of these benefits comes a high human and environmental cost. This cost is sometimes more clearly borne by the poor. Ultimately, air, water, and ground pollution affects everyone: natural processes do not honor zoning laws – the wind blows whither it will. Awareness of the environmental degradation and social injustice that can occur was the result of this tour. Awareness of the impact of both these effects on everyone in the community might also be appreciated. We look forward to future collaborations with Bellarmine faculty and students, as well as the Louisville community to foster rigorous analysis of social, economic, racial and environmental justice issues and promote human rights.
Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development. (2010). Environmental  Justice Louisville, Kentucky.

Unpublished manuscript.




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