FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REPORTS PROGRESS IN USING FEWER ANIMALS, MORE HUMANE TESTS FOR PRODUCT SAFETY EVALUATIONS

February 14, 2002

How's the federal government doing in its effort to reduce the use of animals in tests by finding alternative testing methods? An annual report made available this week points to regulatory acceptance of new testing methods that reduce animal use in assessing whether industrial and consumer products can cause allergic skin reactions, acute poisoning or chemical burns.

These new methods can substitute for the old tests that used large numbers of rodents and rabbits, and sometimes involved considerable pain and distress compared to the new methods.

The report, the Annual Progress Report of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, can be obtained by contacting the National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, P.O. Box 12233, MD EC-17, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; 919-541-2384 (phone); 919-541-0947 (fax); or niceatm@niehs.nih.gov. The report is also available on the NIEHS' ICCVAM/NICEATM website at http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov.

Replacing a standing committee at NIEHS, ICCVAM was formally designated as a permanent interagency coordinating committee by Congress and the President in the year 2000. With representation from 15 federal agencies, ICCVAM evaluates the scientific validity of new and alternative testing methods. The committee develops test recommendations based on the technical evaluations, which are forwarded to the federal agencies for final acceptance decisions.


NHTSA ANNOUNCES MULTICULTURAL OUTREACH WEB SITE

Dr. Jeffrey Runge, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), unveiled the agencyÆs new multicultural outreach web site. The site makes customized traffic safety materials and information available to a myriad of potential users within the minority community.

A key focus of the multicultural outreach site is to provide valuable information about how minority communities are disproportionately affected by traffic safety problems. The site displays materials to help prevent crashes, save lives, educate, prevent injuries and reduce traffic related health care and other economic costs.

Latino/Hispanic (in Spanish and English), Black/African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native are among the populations to be served by this new web site, each with its own separate sections.

The web site, designed by a diverse group of NHTSA staff, recognizes that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the given age ranges: Hispanic (ages 1-44), African American (ages 1-14), Asian American (ages 1-24) and American Indian (ages 1-44).

The site, http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/multicultural/, contains research reports, statistics, complete kits, brochures, posters and camera-ready artwork for community groups to download, reprint, and distribute to their constituencies. In addition, visitors may order publications and other materials directly from the web site.


NEW HIGHWAY SAFETY CAMPAIGN TARGETS HISPANICS

With motor vehicle crashes now the leading cause of death among Hispanics ages 1-44, a new Spanish language campaign was launched to increase awareness about highway safety issues. The campaign uses culturally relevant educational materials and community outreach strategies to help improve safety among Hispanic Americans.

Latino/Hispanic Americans are among the populations in the United States disproportionately affected by traffic safety problems.

According to NHTSA, at highest risk are Hispanic children ages 5-12, who are 72 percent more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than non-Hispanic children. Determined to reduce those tragic deaths, the agency will include the bilingual component in this year's National Child Passenger Safety campaign to inform all families, childcare providers, and the Spanish-speaking community about child passenger safety.

The campaign, "Coraz=n de mi vida," was developed by the National Latino Children's Institute (NLCI) and is funded by Nationwide Insurance and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The goal of 'Coraz=n de mi vida' or "You Are the Center of My Life" is to make buckling up a habit for Latino parents and their children.


CDC HIGHLIGHTS TOBACCO-FREE SPORTS AT WINTER OLYMPICS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching the new Tobacco-Free Sports public education campaign at the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to publicize the tobacco-free policy at the games, and promote the health benefits of an active tobacco smoke-free lifestyle.

Smoking and use of other tobacco products is not permitted at any Olympic venue during the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games except in specific designated outdoor areas. The tobacco-free policy covers any enclosed place of public access, indoor venues, seating bowls at outdoor venues, enclosed bars or restaurants at venues, living quarters, other enclosed places in the Olympic and Paralympic Villages, and any Olympic transport vehicles. No tobacco products can be sold at any Olympic or Paralympic designated sites.

For the Tobacco-Free Sports public education campaign, CDC developed television public service announcements featuring ten U.S. Olympic athletes. Speedskating stars Jennifer Rodriquez, Derek Parra, and KC Boutiette are featured in the announcements in addition to Jean Racine and Darrin Steele (bobsled), Rachel Steer (biathlon), Lea Ann Parsley (skeleton), and Pete Thorndike (snowboarding). In the PSAs, the athletes endorse a smoke-free healthy lifestyle, which they believe helped them achieve their highest potential. Paralympians who also expressed their support of a smoke-free, physically active lifestyle include U.S. Disabled Ski Team Mono-skiers Muffy Davis and Chris Waddell who explain to young people that tobacco use interferes with peak performance. The athletes also encourage parents to set good examples by not smoking.

A new Olympic poster featuring U.S. ski team star Picabo Street, USA Hockey and NHL Dallas Stars, Mike Modano, Lincoln DeWitt, a member of the skeleton team, snowboarder Rosey Fletcher, and Paralympian Davis has been printed as part of the campaign. The TV spots and the poster highlight the Tobacco-Free Sports logo developed in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The Winter Games activities are part of a global Tobacco-Free Sports campaign, which WHO, CDC, and their international partners launched in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2001.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 (SLOC) has agreed to run the spots in the Olympic venues throughout the Olympic Games, which kicked off February 8. State health departments are working with local TV stations to air the spots. The in-school television network Channel One is airing them during February, and web search engine YAHOO is featuring Tobacco-Free Sports messages in on-line banner ads through the month of April.


OSHA ISSUES NOTICES TO U.S. FOREST SERVICE FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT THIRTYMILE FIRE

OSHA has issued serious and willful notices to the U.S. Forest Service for alleged job safety violations that existed at the time of the Thirtymile Fire near Winthrop, Wash.

Richard Terrill, OSHA regional administrator in Seattle, said the job safety violations were identified as a result of its investigation of the Thirtymile Fire following the deaths of four USFS firefighters on July 10, 2001.

The notice for willful job safety violations stated that the USFS did not provide a place of employment that was free of recognized hazards that could cause serious harm or death from burns, smoke inhalation and fire related causes. Specifically, OSHA noted that all of the 10 Standard Fire Orders and 10 of the 18 Watch Out Situations listed in the National Wildfire Coordinating Groups' Fireline Handbook were violated. OSHA also cited the USFS for failing to conduct inspections of its firefighting operations.

The notice for serious job safety violations noted the following: work-rest cycles developed by the Forest Service were not followed, an incident commander for all fire stages was not clearly assigned, and fire shelter deployment procedures were not developed for firefighters whose escape routes were compromised. OSHA also noted the lack of safety and health job performance evaluation criteria on current performance standards for USFS supervisors and managers.

According to Terrill, many of OSHA's findings are consistent with those the USFS identified in its own internal investigation of the fire. "Wildland fire fighting will always have its dangers," Terrill said, "but Forest Service officials have expressed their willingness to implement improvements that can reduce the risks. OSHA will assist in that effort where possible."