'Friends of NIOSH' Seek Stable Funding

The group's letter to House Appropriations leaders asks for "at least the Fiscal 2012 level."

The names of 221 organizations, including AIHA, ASSE, ACOEM, ACGIH, the American Public Health Association, AIHA and ASSE local sections, ISEA, occupational health nurse associations, labor unions, schools of public health, environmental groups, and hospitals, are on a letter asking the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education Labor, HHS, Education not to cut NIOSH's funding. Calling itself the Friends of NIOSH, the group wrote to Chairman Jack Kingston and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro to defend the CDC unit's important national role.

"As Congress considers funding priorities for Fiscal Year 2014, the Friends of NIOSH strongly urges you to include at least the Fiscal Year 2012 level for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH, within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the primary federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illness and injury. NIOSH provides national and world leadership to avert workplace illness, injury, disability, and death by gathering information, conducting scientific research, and translating this knowledge into products and services. NIOSH supports programs in every state to improve the health and safety of workers," the letter states.

"The health and safety of the American workforce is a shared goal of all of our organizations. Many of our members are employed in high risk occupations. Rather than accept that working requires individuals to place their health and well-being at risk, we believe strongly that all occupations can be made safer through research, education and training," it says. "NIOSH understands these needs and has developed programs like the Education and Research Centers (ERCs) and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program (AFF) to meet the needs of the American work force. The elimination of these NIOSH supported programs as proposed in the President's fiscal 2014 budget, would limit the ability of workers to avoid exposures that can result in injury or illnesses, push back improved working conditions, eliminate occupational safety and health educational services to over 10,000 U.S. businesses, and ultimately raise health care costs."

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