CDC to Update Health Care Cleaning Guidelines
Contractors working in health-care environments may want to review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) newly released guidelines for environmental infection-control procedures. The draft is expected to replace portions of the previously published Guideline for Handwashing and Hospital Environmental Control and portions of the Guidelines for Prevention of Nosocomial Pneumonia.

The new document revises sections that include cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces; environmental sampling; laundry and bedding; and regulated medical waste. It also incorporates air and water environmental issues, and consolidated environmental infection control measures from a variety of other CDC guidelines.

Part of the impetus for this change is the fact that the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, which advises the CDC regarding infection control, has expanded its focus from acute-care hospitals to any health-care-related facilities.

Grants to Help with Pesticide Reduction
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hopes to boost integrated pest management (IPM) in schools and day-care centers through the use of two newly awarded grants to Purdue and Texas A&M University.

The two universities would set up regional technical resource centers for schools adopting this method of pest management, which attempts to submit people and environments to less pesticides. Purdue will support Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin; while Texas A&M will support Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The centers will offer hotlines, training, program support and access to a network of existing IPM experts and information.

New Hazard Communication Plans
The U.S. Inter-Agency Committee and International Labor Organization Secretariat is reviewing suggestions regarding new warning label signal words and symbols for hazard statements. The group is preparing to draft a new internationally accepted hazard communication proposal.

One suggestion was to enact “judicious use of symbols and signal words for severe and less severe levels of hazards” such as using the skull and cross bones only on immediately deadly items, while using a new symbol for items that can cause serious harm over time. Other suggestions were to allow for flexibility in hazard statements involving: chronic human health hazards, aquatic hazards, respiratory sensitization, and product identification and ingredient disclosures.

For a copy of the comments, send an e-mail.

Congress, Bush talk investments

Despite the U.S. stock market’s bumpy ride so far this year, the U.S. Congress and President Bush are trying to make it easier to invest nest eggs.

Bush recently created a bipartisan commission that explicitly required members to come up with a plan to privatize Social Security by this fall. The members “must include individually controlled, voluntary personal retirement accounts, which will augment the Social Security safety net,” according to the executive order.

Private Social Security accounts was one of the cornerstones of the president’s campaign last year.

It’s estimated that it may cost up to $1 trillion during the next decade to privatize Social Security.

Bush’s move came just as the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 10 which amended U.S. Internal Revenue Code for pension plans. The Senate received the bill, but not voted on it.

Some of the changes approved include an increase in the Individual Retirement Account annual contribution limit from o $3,000 for 2002, increasing by $1,000 for the next two years and then by $500 every year after that. Though people who are age 50 or older can contribute up to $5,000 in 2002. Contribution limits for 401(K) and other employer- sponsored plans also would increase during the next five years from $10,500 to $15,000.

This information is intended as a summary of legal information and should in no way be construed as legal advice. Contact your attorney before proceeding with any legal action.