Archive for the ‘death’ Category

UNICEF report points to rapid progress made in reducing child deaths worldwide

September 13, 2012 Comments off

UNICEF report points to rapid progress made in reducing child deaths worldwide

Source: United Nations

Across the world, the number of deaths among children under 5 has been on a continuous decline for over two decades, says the 2012 Progress Report on Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, released today by UNICEF.

Data released today by UNICEF and the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation show that the number of children under the age of 5 dying globally has dropped from nearly 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011.

Educational differences in chronic conditions and their role in the educational differences in overall mortality

August 30, 2012 Comments off

Educational differences in chronic conditions and their role in the educational differences in overall mortality
Source: Demographic Research

Demographers use different models to decompose the prevalence of given health conditions. This article discusses how these models can help us understand the ways in which these conditions affect overall mortality. In particular, this framework can be used to understand the role that any given condition plays in producing differences in overall mortality across populations. The empirical analysis in this study focuses on chronic conditions as factors behind elderly US citizens’ differences in overall mortality across educational levels. The analysis of differences by education level shows that while the prevalence differences of chronic conditions is mostly the outcome of incidence differences, regarding overall mortality differences, the role of chronic conditions is equally channelled through incidence and excess mortality differences.

Body Mass Index, Playing Position, Race, and the Cardiovascular Mortality of Retired Professional Football Players

August 24, 2012 Comments off

Body Mass Index, Playing Position, Race, and the Cardiovascular Mortality of Retired Professional Football Players
Source: American Journal of Cardiology

Concern exists about cardiovascular disease (CVD) in professional football players. We examined whether playing position and size influence CVD mortality in 3,439 National Football League players with ≥5 pension-credited playing seasons from 1959 to 1988. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) compared player mortality through 2007 to the United States population of men stratified by age, race, and calendar year. Cox proportional hazards models evaluated associations of playing-time body mass index (BMI), race, and position with CVD mortality. Overall player mortality was significantly decreased (SMR 0.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48 to 0.59) as was mortality from cancer (SMR 0.58, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.72), and CVD (SMR 0.68, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.81). CVD mortality was increased for defensive linemen (SMR 1.42, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.92) but not for offensive linemen (SMR 0.70, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.05). Defensive linemen’s cardiomyopathy mortality was also increased (SMR 5.34, 95% CI 2.30 to 10.5). Internal analyses found that CVD mortality was increased for players of nonwhite race (hazard ratio 1.69, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.51). After adjusting for age, race, and calendar year, CVD mortality was increased for those with a playing-time BMI ≥30 kg/m2 (hazard ratio 2.02, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.85) and for defensive linemen compared to offensive linemen (hazard ratio 2.07, 95% CI 1.24 to 3.46). In conclusion, National Football League players from the 1959 through 1988 seasons had decreased overall mortality but those with a playing-time BMI ≥30 kg/m2 had 2 times the risk of CVD mortality compared to other players and African-American players and defensive linemen had higher CVD mortality compared to other players even after adjusting for playing-time BMI.

Adolescent Expectations of Early Death Predict Adult Risk Behaviors

August 3, 2012 Comments off

Adolescent Expectations of Early Death Predict Adult Risk Behaviors

Source: PLoS ONE

Only a handful of public health studies have investigated expectations of early death among adolescents. Associations have been found between these expectations and risk behaviors in adolescence. However, these beliefs may not only predict worse adolescent outcomes, but worse trajectories in health with ties to negative outcomes that endure into young adulthood. The objectives of this study were to investigate perceived chances of living to age 35 (Perceived Survival Expectations, PSE) as a predictor of suicidal ideation, suicide attempt and substance use in young adulthood. We examined the predictive capacity of PSE on future suicidal ideation/attempt after accounting for sociodemographics, depressive symptoms, and history of suicide among family and friends to more fully assess its unique contribution to suicide risk. We investigated the influence of PSE on legal and illegal substance use and varying levels of substance use. We utilized the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) initiated in 1994–95 among 20,745 adolescents in grades 7–12 with follow-up interviews in 1996 (Wave II), 2001–02 (Wave III) and 2008 (Wave IV; ages 24–32). Compared to those who were almost certain of living to age 35, perceiving a 50–50 or less chance of living to age 35 at Waves I or III predicted suicide attempt and ideation as well as regular substance use (i.e., exceeding daily limits for moderate drinking; smoking ≥ a pack/day; and using illicit substances other than marijuana at least weekly) at Wave IV. Associations between PSE and detrimental adult outcomes were particularly strong for those reporting persistently low PSE at both Waves I and III. Low PSE at Wave I or Wave III was also related to a doubling and tripling, respectively, of death rates in young adulthood. Long-term and wide-ranging ties between PSE and detrimental outcomes suggest these expectations may contribute to identifying at-risk youth.

See: Teen Survival Expectations Predict Later Risk-Taking Behavior (Science Daily)

Suicides, Australia, 2010

July 30, 2012 Comments off

Suicides, Australia, 2010
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Suicide is a major public health issue. Although death by suicide is relatively uncommon (approximately 1.6% of all deaths), the human costs are substantial and can impact broadly across communities. As such, suicide prevention is a key focus for both government agencies and non-government organisations.

Over recent years there have been two government enquiries which have made recommendations on improving suicide data. The Senate report – ‘The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia’, was released in June 2010. This report highlighted issues with data quality and availability, focussing especially on under-reporting of suicide deaths. The House of Representatives report – ‘Before it’s too late’ was released in July 2011. This report made specific recommendations on extending the scope of social and demographic data that is routinely collected on suicide deaths, and the availability of disaggregated data for research purposes.

The ABS has responded to challenges concerning the quality of suicide data through the implementation of new coding guidelines, and a three year revisions program for coroner certified deaths (see Chapter 2 for more information). This revisions process allows time for coroners to investigate potential suicide deaths and make a determination on whether the death was as a result of intentional self-harm.

In terms of expanding the availability of data on suicide, there were several additional data items, the importance of which were highlighted by the House of Representatives report – ‘Before it’s too late’, including ethnicity, culture, geography, educational attainment, employment status and socio-economic status. Many of these data items are not captured in current datasets, and the viability of collection in the future will need further investigation. However, additional information that can be publicly reported is available in current datasets. This information can provide further insight into the impacts of suicide across particular segments of the Australian community, and is presented in this report.

Health Benefits From Large Scale Ozone Reduction in the United States

July 26, 2012 Comments off

Health Benefits From Large Scale Ozone Reduction in the United States

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives


Exposure to ozone has been associated with adverse health effects, including premature mortality, cardiopulmonary and respiratory morbidity. In 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered the primary (health-based) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone to 75ppb, expressed as the fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hr average over a 24-hr period. Based on recent monitoring data, U.S. ozone levels still exceed this standard in numerous locations resulting in avoidable adverse health consequences.


To quantify the potential human health benefits from achieving the current primary NAAQS standard of 75ppb and two alternative standard levels, 70 and 60ppb, representing the range recommended by the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC).


We apply health impact assessment methodology to estimate numbers of deaths and other adverse health outcomes that would have been avoided during 2005, 2006 and 2007 if the current NAAQS ozone standards (or lower standards) had been met. Estimated reductions in ozone concentrations were interpolated according to geographic area and year, and concentration-response functions were obtained or derived from the epidemiological literature.


We estimated that annual numbers of avoided ozone-related premature deaths would have ranged from 1,410-2,480 at 75ppb to 2,450-4,130 at 70ppb and 5,210-7,990 at 60ppb. Acute respiratory symptoms would have been reduced by 3 million cases and school-loss days by one million cases annually if the current 75ppb standard had been attained. Substantially greater health benefits would have resulted if the CASAC recommended range of standards (70 to 60ppb) had been met.


Attaining a more stringent primary ozone standard would significantly reduce ozone-related premature mortality and morbidity.

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Quarter (January–March) of 2012

July 26, 2012 Comments off

Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Quarter (January–March) of 2012 (PDF)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2012 shows that an estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a significant increase of about 13.5 percent as compared to the 6,720 fatalities that were projected to have occurred in the first quarter of 2011, as shown in Table 1. Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the first three months of 2012 increased by about 9.7 billion miles, or about a 1.4-percent increase. Also shown in Table 1 are the fatality rates per 100 million VMT,by quarter. The fatality rate for the first three months of 2012 increased significantly to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million VMT, up from 0.98 fatalities per 100 million VMT in the first quarter of 2011.Previously, in 2011, fatalities are projected to have declined in all four quarters.If these projections for the first quarter of 2012 are realized, it will represent the second largest year-to-year quarterly increase in fatalities since NHTSA began recording traffic fatalities (1975). The largest recorded year-to-year quarterly increase by NHTSA was a 15.3-percent increase in fatalities during the first quarter of 1979.

Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in Metropolitan Areas — United States, 2009

July 21, 2012 Comments off

Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in Metropolitan Areas — United States, 2009
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Although rates have declined in recent years, motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) remain a leading cause of injury death in the United States (1). In 2009, a total of 34,485 MVC deaths were reported among U.S. residents, and 22% of those who died were aged 15–24 years. MVCs were the leading cause of death for that age group, which represents approximately 14% of the total U.S. population (1). To assess patterns in MVC death rates for persons of all ages and for those aged 15–24 years, in recognition of the elevated risk for this age group, CDC used data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the U.S. Census Bureau for 2009 representing the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The overall MVC death rate (age-adjusted) for all 50 MSAs combined was 8.2 per 100,000 residents, compared with a national rate of 11.1; among MSAs, rates ranged from 4.4 to 17.8. For persons aged 15–24 years, the MVC death rate was 13.0 per 100,000 residents for all MSAs combined (range: 7.3–25.8), compared with a national rate of 17.3. Although rates for the MSAs generally were lower than the rate for the nation as a whole, higher rates for persons aged 15–24 years were observed both in the MSAs and nationally. The wide variation in rates among MSAs suggests a need to better understand how urban development patterns might relate to MVC deaths and to identify and implement effective strategies to reduce the number of such deaths.

Cohabitation and U.S. Adult Mortality: An Examination by Gender and Race

July 18, 2012 Comments off

Cohabitation and U.S. Adult Mortality: An Examination by Gender and Race (PDF)

Source: Journal of Marriage and Family

From press release (Michigan State University):

Black people who are married don’t appear to live any longer than black couples who simply live together, suggesting marriage doesn’t boost longevity for blacks the way it does for whites, according to a large national study led by Michigan State University.

“This finding implies that marriage and cohabitation have very different meanings for blacks and whites,” said MSU sociologist Hui Liu, the study’s lead researcher.

The study, in the Journal of Marriage and Family, is the first to document mortality differences between cohabiters and married people across racial groups in the United States.

The number of Americans who cohabitate (live together without being married) has increased dramatically in the past 50 years – from 400,000 in 1960 to 7.6 million in 2011, census data shows.

Liu and Corinne Reczek of the University of Cincinnati studied national health survey data of nearly 200,000 people taken from 1997 to 2004. They found that white people who were married had lower mortality rates than whites who simply lived together.

However, there were no significant mortality differences between blacks who were married and blacks who cohabitated.

Liu said whites are more likely to see cohabitation as a trial marriage, which may mean lower levels of shared social, psychological and economic resources.

In contrast, among blacks cohabitation is more prevalent and is perceived as an alternative to marriage, meaning it may mirror the dynamics of marriage and promote health like marriage tends to do, Liu said.

In addition, because blacks tend to earn less money than whites, marriage may not confer the same degree of social and economic benefits for blacks as for whites, Liu said.

USFA Announces 2011 Onduty Firefighter Deaths

July 17, 2012 Comments off

USFA Announces 2011 Onduty Firefighter Deaths

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announced today the release of the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2011. There were 83 onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2011. This represents a continuing decline in the overall number of firefighter fatality deaths in recent years and an almost five percent decrease from the 87 fatalities reported for 2010. When analyzing the overall trend in the United States going back to 1977, accounting for the Hometown Heroes added to totals since the law changed in 2004, the 2011 total represents the lowest year of record for the second year in a row.

The 83 fatalities occurred in 33 states, one U.S. territory, and one overseas U.S. military facility. Texas experienced the highest number of fatalities (7). North Carolina experienced six firefighter deaths and was the only other state with five or more firefighter fatalities.

Heart attacks were responsible for the deaths of 50 firefighters (60 percent) in 2011, nearly the same proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke (63 percent) in 2010. Ten onduty firefighters died in association with wildland fires, the lowest number of annual firefighter deaths associated with wildland fires since 1996. Fifty-four percent of all firefighter fatalities occurred while performing emergency duties.

Four of the firefighters who died while responding to incidents in 2011 were killed by trauma caused by motor vehicle collisions, including three in privately-owned vehicles and one in a fire department apparatus.

Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis

July 13, 2012 Comments off

Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis

Source: British Medical Journal (open)


To determine the impact of sitting and television viewing on life expectancy in the USA.


Prevalence-based cause-deleted life table analysis.


Summary RRs of all-cause mortality associated with sitting and television viewing were obtained from a meta-analysis of available prospective cohort studies. Prevalences of sitting and television viewing were obtained from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Primary outcome measure

Life expectancy at birth.


The estimated gains in life expectancy in the US population were 2.00 years for reducing excessive sitting to <3 h/day and a gain of 1.38 years from reducing excessive television viewing to <2 h/day. The lower and upper limits from a sensitivity analysis that involved simultaneously varying the estimates of RR (using the upper and lower bounds of the 95% CI) and the prevalence of television viewing (±20%) were 1.39 and 2.69 years for sitting and 0.48 and 2.51 years for television viewing, respectively.


Reducing sedentary behaviours such as sitting and television viewing may have the potential to increase life expectancy in the USA.

Body Mass Index, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Short-Term Mortality: A Population-Based Observational Study, 2000–2006

July 8, 2012 Comments off

Body Mass Index, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Short-Term Mortality: A Population-Based Observational Study, 2000–2006
Source: Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

Published studies about the association of obesity with mortality have used body mass index (BMI) data collected more than 10 years ago, potentially limiting their current applicability, particularly given evidence of a secular decline in obesity-related mortality. The objective of this study was to examine the association between BMI and mortality in a representative, contemporary United States sample.

This was a population-based observational study of data from 50,994 adults aged 18 to 90 years who responded to the 2000 to 2005 Medical Expenditures Panel Surveys. Cox regression analyses were employed to model survival during up to 6 years of follow-up (ascertained via National Death Index linkage) by self-reported BMI category (underweight, <20 kg/m2; normal weight, 20-<25 [reference]; overweight, 25-<30; obese, 30-<35; severely obese, ≥35), without and with adjustment for diabetes and hypertension. Survival by BMI category also was modeled for diabetic and hypertensive individuals. All models were adjusted for sociodemographics, smoking, and Medical Expenditures Panel Surveys response year.

In analyses not adjusted for diabetes or hypertension, only severe obesity was associated with mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.00–1.59). After adjusting for diabetes and hypertension, severe obesity was no longer associated with mortality, and milder obesity (BMI 30-<35) was associated with decreased mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.68–0.97). There was a significant interaction between diabetes (but not hypertension) and BMI (F [4, 235] = 2.71; P = .03), such that the mortality risk of diabetes was lower among mildly and severely obese persons than among those in lower BMI categories.

Obesity-associated mortality risk was lower than estimated in studies employing older BMI data. Only severe obesity (but not milder obesity or overweight) was associated with increased mortality, an association accounted for by coexisting diabetes and hypertension. Mortality in diabetes was lower among obese versus normal weight individuals.

See: Above-Normal Weight Alone Does Not Necessarily Increase Short-Term Risk of Death, U.S. Data Suggest (Science Daily)

Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution

June 6, 2012 Comments off

Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution
Source: PLoS ONE (via PubMed Central)

The present research examined the psychological motives underlying widespread support for intelligent design theory (IDT), a purportedly scientific theory that lacks any scientific evidence; and antagonism toward evolutionary theory (ET), a theory supported by a large body of scientific evidence. We tested whether these attitudes are influenced by IDT’s provision of an explanation of life’s origins that better addresses existential concerns than ET. In four studies, existential threat (induced via reminders of participants’ own mortality) increased acceptance of IDT and/or rejection of ET, regardless of participants’ religion, religiosity, educational background, or preexisting attitude toward evolution. Effects were reversed by teaching participants that naturalism can be a source of existential meaning (Study 4), and among natural-science students for whom ET may already provide existential meaning (Study 5). These reversals suggest that the effect of heightened mortality awareness on attitudes toward ET and IDT is due to a desire to find greater meaning and purpose in science when existential threats are activated.

Nature and Impact of Grief Over Patient Loss on Oncologists’ Personal and Professional Lives

May 28, 2012 Comments off

Nature and Impact of Grief Over Patient Loss on Oncologists’ Personal and Professional Lives (PDF)
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine

Caring for critically ill and terminal patients can generate grief reactions in health care professionals (HCPs). While all HCPs can potentially experience grief over patient loss, oncologists face unique pressures because they are legally responsible for the patients’ care and may be blamed when patients die.5 Despite the evidence that grief over patient loss is an intrinsic part of clinical oncology, there are no qualitative studies examining the nature and extent of oncologists’ grief over patient loss nor the impact of this grief on oncologists’ lives. The objectives of our study were to explore and identify oncologists’ grief over patient loss and the ways in which this grief may affect their personal and professional lives.

New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths

May 24, 2012 Comments off

New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. Based upon preliminary data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities remained at about 4,500 in 2011, the same level as 2010. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that overall motor vehicle fatalities declined 1.7 percent in 2011, reaching their lowest level since 1949. Motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.

The new report – the first state-by-state look at motorcycle fatalities occurring in 2011 – was authored by Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North. Most states have reasonably complete fatality counts for at least the first nine months of 2011, enabling GHSA to confidently project the full year. Dr. Hedlund completed similar projections for GHSA in 2009 and 2010, with both being very close to the final fatality numbers.

Comparing the first nine months of 2010 to 2011, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in twenty-three states, with notable declines in many. In Connecticut, for example, motorcycle deaths dropped 37 percent, while in New York and North Carolina they fell 16 and 21 percent, respectively.

+ Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2011 Preliminary Data

Drowning — United States, 2005–2009

May 21, 2012 Comments off

Drowning — United States, 2005–2009
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, and the highest rates are among children (1). Overall, drowning death rates in the United States have declined in the last decade; however, drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1–4 years (2,3). In 2001, approximately 3,300 persons died from unintentional drowning in recreational water settings, and an estimated 5,600 were treated in emergency departments (EDs) (4). To update information on the incidence and characteristics of fatal and nonfatal unintentional drowning in the United States, CDC analyzed death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System and injury data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for 2005–2009. The results indicated that each year an average of 3,880 persons were victims of fatal drowning and an estimated 5,789 persons were treated in U.S. hospital EDs for nonfatal drowning. Death rates and nonfatal injury rates were highest among children aged ≤4 years; these children most commonly drowned in swimming pools. The drowning death rate among males (2.07 per 100,000 population) was approximately four times that for females (0.54). To prevent drowning, all parents and children should learn survival swimming skills. In addition, 1) environmental protections (e.g., isolation pool fences and lifeguards) should be in place; 2) alcohol use should be avoided while swimming, boating, water skiing, or supervising children; 3) lifejackets should be used by all boaters and weaker swimmers; and 4) all caregivers and supervisors should have training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis using Administrative Data

May 18, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Quarterly Journal of Economics (via Till von Wachter)

We use administrative data on the quarterly employment and earnings of Pennsylvanian workers in the 1970s and 1980s matched to Social Security Administration death records covering 1980–2006 to estimate the effects of job displacement on mortality. We find that for high-seniority male workers, mortality rates in the year after displacement are 50%–100% higher than would otherwise have been expected. The effect on mortality hazards declines sharply over time, but even twenty years after displacement, we estimate a 10%–15% increase in annual death hazards. If such increases were sustained indefinitely, they would imply a loss in life expectancy of 1.0–1.5 years for a worker displaced at age forty. We show that these results are not due to selective displacement of less healthy workers or to unstable industries or firms offering less healthy work environments. We also show that workers with larger losses in earnings tend to suffer greater increases in mortality. This correlation remains when we examine predicted earnings declines based on losses in industry, firm, or firm-size wage premiums.

CRS — Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians (Updated)

May 17, 2012 Comments off

Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.

Casualty data of U.S. military forces are compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as tallied from the agency’s press releases. Also included are statistics on those wounded but not killed. Statistics may be revised as circumstances are investigated and as records are processed through the U.S. military’s casualty system. More frequent updates are available at DOD’s website at under “Casualty Update.”

A detailed casualty summary of U.S. military forces that includes data on deaths by cause, as well as statistics on soldiers wounded in action, is available at the following DOD website:

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) does not post casualty statistics of the military forces of partner countries on the ISAF website at ISAF press releases state that it is ISAF policy to defer to the relevant national authorities to provide notice of any fatality. For this reason, this report uses fatality data of coalition forces as compiled by and posted online at

Reporting on casualties of Afghans did not begin until 2007, and a variety of entities now report the casualties of civilians and security forces members. The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) reports casualty data of Afghan civilians semiannually, and the U.S. Department of Defense occasionally includes civilian casualty figures within its reports on Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, 2010_eng/, and the Afghan Rights Monitor,, are local watchdog organizations that periodically publish reports regarding civilian casualties. From July 2009 through April 2010, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) included statistics of casualties of members of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police in its quarterly reports to Congress. SIGAR has ceased this practice, and there is no other published compilation of these statistics. This report now derives casualty figures of Afghan soldiers and police from the press accounts of the Reuters “Factbox: Security Developments in Afghanistan” series, the Pajhwok Afghan News agency, the Afghan Islamic Press news agency, Daily Outlook Afghanistan from Kabul, and the AfPak Channel Daily Brief. These services attribute their reported information to officials of the NATO-led ISAF or local Afghan officials. The Afghan news agencies frequently include statements from representatives of the Taliban; however, any figures such spokesmen provide are not included in this report.

Because the estimates of Afghan casualties contained in this report are based on varying time periods and have been created using different methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using them and should look to them as guideposts rather than as statements of fact.

This report will be updated as needed.

CRS — Members of Congress Who Die in Office: Historic and Current Practices

May 10, 2012 Comments off

Members of Congress Who Die in Office: Historic and Current Practices (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Since 1973, 84 Members of Congress—69 Representatives, and 15 Senators—have died in office. When a sitting Member dies, the House and Senate carry out a number of actions based on chamber rules, statutes, and longstanding practices. Some observances, such as adjourning briefly as a mark of respect to the deceased, appointing Member delegations to attend funerals of deceased colleagues, or paying the costs of a funeral from public funds, were initially observed in the earliest Congresses, or predate the national legislature established under the Constitution. It appears that contemporary congressional response to the death of a sitting Member is affected by a number of external factors including the following: circumstances of the Member’s death, preferences of the deceased Member or the Member’s family regarding funeral services, whether Congress is in session when the Member dies, pending congressional business at the time of the Member’s death, and events external to Congress at the time.

Congressional response to the death of a sitting Member could be characterized as a broad set of actions that are determined in detail at or around the time of the death, in response to a wide array of factors. Broadly, these actions fall into five categories, including announcement or acknowledgment on the House or Senate floor; consideration of resolutions of condolence; a funeral or other rites; issues related to the deceased Member’s office, staff, and survivor benefits; and publication of memorials.

This report, which will be updated as events warrant, is one of several CRS products focusing on various aspects of the operations and administration of Congress and the legislative branch. Others include CRS Report RL30064, Congressional Salaries and Allowances, by Ida A. Brudnick; CRS Report R42072, Legislative Branch Agency Appointments: History, Processes, and Recent Proposals, by Ida A. Brudnick; CRS Report RL34619, Use of the Capitol Rotunda, Capitol Grounds, and Emancipation Hall: Concurrent Resolutions, 101st to 112th Congress, by Matthew Eric Glassman and Jacob R. Straus; and CRS Report R42365, Representatives and Senators: Trends in Member Characteristics Since 1945, coordinated by R. Eric Petersen.

Thirteen Workers Killed on the Job Every Day According to New Report on Worker Safety and Health

May 4, 2012 Comments off

Thirteen Workers Killed on the Job Every Day According to New Report on Worker Safety and Health
Source: AFL-CIO

In 2010, 4,690 workers were killed on the job – an average of 13 workers every day – and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, according to a new AFL-CIO report, “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” As a comparison point, in 2009, 4,551 people died on the job. West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota and North Dakota were among states with the highest workplace fatality rates while New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were states with the lowest rates. Latino workers, especially those born outside of the United States, continue to face higher rates of workplace fatalities — 8 percent higher – than other workers.

The report notes that in 2010, more than 3.8 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, experienced work-related injuries and illnesses this year. The report includes state-by-state profiles of workers’ safety and health and features state and national information on workplace fatalities, injuries, illnesses, the number and frequency of workplace inspections, penalties, funding, staffing and public employee coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The report also addresses delays in the standard-making process, ergonomic injuries, new and emerging hazards like pandemic flu and other infectious diseases.

+ Full Report

Categories: AFL-CIO, death, labor, safety

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