adBlockCheck

Cases Of Glitter Lung On The Rise Among Elementary-School Art Teachers

Top Headlines

Recent News

The Arguments For And Against Bernie Sanders Staying In The Race

Bernie Sanders is ramping up his efforts in the presidential race despite long odds, while sharpening his criticisms of a Democratic Party increasingly focused on the general election with Hillary Clinton as their presumptive nominee. Here are the arguments for and against Sanders staying in the race

Report: Nobody Fucking Cares

NEW YORK—According to a brief but conclusive report released Monday, nobody fucking cares. “Doesn’t fucking matter,” read the report in part, which went on to inform readers that no one gives two shits, so fuck it.

Mom Sleeps In Past Sunrise

WOBURN, MA―Noting that she had somehow managed to sleep through both the dawn chorus of birds and her neighborhood’s early morning garbage pickup, 53-year-old local mother Laura Maloney confirmed that she did not awaken Monday until after the sun had risen.

Facebook Clarifies Site Not Intended To Be Users’ Primary Information Source

‘No One Should Really Be On Here More Than 15 Minutes A Day,’ Say Executives

MENLO PARK, CA—Addressing concerns about the site’s alleged bias in how it displays news stories in users’ feeds, Facebook executives held a press conference Thursday to clarify that the social network was not intended to serve as anyone’s primary source of information, and that its 1.6 billion active users should, at most, be spending 15 minutes on the platform in a given day in the first place.

Heart Attack A Real Wake-Up Call For Man’s Insurance Provider

HARTFORD, CT—Saying the incident had forced them to completely rethink their past decisions about the man’s coverage and how they would approach his policy from here on out, Aetna executives reported Thursday that the recent heart attack of longtime plan member Michael Burns was a real wake-up call for the 163-year-old insurance company.

Area Dad Needs More Time With Museum Plaque

NEW YORK—Leaning in close to the paragraph of text as his family continued on to the museum’s other exhibits, area dad and Frick Collection visitor Phillip Schermeier, 58, reportedly needed more time with the plaque beside Rembrandt’s 1626 painting Palamedes In Front Of Agamemnon Thursday.

Dad Locks Into Elaborate Chess Match With Lawn Mower Salesman

TACOMA, WA—Intermittently shifting his gaze between his opponent and the product brochure in his hands as he shrewdly calculated his next move, local father Thomas McCabe became locked into an intricate chess match Thursday with riding lawn mower salesman Keith Porter, family sources reported.

How To Prepare A Will

Writing a will ensures the proper distribution of your assets upon your death. The Onion takes you through the steps of preparing this important document
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Cases Of Glitter Lung On The Rise Among Elementary-School Art Teachers

CHICAGO—The Occupational Safety And Health Administration released figures Monday indicating that record numbers of elementary-school art teachers are falling victim to pneumosparklyosis, commonly known as glitter lung.

Dr. Linda Norr scans a sufferer who spent more than two decades in the classrooms.

Nearly 8,000 cases were reported in 2004, the most recent year for which statistics are available. This is the highest number since the arts-and-crafts industry was deregulated in 1988.

Characterized by a lack of creative energy and shortness of breath, and accompanied by sneezing or coughing up flakes of twinkly, reflective matter, glitter lung typically strikes teachers between the ages of 29 to 60 who spend 20 hours per week in an art-class setting during the school year.

"When art teachers spend so much time in confined quarters with inadequate ventilation amid swirling clouds of glitter, it's only a matter of time before their lungs start to suffer negative effects," said Dr. Linda Norr, a specialist in elementary-school-related respiratory diseases. "Those sufferers who are not put on a rigorous program of treatment often spend their last days on respirators, hacking up a thick, dazzling mucus."

As incidences of glitter lung continue to rise, critics are accusing public schools of not doing enough to protect art teachers.

Former art teacher Miles Winfield, who recently testified before a House subcommittee on unsafe working conditions, said that, as his symptoms worsened, his principal looked the other way, fearing defamation lawsuits from the powerful glitter industry.

"Most art teachers are afraid to come forward, for fear of losing their jobs," Winfield said. "At an absolute minimum, an art teacher should be equipped with a respirator, thick goggles, and a reflective-field smock. But schools don't want to stand up to Big Glitter, which continues to insist that this stuff is safe. Schools end up falsifying the safety reports and hoping they get away with it. And they usually do."

Until heavier, less toxic forms of glitter are developed, physicians recommend using alternative media to enhance children's artwork.

"Cheerios, cotton balls, and popsicle sticks are considered very safe," Norr said. "Avoid colored string, however, because some studies show that it could be high in yarncinogens. And if glitter is absolutely essential to the craft project, try using a glitter pen, as the particles are less likely to become airborne."

Glitter guidelines established by OSHA in 1970 allow for no more than 0.4 flakes per cm3 of the substance in the air. Yet critics say the standards were developed to protect children, who typically only spend two to three hours in art class per week, unlike teachers, who spend as many as 40 hours per week in the toxic, high-glitter environment.

Though only 47 years old, Lawrence, KS art teacher Helen Niles was forced to quit her job and lose her health insurance after her chronic glitter lung rendered her unfit for full-time work in February.

"At first, I had no idea what was going on," Niles said. "I'd wake up in the morning and I'd have this gritty feel in my mouth. The school nurse told me it was nothing, but eventually I was waking up with a shiny, sparkling stain on the pillow."

"People who have worked with glitter know that it gets everywhere if you don't sprinkle it very carefully. It can stick to your clothes and your skin," Niles said. "Imagine working in an environment where the atmosphere contains 10 parts per million, and you quickly realize what our nation's art teachers are up against."

The medical community has been slow to recognize glitter lung as a public health threat. A 1993 epidemic of sequin fibrosis, which primarily affected dancers in the Las Vegas, NV area, was seen as an isolated case. Now, however, the disease is being re-evaluated, and many doctors believe it may be the most serious occupational health hazard to hit educators since the outbreak of gold-star syndrome in the 1960s.

Epidemiologists note that the increase in glitter-lung cases is occurring simultaneously with a general rise in other classroom-related diseases. Macaroni elbow, modeling clay palsy, crayon flu, and googly-eye are sidelining thousands of teachers each year.

But despite growing medical alarm, efforts to provide adequate safety measures and health care continue to be hampered by bureaucratic red, blue, green, and yellow tape.

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close