For those of you who like to keep up on these things, here's another new report urging more precaution on wireless, GMO's, nanotechnology, and more. Our current system allows new things to be unleashed on us without proper safety testing and precaution. At 750 (free) pages, it's a bit longer than a tweet or a fb update, but delving into it could change your life, and give you the resources to help create more urgently required changes around you.
Women’s Voices for the Earth recently released a new report, called "Secret Scents". It highlights the need for ingredient transparency by the companies that create fragranced products, since right now we have almost no way of knowing what is causing the fragrance allergies and other serious health effects people experience when exposed to fragrances. These adverse health effects are increasing, especially in children.
We all are!
Three articles that crossed my path today illustrate the challenges we face (trying to stay healthy) while alive. Of course there are more issues, (like fracking, GMOs and processed food) but these three are more than enough to show us that "lifestyle choices" are not enough to keep us healthy.
This article by David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz is a must read!
Published on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 by Common Dreams
Report: Toxic Chemicals Found in Thousands of Children's Products
Walmart among major manufacturers selling products without any "standards"
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Thousands of name brand children's products that line the shelves of big chain stores contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive problems, according to an analysis released Wednesday by watchdog group the…
From the Criminal Injustice Blog item of April 2, 2013
By Louellyn Lambros
It is time that drug use be viewed as a public health issue, rather than a matter for the criminal justice system. Too many drug users are saddled unnecessarily with criminal records, making it extraordinarily difficult to have fulfilling lives including being able to work and to make other kinds of valuable contributions to their families and society.
The skyrocketing incarceration rate in our country has been an outgrowth of the War on Drugs, which began over thirty years ago and had its roots in a political strategy to gain the votes of disaffected whites, in the wake of a successful Civil Rights struggle. Since outright discrimination on the basis of race was no longer acceptable or legal, an alternative route was to label African-Americans as criminals, thereby opening the door to reintroduce all the same forms of discrimination – in employment, housing, voting rights, and so on.
As the number of incarcerated people in the US grew from 300,000 in the last half of the 20th century to over 2.2 million today, racism continues to fuel the revolving door of our fellow citizens into the criminal justice system. In addition, the system has become big business, employing a growing number of judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and all types of ancillary personnel. Prisons themselves are becoming increasingly privatized, run as money-making corporations which sell shares on the NYSE. In thirty-seven states, prison labor is contracted to major corporations who pay 16 to 28 cents an hour, ensuring astronomical profits.
While the majority of Americans, once educated on the issue, may be persuaded by the injustice of the situation as it affects minority communities and may be horrified by how the one percent is capable of turning anything into a lucrative business, it will take more time and effort to address the concerns of those whose loved ones have suffered from addiction and subsequent incarceration.
The truth is that no one, particularly the most vulnerable dealing with drug addiction, is served by the current system. Those who are susceptible to addiction are even more vulnerable and in need of self-soothing in the face of extreme stress. Why do therefore we respond to their difficulties with a system of incarceration which stresses them to the max and saddles them with second-class citizen status as a ‘felon’ upon release back into their home communities?
A policy of decriminalization, as has been in place in Portugal since 2001, would take the whole issue of drug addiction out of the criminal justice system and make it a civil and public health matter. A panel of three– made up of two individuals with a health background and one with a legal background–would make a determination: is this person’s drug use a problem? If not, perhaps a fine or a warning will suffice. If it is deemed a problem, treatment and rehabilitation are in order. Treatment facilities could easily be funded by resources reallocated from the criminal justice system.
- A new day for the ‘war on drugs’ (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Jason Silverstein: More Treatment, Less War: The White House Drug Policy Reform (huffingtonpost.com)
- 21st Century Drug Policy (propresobama.org)
- Drug Policy Reform In Action: A 21st Century Approach (whitehouse.gov)
- Focusing On Prevention And Neuroscience, President Ends Reagan’s War On Drugs (newsone.com)
[Reblog]Monday: What’s Lurking Beneath Your Sofa in Your (Otherwise) Healthy Home | Drexel School of Public Health
By Anneclaire De Roos, MPH, PhD, Associate Professor
When I think about this National Public Health Week’s topic – ‘Healthy Homes’ – what immediately comes to mind are themes like injury, fire safety, lead, radon, mold, and secondhand smoke. Most people’s thoughts about healthy homes probably don’t include dust. How harmful can dust bunnies be? Actually, we’ve long known that people with asthma and allergies are sensitive to dust mites. And now there is ever-increasing documentation of a different type of health hazard from house dust – exposure to a diverse mix of pollutants including metals, pesticides, dioxins, flame retardants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and phthalates.
These chemicals adhere to dust particles and blow into your household after being stirred up by traffic, are released from your sofa or appliances as they degrade over time, are deposited from disintegrating home building materials, and are introduced from cigarette smoking or pesticide applications indoors. Some of the pollutants are known to cause adverse health effects, such as lead and dioxins. Others, including PBDE and phthalates, are not as well understood, although there is emerging evidence that these chemicals cause hormonal changes and may be particularly damaging when exposure happens during pregnancy or childhood.
The trouble arises because people inadvertently swallow small amounts of dust during their normal daily activities like eating, drinking, and breathing. For example, it’s well known that exposure to organochlorines, such as dioxins, comes from the diet – from fatty foods including fish, meat, and dairy. However, we are now learning that a major source of our exposure also comes from ingestion of dust, in amounts that rival dietary exposures. This is an especially important pathway of exposure for small children, who crawl on the floor and explore their environment using hand-to-mouth behavior. House cats also ingest very high amounts of house dust through self-grooming. In fact, studies in the US and Europe have found that house cats had 50 times higher blood levels of PBDEs than people.
Aside from not breathing or swallowing, or fruitlessly trying to change the behaviors of your toddler or pet, what can be done to reduce exposure to pollutants from household dust? The answers are somewhat obvious, but do require vigilance.
1) Avoid introduction of pollutants inside the home where possible, by banning smoking in the home and seeking alternatives to pesticide applications
2) Wipe your feet on a high-quality doormat before entering the home
3) Eliminate wall-to-wall carpeting and shag rugs, which trap dust
4) Vacuum frequently, ideally using a high-powered vacuum cleaner with a dirt finder
5) Wet-mop non-carpeted floor surfaces on a regular basis
6) Wipe down toys and other items your toddler contacts, using a wet cloth
In my review of the literature, I even saw a recommendation to wipe down your cat with a wet cloth on a daily basis (good luck with that!). Nevertheless, it makes good health sense to follow these recommendations, particularly during pregnancy or with toddlers in the home. At the very least, you will have a cleaner home to show for it.
- Wipe the Cat with a Damp Cloth and other Healthy Home Tips (newsblog.drexel.edu)
- Exposure to TDCPP Appears Widespread (ehp.niehs.nih.gov)
- Human Exposure Assessment of Indoor Dust: Importance of Particle Size and Spatial Position (ehp.niehs.nih.gov)
- Flame retardants, found in many consumer products, ignite health concerns (bangordailynews.com)
- Diesel Exhaust Particles Induce Cysteine Oxidation and S-Glutathionylation in House Dust Mite Induced Murine Asthma (plosone.org)
- You Are a Guinea Pig: Americans Exposed to Biohazards in Great Uncontrolled Experiment (nakedcapitalism.com)
- The Dark Side of New Car Smell (healthyhomemagazine.com)
- Workplace Wellness (newsblog.drexel.edu)
- Public Health Wednesdays: Racism as a Public Health Issue. (mkhanaintransit.wordpress.com)
- National Public Health Week! (fimrcblog.com)
With the school system failing them, many children are turning to drugs. Heard this one before, right? Well, how about the part where the pusher is your pediatrician, and the fed is subsidizing?
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
A recent NYT article spot lighted increasing psych diagnoses in children for the purpose of acquiring “brain boosting” pharma creations to increase academic performance. The purpose is to make a child more competitive on a college application, and increase funding for a school district as test scores rise. Children are being force-fed drugs instead of given the attention they need or the freedom to be creative and learn discipline on their own as pharmaceutical “solutions” are abused as steroids for the brain. Worse yet, the behavior is sanctioned by those in authority, who are supposed to advocate for their well-being–their parents, doctors and the federal government…
Education is a highly competitive arena, whether it’s a student vying for a scholarship or admission to their college of choice, or a district teaching to standardized test scores and praying for funding. The Obama administration’s lauded “Race to the Top” initiative even goes so far as making funding an actual competition–schools submit innovative proposals for education reform in an effort to win federal money.
An anonymous California superintendent pontificated that “diagnosis rates of A.D.H.D. have risen as sharply as school funding has declined.” Poor children are being prescribed stimulants at increasing rates, and Medicare is paying the bill. If we are not directly funding public education in this country, we are indirectly doing so in efforts to respond to the problem….
- Athletes and Drug Abuse (ajochum23.wordpress.com)
- Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse by Teens Up 33 Percent, According… (prweb.com)
- Prescription Drug Abuse: Top 10 Things CDC Says You Should Know (pbs.org)
In this landmark study, researchers examined NPD restaurant servings and traffic data, and Nation’s Restaurant News sales trends, to analyze whether or not growing sales of lower-calorie menu items in 21 national restaurant chains, accounting for half of the top 100 chain sales, resulted in superior business performance.
The study concluded that quick-service and sit-down restaurant chains that grew their lower-calorie servings delivered better business results. In short, sound strategic planning with a commitment to growing lower-calorie items is just good business.
The findings of this study clearly demonstrate that between 2006 and 2011 lower-calorie foods and beverages were the key growth engine for the restaurants studied. Restaurant chains growing their servings of lower-calorie foods and beverages demonstrated superior:
• Same-store sales (SSS) growth
• Increases in restaurant customer traffic • Gains in overall restaurant servings
Increasing lower-calorie menu portfolios can help quick-service and sit-down restaurant chains improve the key performance metrics demanded by their shareholders and Wall Street, while at the same time providing lower-calorie foods and beverages for families and children.
- Study: Change menu calorie counts (wwlp.com)
- Join the conversation: Calorie counts in restaurants (globalnews.ca)
- Did They Lie? Consumer Reports on Restaurant Calorie Counts (friendseat.com)
- Restaurant Chains Still Not Meeting Nutritional Expectations (medicaldaily.com)
- Nevada Assembly Oks Restaurant Menu Calorie Bill (tomdarby.me)
- 97% of Restaurant Kids’ Meals Are Unhealthy, Consumer Group Says (livescience.com)
- Most kids’ meals at chain restaurants offer poor nutrition, as fried chicken fingers, burgers, fries, and soda reign (boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com)
- Measuring meals by exercise, not calories helps consumers eat healthy: study (globalnews.ca)
- Exercise Time and not Calorie Count may Reduce Your Calorie Intake: New Study (medindia.net)
- Toronto would consider enacting bylaw requiring restaurants to post calories on menus if province fails to act (news.nationalpost.com)
Free Library Puts Resources About Minority Health Within Arm’s Reach – National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities
From the 9 April 2013 article at the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities
The Office of Minority Health Knowledge Center supports National Minority Health Month by highlighting many information resources available to the public. The Knowledge Center focuses its collection on consumer health and many other health equity issues, and builds on this year’s theme ofAdvance Health Equity Now: Uniting Our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All.
Created in 1987, the Knowledge Center indexed and tracked the concept of health disparities in the available literature long before it appeared in the forefront of public health concerns. Today, the library offers both a historical and present day picture of the health status of minority populations and holds a collection of 10,000 reports, books, journals and media, and over 35,000 articles, which makes it the largest repository of minority health information in the nation.
Equal access to health care has long been a factor in health equity, and the Knowledge Center library catalog reflects those concerns. By searching our catalog, you will find many reports, books and fact sheets which explain disparities in access to health insurance and health care.
And the Knowledge Center is more than a library. We also contribute to the outreach and educational activities of the Office of Minority Health and reach out to other libraries to support their consumer health education initiatives. For example, a recent presentation and exhibit at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color highlighted our services and resources for public and academic libraries.
Other libraries have found ways to advance health equity, in keeping with objectives set by our National Partnership for Action (NPA). As an NPA partner, the University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library developed a health advocates program for local high school students (read more about the program.)
With 35 languages represented in our collection, the Knowledge Center is open to the public for research about a variety of diseases and health topics and you can search the database right from your desktop.
We invite you to take a look at our online catalog and conduct a search. Enter the search terms “Affordable Care Act” and discover what OMHRC has to offer you.
For questions or search assistance, please contact us at KnowledgeCenter@minorityhealth.hhs.gov.