Deadly Massive Chemical Explosion Raises Concerns of Toxic Brew Released Into the Environment

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch –  In the wake of the deadly explosion that ripped through Tianjin, China that has claimed at least 114 lives and left 70 more still missing since last Wednesday, attention is now being turned to what might have triggered the disaster as well as the toxic chemical brew released into the environment. While the exact cause is currently unclear, we know that the blast occurred at a warehouse owned by Rui Hai International Logistics, a private company licensed to handle potentially hazardous cargo, The New York Times reported. Officials from the Tianjin Tanggu Environmental Monitoring Station reported that the company stored a number of toxic industrial chemicals — sodium cyanide, toluene diisocyanate and calcium carbide — and was licensed to handle highly combustible substances such as compressed and liquefied natural gas, the Times wrote. Deborah Read, an associate professor at Massey University’s Center for Public Health...

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There Used To Be A Vaccine For Lyme Disease, Till Anti-Vaxxers Stepped In

By WENDY GITTLESON, Addicting Info – It’s springtime, which means that something as innocent as tall grass gives images of creepy crawlies and not-at-all-sexy naked tick checks. It’s even worse when a pet has been exposed and you have to find a tiny tick through a thick layer of fur. Not all ticks are dangerous, but there are certain kinds of ticks that carry Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to humans and pets. The symptoms of Lyme disease are awful and can include fevers, rashes, a droopy face, severe headaches, stiff neck, meningitis, painful and swollen joints, arthritis, shooting pains and heart palpitations. The symptoms can last months or entire lives, although most patients can make a full recovery with antibiotics. If there was ever a symbol for the damage that the anti-science crowd can do to society, it’s Lyme disease. Right now, we are in the middle of...

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Ted Nugent Denies Guns Kill Kids, Says Backyard Swimming Pools Are The Real Danger

By VERA, Addicting Info – Gun lover and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent went after President Barack Obama and those advocating for tighter gun laws to protect children in a column on World Net Daily last week. Calling high-profile concerns and media coverage about child gun deaths “The Big Lie,” Nugent directs attention away from guns and onto swimming pools. After stating that Centers for Disease Control says drowning is the “second-leading cause of unintentional deaths for kids 1-14 years old,” Nugent writes: “The Big Lie about guns is that innocent kids are being gunned down or are accidentally shooting each other. Compared to drowning, gun-related deaths don’t even register.” Meanwhile, Nugent ignores the fact that gun deaths are still very high on that list. He continues, asserting that in cases where kids do die from guns, “very few” are actually young and innocent: “Indeed, some kids do die in gun-related deaths, mostly in the president’s old stomping...

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Second U.S. Ice Cream Maker Pulls All Products After Listeria Threat

HealthDay News — Last week, for the second time, a major U.S. manufacturer of ice cream has recalled all of its products because of possible contamination with the bacteria listeria. Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams said Thursday that it was recalling all of its ice creams, sorbets and ice cream sandwiches, and temporarily closing all of its scoop shops. The company said in a statement that it took the action after possible listeria contamination was found in one random sample that had been tested by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. The company said it wasn’t aware of any illnesses caused by its products, and added that it issued the recall “out of an abundance of caution.” Listeria — officially known as Listeria monocytogenes — is a bacteria that can cause stomach illness, although it typically does not cause severe illness in healthy people. However, it can pose serious health...

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E-Cigarette Use Triples Among U.S. Teens in 1 Year

Federal officials say nicotine-based products pose major health threat HealthDay News – E-cigarettes are booming among U.S. teens, with nearly 2.5 million middle and high school students now choosing to “vape” rather than smoke traditional cigarettes or indulge in other forms of tobacco, federal health officials reported Thursday. E-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, making the nicotine-delivery devices the most popular tobacco product now used by American teens, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. This is the first time e-cigs have surpassed in teen popularity every other tobacco product, a trend that CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden called “deeply alarming.” “We’re seeing a striking increase. It’s very concerning,” Frieden said during a media briefing. “It more than counterbalances the decrease in cigarette smoking which we’ve seen over the last few years.”...

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Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistance Blowing in Wind

By Eva Hershaw, Texas Tribune – COTTON CENTER – After years spent studying the dust that blows across the southern Great Plains, Phil Smith no longer looks at the dark haboobs that routinely rise over Lubbock without a healthy dose of apprehension. In a study slated for publication next month, he and Texas Tech University colleague Greg Mayer may have made their biggest discovery yet: DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle feedlots is airborne.  For years, scientists have known that humans can contract antibiotic-resistant bacteria by consuming contaminated meat or water. The findings by Smith and Mayer indicate that humans could also be exposed to “super bugs” or “super bacteria” traveling through the air. “This is the first test to open our eyes to the fact that we could be breathing these things,” said Smith, an environmental toxicologist at Texas Tech. Antibiotics are commonly used on cows in industrial feedlots to treat disease and, more controversially, as a growth...

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Oregon Seeks to Become First State to Limit Antibiotic Use at Factory Farms

By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – Oregon could become the first state in the country to regulate agricultural use of antibiotics, should lawmakers approve bills that would prohibit giving antibiotics to healthy farm animals and require factory farms to report how the drugs are used in their operations. More than 70 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on livestock and poultry — and not primarily to treat sick animals. Instead, factory farms often put antibiotics into the daily feed and water of healthy animals, to promote growth and prevent disease due to overcrowded and dirty conditions. As a result, bacteria commonly present on farms are mutating into stronger, antibiotic-resistant strains, which in turn find their way to the human population through numerous pathways, including contaminated food, airborne dust blowing off farms, and water and soil polluted with contaminated feces. “There is a near consensus among public health experts that...

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Why McDonald’s Announcement on Chicken Is Important for Everyone’s Health

Fast food chain announces phase-out of antibiotic-treated chicken By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams – Chicken McNuggets might not be part of your diet, but a new announcement from McDonald’s could have an impact on your health. According to a statement issued Wednesday, the roughly 14,000 farms that supply chicken to U.S. locations of the fast food restaurant have a two-year window to stop the use of antibiotics that are important to human health. Chickens treated with a type of antibiotic not used on humans, ionophores, will continue to be allowed. The company said the change, which follows similar moves by companies like Panera Bread and Chipotle, was an effort “to better meet the changing preferences and expectations of today’s customers.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have warned of an alarming rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria or “superbugs” — a problem fueled by livestock farms, where up...

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Nearly 1 in 10 Adults Skips Meds Due to Cost, CDC Says

(HealthDay News) — Nearly one in 10 American adults don’t take their medications as prescribed because they can’t afford to, health officials reported last week. High drug costs in the United States may be hurting the very people the medications are meant to help, the new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. About 15 percent of U.S. adults have asked their doctor for a lower-cost alternative, the researchers found. Moreover, almost 2 percent have bought prescription drugs from another country — where medications may or may not be regulated — and more than 4 percent have tried alternative therapies. “These people are skipping doses, taking less medication or delaying filling prescriptions,” said report author Robin Cohen, a health statistician at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Not taking medications as prescribed can have serious consequences, said co-author Maria Villarroel, chief of the special...

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U.S. Still Lags in Infant Mortality Rates, Report Finds

HealthDay News – More babies are dying before they turn 1-year-old in the United States than in most of Europe and several other developed countries, a new U.S. government report says. A greater proportion of premature births and deaths of full-term babies are driving the higher rate, which puts the United States below 25 other countries, according to the report, released Sept. 24 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I think we’ve known for a long time that the U.S. has a higher preterm birth rate, but this higher infant mortality rate for full-term, big babies who should have really good survival prospects is not what we expected,” said lead author Marian MacDorman, a senior statistician and researcher in the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The infant mortality rate refers to the percentage of babies born alive who die before their first birthday. The report compares...

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Laura Ingraham: ‘Why Did Obama Let The Ebola Virus Into The U.S.?’

by Jameson Parker – The “blame Obama” movement earned its namesake yet again when it took less than 24 hours for them to begin accusing the president of personally allowing the deadly Ebola virus into the United States. On her radio show, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham suggested that Obama was responsible for the first known case of Ebola in the U.S. which the Centers for Disease Control officially identified the night before. “Why did Obama let Ebola virus into the United States?” Ingraham asked on the show. “Do you believe that we should be allowing flights from Africa into the United States from the two country’s most affected?” she added. On her blog, Ingraham asked the same question – concluding that Obama was responsible for the virus because he had allowed flights into the country from African countries. She cites the fact that some African nations have opted to suspend flights...

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Many U.S. Kids Missing Out on Preventive Care, CDC Says

Report finds gaps in basic medical care, vaccines, and vision and hearing screenings HealthDay News – Most adults can remember the battery of health services they endured as kids: hearing and vision tests, dental exams, regular checkups and vaccinations. Many American kids growing up now won’t have those memories, because millions of infants and children aren’t receiving recommended medical care aimed at detecting and preventing disease, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventive services that kids and teens are missing out on range from basic medical care to vaccinations and screenings that can have a lifelong impact on their health. The appraisal, published in the Sept. 12 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also revealed large disparities between groups when it comes to receiving preventive services. For example, uninsured children are less likely than insured kids to receive these...

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Southern States Are Now Epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

By Teresa Wiltz, Stateline – New Yorker Deadra Malloy was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, but she remained healthy for so long she wasn’t completely convinced she was positive. When she finally started getting sick in 2006, she decided to embrace her “ancestral roots” and accepted a job down South, where her mother was from. Malloy didn’t know that the move, first to North Carolina and then to Columbia, South Carolina, would make it much more difficult to manage her disease. New York offers free health care, including HIV drugs, to HIV-positive state residents who are uninsured or underinsured, while assistance is harder to come by in North Carolina and South Carolina. At the time a single mother of two, Malloy couldn’t afford her medication, which cost upwards of $2,500 a month. So she did without it for nearly a year — and ended up in the emergency room with...

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WHO says Ebola Outbreak Spreading ‘Faster Than Our Efforts to Control it’

Further spread of virus would be ‘catastrophic,’ agency warns By Max Ocean, Common Dreams – After announcing plans to step up efforts in the fight against the worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that they are at a “turning point in the outbreak response” and must act swiftly to prevent a further spread of the deadly virus. The outbreak—which has mainly affected Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — has so far infected 1,323 people and killed 729 since it was first identified in March. Addressing the presidents of the three African nations on Friday, general director of the WHO Dr. Margaret Chan described the outbreak as “the largest ever in the nearly four-decade history of the disease” as she offered a “frank assessment” of the current crisis. “First,” Chan said, “this outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the...

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HIV Diagnoses Down in U.S., Except for Young Gay, Bi Males

HealthDay News – A new report offers good and bad news about the AIDS epidemic in the United States: The annual diagnosis rate of HIV, the virus that causes the disease, has dropped by one-third in the general population but has climbed among young gay and bisexual males. Significantly fewer heterosexuals, drug users and women were diagnosed each year with HIV, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the annual diagnosis rate more than doubled for young gay and bisexual males. The push for safer sex may be falling on deaf ears in a generation too young to have seen the ravages of AIDS, said report co-author Amy Lansky, deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory sciences at the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “It’s been more than 30 years since the first cases were reported,” she said. “It’s harder to maintain...

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