News You Can Use

Posted on May 11, 2010

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Keeping up with all the news is hard, but the Mayor’s Health Line at the Boston Public Health Commission likes to stay on top of the most interesting health-related news stories for you! Check out what we found this week:

Oil Spill May Endanger Human Health, Officials Say
Associated Press, John Flesher, 05/07/2010
With a huge and unpredictable oil slick drifting in the Gulf of Mexico, state and federal authorities are preparing to deal with a variety of hazards to human health if and when the full brunt of the toxic mess washes ashore. The list of potential threats runs from temporary, minor nuisances such as runny noses and headaches to long-term risks such as cancer if contaminated seafood ends up in the marketplace.

Toxins Causing ‘Grievous Harm,’ Cancer Panel Says
USA Today, Liz Szabo, 05/06/2010
Widespread exposure to environmental toxins poses a serious threat to Americans, causing “grievous harm” that government agencies have not adequately addressed, according to a strongly worded report released today by the President’s Cancer Panel, a body of experts that reports directly to President Obama. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 6% of cancer deaths — nearly 34,000 a year — are caused by environmental pollutants.

Missouri Is a Tobacco-Friendly State, New Ranking Finds
The Kansas City Star, Alan Bavley, 05/06/2010
Maybe we should call Missouri the “Smoke Me” state. Whether it’s at home or at work or at the convenience store checkout counter, Missourians live in a state that is one of the most tobacco-friendly places in the nation. That’s according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ranks states on their tobacco control efforts.

H1N1 Often Hit the Young and Healthy
HealthDay News, Amanda Gardner, 05/05/2010
A year after the H1N1 flu first appeared, the World Health Organization has issued perhaps the most comprehensive report on the pandemic’s activity to date. “Here’s the definitive reference that shows in black-and-white what many people have said in meetings and talked about,” said Dr. John Treanor, a professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

E. coli Outbreaks Focus Attention on Food-Safety Rules
The Columbus Dispatch, Misti Crane, 05/04/2010
For consumers, food safety can seem simple. They want to know that their burgers are safe and that they can eat their spinach salad without spending days in agony, close to a bathroom. But food safety is a complex issue and one that is prompting increased discussion, debate and proposals on the part of advocates, farmers, grocers, government officials and others.

More Americans Got Seasonal Flu Vaccination in 2009-10 than in Previous Years
http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r100429.htm?s_cid=mediarel_r100429
More Americans were vaccinated against seasonal flu during the 2009-10 season (40 percent of eligible population) than during the previous flu season (33 percent of eligible population), according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Library of Medicine Adds Resource Page on Crude Oil Spills and Human Health
http://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/oilspills.html
The National Library of Medicine has created a web page that has links to information on responding to oil spills and the occupational hazards for professionals and volunteers assisting with clean-up, seafood safety, and more.

U.S. National Physical Activity Plan Launched
http://www.physicalactivityplan.org/
The National Physical Activity Plan is a comprehensive set of policies, programs, and initiatives that aim to increase physical activity in all segments of the American population.
Budget Cuts Straining Capacity of Public Health Departments
http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/40/4/1.2.full
The nation’s struggling economy and unemployment rate means more people are turning to their local public health departments for help, even as such departments face their own financial crises in the form of state and local budget cuts.

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