Health - Aug 5
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Scientists issue warning on chemical
Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times
Bisphenol A, a compound found in plastics, may be causing reproductive disorders, the statement says.
In an unusual effort targeting a single chemical, several dozen scientists on Thursday issued a strongly worded consensus statement warning that an estrogen-like compound in plastic is likely causing an array of serious reproductive disorders in people.
The compound, bisphenol A or BPA, is one of the highest-volume chemicals in the world and has found its way into the bodies of most human beings.
Used to make hard plastic, BPA can seep from beverage containers and other materials. It is used in all polycarbonate plastic baby bottles as well as other items, including large water cooler containers, sports bottles and microwave oven dishes, along with canned food liners and some dental sealants for children.
The scientists - including four from federal health agencies - reviewed about 700 studies before concluding that people are exposed to levels of the chemical exceeding those that harm lab animals. Infants and fetuses are most vulnerable, they said.
The statement, published online by the journal Reproductive Toxicology, was accompanied by a new study from researchers from the National Institutes of Health that found uterine damage in newborn animals exposed to BPA. That damage is a possible predictor of reproductive diseases in women, including fibroids, endometriosis, cystic ovaries and cancers.
(3 August 2007)
Dengue Fever Rages Across Asia
Margie Mason, Associated Press
Dengue fever is raging across Asia, prompting the World Health Organization to warn that the region could face the worst outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in nearly a decade.
The disease, commonly called the 'bone breaker' illness because of the excruciating joint pain it causes, has flared everywhere from ultramodern Singapore to poor Vietnam. There are four different types of dengue, but none have a cure or vaccine.
(30 July 2007)
Reader CR asks:
Could this be the result of climate change?
Bush Aide Blocked Report
Global Health Draft In 2006 Rejected for Not Being Political
Christopher Lee and Marc Kaufman, Washington Post
A surgeon general's report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration's policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.
The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Post.
Three people directly involved in its preparation said its publication was blocked by William R. Steiger, a specialist in education and a scholar of Latin American history whose family has long ties to President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Since 2001, Steiger has run the Office of Global Health Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.
...Carmona told lawmakers that, as he fought to release the document, he was "called in and again admonished . . . via a senior official who said, 'You don't get it.' " He said a senior official told him that "this will be a political document, or it will not be released."
After a long struggle that pitted top scientific and medical experts inside and outside the government against Steiger and his political bosses, Carmona refused to make the requested changes,
(29 July 2007)
Related from the Los Angeles Times: 2 distinct diagnoses on world health.
Efforts by the Bush administration to squelch climate change science have been documented. Apparently, this is only part of a pervasive attempt to manipulate science. Money quote from the Bush senior official:
this will be a political document, or it will not be released
UPDATE (Aug 6): Science vs. politics gets down and dirty in USA Today.