Archive for the ‘public health’ Category

CDC Preps America for Nuclear Holocaust

January 8, 2018

Now that our really smart President boasts of playing with his big button, U.S. Centers for Disease Control has scheduled a January 16th briefing on “Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation.” Inspires confidence, no?

More:

“CDC briefing to focus on preparing for nuclear war,” Brianna Ehley, Politico

Update:

“CDC postpones session on ‘preparing for the unthinkable’: a nuclear blast,” Lena H. Sun, Washington Post

Related:

“False Missile Warning in Hawaii Adds to Scrutiny of Emergency Alert System,” Cecilia Kang, New York Times

“Trump tweet boosts sales of anti-radiation pills,” Sam Baker, Axios

Video: “Duck and Cover,” a 1951 Civil Defense Administration TV spot for kids by Archer Films (the 9-minute classroom version is here). Directed by Anthony Rizzo, written by Ray Mauer. Narrator: Robert Middleton. The kids are from NYC public schools (read more here).

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Mar-a-Lago Kitchens Cited for 13 Health Code Violations

April 14, 2017

13 Health Code Violations in Mar-a-Lago Kitchens

In Florida this month, members of President Trump’s pricy Mar-a-Lago club got some extras in the dining room‘s kitchen: Fish parasites, unrefrigerated raw meats, and more. Mar-a-Lago was cited for a total of 13 health code violations.

But Palm Beach is no Las Vegas. The Trump steakhouse there, DJT,  was cited for 51 health code violations in 2012.

More:

“Undercooled meat. Dangerous fish. Health inspectors ding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago kitchen,” José Lambiet, Miami Herald

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Flint, Michigan: Residents Pay Full Price for Undrinkable Water

March 2, 2017

Flint Michigan Residents Pay Full Price for Undrinkable Water

“Residents in Flint, Mich., are about to start paying the full cost of their water again, even though what’s flowing from their taps has yet to be declared safe to drink without an approved filter.

On Wednesday, state officials will end a program that has helped pay residents’ bills since a series of ill-fated decisions by state-appointed emergency managers left the city’s water system contaminated with lead. Since that 2014 disaster, the state has spent roughly $41 million in credits to help offset local utility bills. Residents have gotten a 65 percent credit each month on their water use, while commercial accounts received a 20 percent credit.”

— “Flint residents must start paying for water they still can’t drink without a filter,” Brady Dennis, Washington Post

Flint residents pay one of the country’s highest water rates for the privilege of receiving lead-laced drinking water that poisons their children. About 40 percent of Flint residents live below the poverty line.

The Flint water system was privatized by Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

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Judge Orders Bottled Water Delivery To Flint Residents

November 11, 2016

Judge Orders Bottled Water Delivery To Flint Residents

Federal Court Judge David M. Lawson has ordered Michigan state and local governments to provide home delivery of at least four cases of water a week to each resident of Flint, unless officials verify that the household has a properly installed and maintained water filter. Deliveries must continue until the city’s water lead hazard ends.

Bottled water had previously been available for pick-up at various locations throughout the city, but restrictive access hours and limits per family placed the burden on residents, 40 percent of whom live below the poverty line. Many do not own cars, and had to walk to and from the water supply centers.

As Judge Lawson observed:

“In modern society, when we turn on a faucet, we expect safe drinking water to flow out. As the evidence shows, this is no longer the case in Flint. The Flint water crisis has in effect turned back the clock to a time when people traveled to central water sources to fill their buckets and carry the water home.”

The water became tainted with lead in 2014 when the Republican state government privatized Flint’s water utility, which then instituted cost-cutting measure while charging residents some of the highest rates in the nation.

More:

“Federal judge orders delivery of bottled water in Flint,” Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

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Flint: Fear the Water

March 18, 2016

A New Yorker video, produced by Zackary Canepari and Jessica Dimmock.

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Flint, Michigan

February 24, 2016

Flint, Michigan

Flint, Michigan residents, 40 percent of whom have incomes under the poverty level, have been paying the highest water bills in the nation for the lead-tainted water that has endangered their children’s health. Those rates were set by the state-appointed emergency managers who switched the system from Detroit water to chemical-laden Flint River water. Thank you, Governor Rick Snyder.

More:

“While Lead Flowed Through the Pipes, Flint Residents Paid America’s Most Expensive Water Bills,” Julia Lurie, Mother Jones

“Flint Is What Happens When a Small-Government, Anti-Spending Philosophy Rules the Day,” Jeff Turrentine , Pacific Standard

“Lessons from Flint and the Price of Water Privatization,”  Mary Grant and Jo Miles, Food & Water Watch

“By the numbers: Flint’s water emergency,” Associated Press

Related:

“How the Flint River got so toxic,” Tim Carmody, The Verge

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Reducing Gun Violence

January 5, 2016

Reducing Gun Violence

President Obama made public remarks Tuesday on the need to curb America’s epidemic of gun violence.

“Our right to peaceful assembly — that right was robbed from moviegoers in Aurora, high schoolers in Columbine and from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who’d never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.”

“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence. We maybe can’t save everybody, but we can save some.”

“How did we get here? Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common sense reforms might not have stopped the latest massacre or the one before that, so why bother trying.”

The President commented on his forthcoming executive actions:

“These are not only recommendations that are well within my legal authority and the executive branch, but they’re also ones that the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners, support me doing.”

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UN Health Agency: Hot Dogs, Sausages and Bacon Are Carcinogenic

October 26, 2015

UN Health Agency: Hot Dogs, Sausages and Bacon Are Carcinogenic

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), has determined that consumption of processed meat is as bad for you as smoking. Eating 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of sausages, bacon, and ham daily makes it 18% more likely that you’ll get colorectal cancer. 50 grams is about 2 strips of bacon.

Processed meats include  bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami, corned beef, beef jerky, ham, canned meat, meat-based sauces, and other meat products that have extended shelf life due to smoking, curing, fermentation, or adding salt or other preservatives.

Further concerns for carnivores: IARC finds that even fresh red meat — beef, veal, pork*, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat — is “probably” carcinogenic, too. The risk of eating 50 grams of red meat daily is “mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.” American men eat twice that much, according to the North American Meat Institute.

*Note: Despite the National Pork Board’s ad campaign, nutritionally pork is not a “white meat.”

More:

“World Health Organization: Red and processed meats have a strong link to cancer,” Akshat Rathi, Deena Shanker, Quartz

“Bacon Declared a Carcinogen, World Mourns,” Natalie Shoemaker, Big Think

“Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says,” Allison Aubrey, NPR

“Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares,” Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post

“The WHO’s new warnings about bacon and cancer, explained,” Julia Belluz, Vox

“Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO,” BBC News

“IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat,” IARC press release

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Top photo (vending cart sign, Washington DC) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Airplane Poop and Public Health

August 16, 2015

Airplane Poop and Public Health

“Pooping on that 12 hour flight may be a public health service. Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark are siphoning off the sludge from international airline flights and using it to study the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

In a study in Scientific Reports, they break down their analysis of 18 different airplanes that arrived in Copenhagen from nine different cities around the world, looking for the presence of things like Salmonella and Clostridium difficile.

The team found that Salmonella was more prevalent in poop arriving from Southeast Asia, while the sludge from planes arriving from North America was more likely to contain C. difficile (a bacteria that causes a nasty drug-resistant infection). Planes arriving from Asia had higher rates of DNA from drug-resistant bacteria strains overall.”

— “Pooping on Airplanes Could Contribute to Public Health Research,” Shaunacy Ferro, Mental Floss

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Bobby Jindal: ‘Not the Time’ to Consider Gun Law Reform

July 27, 2015

Bobby Jindal: 'Not the Time' to Consider Gun Law Reform
On Friday Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) said that it is too soon after the mass shooting in a Lafayette movie theater to discuss gun control reform. By that logic it will never be a good time to talk about gun safety laws in Louisiana, since the rate of gun deaths in the Pelican State is the highest in the country. Discussion of rational policies to reduce firearms violence will always be preempted as citizens mourn Louisiana’s newest gunshot victims.

Come to think of it, that kind of neglect is perfectly consistent with the rest of Governor Jindal’s public health policy.

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