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Danish Government Proposes Ban On The Import And Sale Of Products That Contain 4 Phthalates


The Danish government has announced that they are submitting to the European Commission a proposed regulation that would ban the import and sale of products for indoor use which contain the phthalates DEHP, DBP, BBP and DIPB.  The draft regulation would also ban products that contain these phthalates and are expected to come in contact with skin or mucous membranes.


Once again a European Union member nation is demonstrating their commitment to protecting the health and safety of their residents.  Phthalates have been connected to infertility, developmental delays in children and other health issues.


You can read the draft proposal submitted by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency by following the link.





African American Women In Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C. Face HIV Infection Rates Similar To Women In Africa. New Study Shows Dramatic Rate Increase Of HIV Infections Among African American Women.


ABC News is running a story this morning regarding the release of a new study demonstrating that the HIV rate for African American women in many U.S. cities is similar to the rate for women in many African countries.


The cities that have these alarming rates are the following:


Baltimore

Atlanta

Raleigh-Durham

Washington D.C.

Newark

New York City


ABC News provides a quick overview of the study:


“The research included 2099 women ages 18 to 44 who had never had a positive HIV test. Eighty-eight percent of the study participants were black, 12 percent Latina. At the time of enrollment, researchers found that 32 women were infected with HIV but were unaware of their status.


Within one year of joining the study, 0.24 percent of the women tested positive for the disease. That rate is five times higher than the CDC's previous estimate of HIV rates in black American women.


The numbers are comparable to the HIV rates found in the general population in many sub-Saharan African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (0.28 percent) and Kenya (0.53 percent).”


Your read that right, HIV infection rates for African American women in Atlanta, New York and other cities are similar or more than the HIV infection rates in African nations.  Wow.  What else can you say but “wow”.  But the infection rates numbers are not the only part of this story.  Just take a look at the “Cohort Baseline Characteristics” from the study:


Median Age:
29 yrs
Annual Household Income <$10,000
44%
Education <High School Graduate
37%
Median Sex Partners (in previous 6 months)
2
Cocaine Use (monthly use prior 6 months)
17%
Binge Drinking (4 drinks at a time)
40%
Partner Binge Drinking
56%
Partner With Incarceration History
59%
Partner With Known HIV Infection
1%
HIV Status Of Last Sex Partner Known
41%
Anal Sex In Last 6 Months
38%
Condom Use With Last Vaginal Sex Partner
18%



We know many will see those “Cohort Baseline Characteristics” and say I don’t fit any of them.   In fact the ABC News story falls into this trap by focusing on the large 44% of women who earn less than $10,000 per year.  While that numbers demonstrates that a specific segment of poor women face a higher risk, it still leaves 66% of women who are infected that are making more than $10,000 per year.  That means even middle and higher income women are facing a large and growing threat of infection.  This is not just about being poor.  It is bigger than that.


It is simply amazing to us though that we continue to see study after study that demonstrates the epidemic that HIV is in the African American community but at the same time there is little to no discussions/actions being taken to combat it.  So the question we must ask ourselves is why is there little to no community action on HIV?


We have stressed our opinion many times that the primary culprit for the lack of action is the Black Church.  These so called spiritual leaders have spent the last few decades telling everyone that HIV/AIDS is punishment by God for those that “choose” to be gay.  These church leaders are responsible for creating a social environment in the community that lacks any compassion and openness on this serious health issue.  They have made HIV/AIDS such a stigma that individuals continue to live in chosen ignorance in the hope that they never have to face the news that they are infected.  It is this stigma and chosen ignorance that leads to statistics such as 41% of infected women not knowing the HIV status of their last sexual partner.


It is time that we join together and demand that these religious leaders back off their hate based crusade against homosexuality and realize that their actions are creating a serious public health crisis within the community.  We can no longer sit by and allow these so called “leaders” and “pillars of the community” to preach hatred from the pulpit.  There are real consequences for this continued campaign of hate and studies such as this demonstrate that.


We hope that our readers will share this story with family, friends and loved ones.  You can read the abstract of the study by following the link to the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections website.  You can read the ABC News story by following the link.


We close by thanking Dr. Sally Hodder and her research team for conducting and publishing their research.  It is information such as this that is necessary to stop this HIV epidemic from wiping out an entire generation.



Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Known As Statins Linked To Type 2 Diabetes And Memory Loss. FDA Announces New Warning Labels For All Statins.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a press release this morning regarding required labeling changes for prescription drugs widely used to treat high cholesterol.  These drugs known as statins, have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and memory loss in patients that have been using them.  The new FDA labeling requirements will provide patients with warnings about the risks of both.


The following products are included in this new labeling requirements:


Lipitor (atorvastatin)

Lescol (fluvastatin)

Mevacor (lovastatin)

Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release)

Livalo (pitavastatin)

Pravachol (pravastatin)

Crestor (rosuvastatin)

Zocor (simvastatin).


Combination products include:

Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release)

Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release)

Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe).


Many of us probably are or know someone who is on a prescription drug for high cholesterol.  Please review your prescription and if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact your physician to discuss your treatment plan.


You can read and share the FDA media release by following this link.



Campbell’s Soup Announces Plan To Phase Out Toxic BPA From Cans. Breast Cancer Fund Campaign Against BPA Demonstrates The Real Power Of Online Advocacy.


It’s not often that we get celebrate a victory, but we all should today.  Yesterday’s announcement by Breast Cancer Fund that Campbell’s Soup Company had committed to start phasing out the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in its can linings demonstrates that education and advocacy can lead to real change in fights against diseases such as breast cancer.


From the Breast Cancer Fund Press Release:


“Exposure to BPA, used to make the epoxy-resin linings of metal food cans, has been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Childhood exposure is of concern because this endocrine-disrupting chemical can affect children’s hormonal systems during development and set the stage for later-life diseases.


Last September the Breast Cancer Fund released a report that found BPA in canned food marketed to children; Campbell’s Disney Princess and Toy Story soups tested the highest. A November Breast Cancer Fund report found BPA in Campbell’s turkey gravy and cream of mushroom soup. Both reports, as well as the growing consumer pressure on Campbell’s to get BPA out of its products, are part of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Cans Not Cancer campaign.


“Campbell’s decision to move away from BPA is a victory for consumers, who have been demanding this change,” said Gretchen Lee Salter, Policy Manager at the Breast Cancer Fund. “To truly be an industry leader, the company now needs to fully disclose the timeline for the phase-out and the alternatives that will be used.”


In the last six months, more than 70,000 letters were sent to Campbell’s by supporters of the Cans Not Cancer campaign—including nearly 20,000 from the non-profit Healthy Child Healthy World, which for 20 years has been empowering parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.


“Parents want to be sure when they serve Campbell’s Soup to their kids that it is free of toxic chemicals that contribute to disease,” said Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World. “I commend Campbell’s for taking this first step—as well as the concerned parents and consumers who made their voices heard in the boardroom and at the checkout counter.””


We want to congratulate Breast Cancer Fund for this achievement.  We appreciate the staff and supporters of Breast Cancer Fund for their commitment on this issue.  Without their commitment to this issue we would not be seeing this type of announcement from Campbell's Soup.


You can read the entire press release by following the link to the Breast Cancer Fund website.




Europe Sees Significant Drop In Deaths From Cancer. Breast Cancer Deaths Drop 9% In 2012.


Here is a story we wish we could all see about America.  Researches in the European Union (EU) have published a report showing significant drops in the death rates associated with cancer.  One of the most significant drops came in the death rate associated with Breast Cancer.  In 2012 the EU breast cancer deaths dropped 9%.  Wow.


The researchers and physicians acknowledge that at the same time as this decline, diagnosis rates for breast cancer are increasing at a small amount but new treatments and early interventions have lead to the drop in deaths.


Now compare what is going on in the EU to what is happening in the United States.  Here is text from a report published by the American Cancer Society in October 2011. 


"A new report from the American Cancer Society finds that deaths from breast cancer in the United States continue to decline steadily. However, the decline has been faster for women who live in more affluent areas. Women from poor areas now have the highest rates of death from breast cancer.


“In general, progress in reducing breast cancer death rates is being seen across races/ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and across the U.S.,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. “However, not all women have benefitted equally. Poor women are now at greater risk for breast cancer death because of less access to screening and better treatments. This continued disparity is impeding real progress against breast cancer, and will require renewed efforts to ensure that all women have access to high-quality prevention, detection, and treatment services.”"


So why is the war against breast cancer working in Europe but not as well in the United States?  It is likely a combination of many things, but we believe one point is probably more important for this drop in cancer death rates.  That one issue is the fact that most nations in the EU are single payer health care systems.  That means that the governments are the health insurance and health care provider.  By being the provider of health insurance and health care, governments in Europe are more concerned about the financial costs of health care and take actions to “prevent” a health issue like breast cancer because it is “cheaper” to do that than it is to treat someone who has developed the disease/cancer.  This type of prevention thinking has caused EU member nations to be aggressive in taking on identified health risks such as toxic chemicals.  National governments such as the right of center French government have taken the lead in adopting laws to ban chemicals such as BPA from all food product containers.  It is actions such as these that will lead to a healthier population and continued drops in the deaths associated with health issues such as breast cancer.


While the European Union has been moving forward on prevention, the United States has continued to drag its feet on prevention.  Since we are a “free market” and for profit health care system, we have a medical system that is more concerned about profit than anything else.  Pharmaceuticals use this “free market” to manipulate consumers into purchasing high costs drugs.  In addition, the system only rewards hospitals and physicians for treating illness (surgeries, emergency room visits, etc.) and not keeping people healthy.  When you add to this “free market health care system” the growing number of people who lack any type of health insurance you see how obvious it is why we don’t have the same type of declining death rates as they do in Europe.


In addition to the problems associated with a profit driven health care system, we also have a government system that is so controlled by those health care profit makers that it is impossible to get simple regulations adopted by regulatory agencies that would help prevent disease.  The current debate over the regulation of BPA is a perfect example of how dysfunctional the regulatory system has become.  Although more and more scientific evidence is being published about the health dangers of exposure to BPA, we continue to see the lobbyists for the corporations who produce BPA using their influence to stop the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency from adopting any type of ban on the use of it in food containers (baby bottles, sippy cups, canned foods).


We appreciate the publication of these types of studies because it allows us to clearly see the differences between governments that continue to protect their residents from the dangers of toxins and our government that takes no actions at all.  If we are ever going to get to a point where Americans are healthy we will have to start thinking about how our for-profit health care system is broken and actually the cause of many of our illnesses.


You can read the abstract of the study by following the link to the Annals of Oncology.