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Nanotechnology-what are the implications for public health? March 1, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Environmental Health, Global Health, Healthcare, Occupational Health.
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There are lots of products showing up on the market touting “nanotechnology” on the label.  The Project on Emerging Technologies has an online nanomaterials database for consumers which reveals there are thousands of “nano” products used in the electronics, automotive, cosmetic, and food and beverage industries. But what does nanotechnology mean and what are its advantages in all these applications? Are there any risks to health and the environment? (more…)


Antibiotic use in livestock contributes to MRSA’s menace February 22, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Environmental Health, Global Health, Occupational Health, Prevention.
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Recently, CBS’s Katie Couric highlighted a public health problem that keeps resurfacing —the use of antibiotics in livestock to promote growth and the link to antimicrobial resistance in humans.  The well-documented two-part story focused in part on farmers who have contracted life threatening infections such as MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) by working with chickens and pigs  dosed with antibiotics which have, in turn, become breeding grounds for super drug resistant bacteria.

MRSA is one of the most common types of antimicrobial resistant bacterial infections, but there are many others such as E Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, which are monitored by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These bacterial diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans by different types of exposures including physical contact, and in air, water, and food and are called zoonotic diseases. The report did not discuss the most common ways humans acquire MRSA, such as in hospital settings, or that a new type of MRSA called C-MRSA is increasingly being found in community settings such as athletic facilities.

According to the CBS report:

Drug resistant infections have sky-rocketed over the past two decades, killing an estimated 70,000 Americans last year alone. It’s an emerging health crisis that scientists say is caused not only by the overuse of antibiotics in humans, but in livestock as well. (more…)

Cadmium in jewelry: when will product quality finally outweigh a cheap price? January 28, 2010

Posted by Lindsey Realmuto in Environmental Health, Global Health, Occupational Health.
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This is not a time to be envious of all those young parents out there. Beyond the normal pressures of raising a child, parents nowadays have to worry about bisphenol-A in baby bottles, lead paint in toys, whether or not to eat fish while pregnant or breast-feeding, and now most recently, cadmium in jewelry. Cadmium? Really? I am referring to the latest safety notice to parents about cadmium in jewelry imported from China, reported by Justin Pritchard at the Associated Press.

Rescuers’ Mental Cries for Help February 2, 2009

Posted by Joy Lee in Occupational Health.
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In any disaster event, we tend to view victims as those people affected directly by the hazard, but we rarely think of the victims as the emergency responders of such events.  However, emergency responders often suffer severe mental stress after the event.  Emergency responders often undergo rigorous pressure and stress to rescue and protect the general public in catastrophic events, and they often forget about their own health during the event.  Unfortunately, emergency responder mental health is an issue that is most often overlooked, either deliberately or not, in the realm of public health and should be made a priority in emergency health services and medicine.