Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
An elementary school in Nashua, New Hampshire has banned the classic recess game of tag, citing some injuries that have happened at the school after kids have tagged each other too forcefully. More from Reuters:
“The other issue with tag is that students are running and not paying attention to where they are going,” Patricia Beaulieu, principal of the Charlotte Avenue Elementary School in Nashua, said in a notice on the school’s website.
The action, which followed several playground injuries attributed to the game, was criticized by some parents.
“Tag is one of the oldest playground games anywhere,” Bill Chisholm, 43, told Nashua’s Telegraph newspaper. “To ban tag is just ridiculous.”
Plus: Find great educational toys at Shop Parents, or use our free Activity Finder for ideas on how to keep your kids active and entertained.
Image: Empty playground swings, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
The chemical compound called bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in many plastics and food can linings, has been linked to a heightened miscarriage risk in women who struggled to conceive or have experienced repeated miscarriages. The finding comes from a new study presented this week to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. More from The Associated Press:
The work is not nearly enough to prove a link, but it adds to ‘‘the biological plausibility’’ that BPA might affect fertility and other aspects of health, said Dr. Linda Giudice, a California biochemist who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The study was to be presented Monday at the group’s annual conference in Boston. Last month, ASRM and an obstetricians group urged more attention to environmental chemicals and their potential hazards for pregnant women.
BPA, short for bisphenol-A, and certain other environmental chemicals can have very weak, hormone-like effects. Tests show BPA in nearly everyone’s urine, though the chemical has been removed from baby bottles and many reusable drink containers in recent years. The federal Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe as used now in other food containers.
Most miscarriages are due to egg or chromosome problems, and a study in mice suggested BPA might influence that risk, said Dr. Ruth Lathi, a Stanford University reproductive endocrinologist.
With a federal grant, she and other researchers studied 115 newly pregnant women with a history of infertility or miscarriage; 68 wound up having miscarriages and 47 had live births.
Researchers say it is virtually impossible to avoid exposure to BPA completely. The AP offers some tips on how to minimize exposure:
To minimize BPA exposure, avoid cooking or warming food in plastic because heat helps the chemical leak out, she said. Don’t leave water bottles in the sun, limit use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contain BPA.
Image: Food can, via Shutterstock
Get our Everything Pregnancy blogger’s take on the link between BPA and your miscarriage risk here.
Add a Comment
Monday, October 14th, 2013
Baltic amber teething necklaces, which have been in high demand among fashion-conscious moms since model Gisele Bündchen posted a photo last summer of one of the necklaces on her baby, may pose a serious choking hazard, according to a group of bloggers and doctors who are working to get the message out about the necklaces’ dangers. More from The New York Times:
Baltic amber necklaces, as they are known, have become popular as an alternative treatment to ease teething pain in infants and toddlers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and, increasingly, the United States. Retailers claim that when warmed by the baby’s body temperature, the amber releases a pain-relieving substance that is then absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.
But there is no evidence to back up these claims, and a larger concern is the significant suffocation hazard posed by the teething necklaces, particularly if children are left unattended.
“The risk is two-fold — strangulation and choking,” said Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in Kansas City, Mo., who has blogged about the dangers of amber necklaces. “And that’s not only for these teething necklaces. In general practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend that infants wear any jewelry.”
In 2010, Health Canada, the country’s federal department of public health, determined that the necklaces were enough of an issue to warrant a consumer product safety warning that highlighted the strangulation risk. France and Switzerland have banned sale of the necklaces in pharmacies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under a year old and among the top five causes of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
Vendors of Baltic amber necklaces commonly advertise that the necklaces are safe because the string is knotted between each individual bead, so if the necklace breaks only one piece will fall off. But one loose bead is enough for a child to choke on, said Dr. Isabelle Claudet, head of the pediatric emergency department at Children’s Hospital in Toulouse, France. And because the necklaces are produced and sold by smaller vendors, the lack of manufacturing standards makes it impossible to guarantee that any safety clasps will come apart as intended if the necklace becomes caught on anything, increasing the potential for strangulation.
Image: Amber beaded jewelry, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Thursday, October 10th, 2013
A group of Malibu, California teachers are alleging that a number of chronic health issues they’re suffering from, including asthma and migraine headaches, are the result of poor building conditions at their schools. More from CNN.com:
A group of [high school junior Nicholas] Wiseman’s teachers at Malibu High School sent a letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s risk manager on October 4, complaining about a variety of illnesses. They suspect their working environment is at fault, but administrators say they are still investigating, and some experts are skeptical.
“At this point, there is nothing to let people know, other than employees had health concerns,” Sandra Lyon, the district superintendent, told CNN Newsource affiliate KCAL/KCBS. “We don’t have any evidence whatsoever that there is any contaminant, any issue in or around that building.”
The letter says the teachers “are extremely concerned about their health and safety.” Three teachers at the school have been diagnosed with stage 1 thyroid cancer in the past six months. Some seven teachers complained about migraines. The letter says the teachers who are sick work primarily in the main middle school building (the school services grades 6 through 12), the music and drama building, the visual arts building and in the school’s theater.
When one teacher moved to another building, her migraines got better, the letter states.
Another teacher who moved from one of the suspected buildings stopped getting a rash she’d been suffering from for four years.
The letter publicly requests environmental tests be done at the school and asks the district to make those test results public.
Image: Teacher with a headache, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Nearly 300 people in 18 states have been sickened by a salmonella bacteria that has been traced back to contaminated chicken packaged by Foster Farms, according to an alert released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Salmonella poisoning is especially dangerous for people with compromised immune systems and young infants. More from The Boston Globe:
While some USDA employees have been furloughed due to the partial government shutdown, food safety inspectors at beef and poultry plants are still conducting routine inspections and investigating illness outbreaks.
Consumers can identify raw Foster Farm chicken products associated with the outbreak by looking for the following numbers on the package: P6137, P6137A, and P7632.
The products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington State, the USDA said, but no recall has been issued because the food safety service has been “unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period.”
Instead, consumers should remember to handle all raw meat and poultry in a safe manner, cooking chicken thoroughly until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F. They should also avoid cross contamination of raw chicken juices with other foods like fresh produce that won’t be cooked before consuming; for example, they should use separate cutting boards for preparing these foods.
Another tip recommended by food safety scientists: Don’t wash raw poultry before preparing it since that can foster the spread of bacteria.
“If you wash it, you’re more likely to spray bacteria all over the kitchen and yourself,” said Drexel University food safety researcher Dr. Jennifer Quinlan in a new video campaign she launched to get people to stop rinsing raw chicken.
Image: Raw chicken, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment