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Airports in the United States: Are They Really Breastfeeding Friendly?

October 27, 2014 Comments off

Airports in the United States: Are They Really Breastfeeding Friendly?
Source: Breastfeeding Medicine

Introduction:
State and federal laws have been enacted to protect the mother’s right to breastfeed and provide breastmilk to her infant. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide hourly waged nursing mothers a private place other than a bathroom, shielded from view, free from intrusion. Minimum requirement for a lactation room would be providing a private space other than a bathroom. Workplace lactation accommodation laws are in place in 24 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. These requirements benefit the breast-pumping mother in an office, but what about the breast-pumping mother who travels? Of women with a child under a year, 55.8% are in the workforce. A significant barrier for working mothers to maintain breastfeeding is traveling, and they will need support from the workplace and the community. This study aimed to determine which airports offer the minimum requirements for a breast-pumping mother: private space other than a bathroom, with chair, table, and electrical outlet.

Study Design:
A phone survey was done with the customer service representative at 100 U.S. airports. Confirmatory follow-up was done via e-mail.

Results:
Of the respondents, 37% (n=37) reported having designated lactation rooms, 25% (n=25) considered the unisex/family restroom a lactation room, 8% (n=8) offer a space other than a bathroom with an electrical outlet, table, and chair, and 62% (n=62) answered yes to being breastfeeding friendly.

Conclusions:
Only 8% of the airports surveyed provided the minimum requirements for a lactation room. However 62% stated they were breastfeeding friendly. Airports need to be educated as to the minimum requirements for a lactation room.

Note: Full text free online until November 27, 2014.

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Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA)

October 27, 2014 Comments off

Holding Thermal Receipt Paper and Eating Food after Using Hand Sanitizer Results in High Serum Bioactive and Urine Total Levels of Bisphenol A (BPA)
Source: PLoS ONE

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting environmental contaminant used in a wide variety of products, and BPA metabolites are found in almost everyone’s urine, suggesting widespread exposure from multiple sources. Regulatory agencies estimate that virtually all BPA exposure is from food and beverage packaging. However, free BPA is applied to the outer layer of thermal receipt paper present in very high (~20 mg BPA/g paper) quantities as a print developer. Not taken into account when considering thermal paper as a source of BPA exposure is that some commonly used hand sanitizers, as well as other skin care products, contain mixtures of dermal penetration enhancing chemicals that can increase by up to 100 fold the dermal absorption of lipophilic compounds such as BPA. We found that when men and women held thermal receipt paper immediately after using a hand sanitizer with penetration enhancing chemicals, significant free BPA was transferred to their hands and then to French fries that were eaten, and the combination of dermal and oral BPA absorption led to a rapid and dramatic average maximum increase (Cmax) in unconjugated (bioactive) BPA of ~7 ng/mL in serum and ~20 µg total BPA/g creatinine in urine within 90 min. The default method used by regulatory agencies to test for hazards posed by chemicals is intra-gastric gavage. For BPA this approach results in less than 1% of the administered dose being bioavailable in blood. It also ignores dermal absorption as well as sublingual absorption in the mouth that both bypass first-pass liver metabolism. The elevated levels of BPA that we observed due to holding thermal paper after using a product containing dermal penetration enhancing chemicals have been related to an increased risk for a wide range of developmental abnormalities as well as diseases in adults.

Ebola Virus Disease: Information for U.S. Healthcare Workers

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Ebola Virus Disease: Information for U.S. Healthcare Workers
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

National Call on Preparing Nurses to Safely Care for Patient with Ebola recording and transcript, plus information from the CDC, curated by CDC experts.

Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2013–14 School Year

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2013–14 School Year
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

State and local vaccination requirements for school entry are implemented to maintain high vaccination coverage and protect schoolchildren from vaccine-preventable diseases (1). Each year, to assess state and national vaccination coverage and exemption levels among kindergartners, CDC analyzes school vaccination data collected by federally funded state, local, and territorial immunization programs. This report describes vaccination coverage in 49 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and vaccination exemption rates in 46 states and DC for children enrolled in kindergarten during the 2013–14 school year. Median vaccination coverage was 94.7% for 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; 95.0% for varying local requirements for diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine; and 93.3% for 2 doses of varicella vaccine among those states with a 2-dose requirement. The median total exemption rate was 1.8%. High exemption levels and suboptimal vaccination coverage leave children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Although vaccination coverage among kindergartners for the majority of reporting states was at or near the 95% national Healthy People 2020 targets for 4 doses of DTaP, 2 doses of MMR, and 2 doses of varicella vaccine (2), low vaccination coverage and high exemption levels can cluster within communities.* Immunization programs might have access to school vaccination coverage and exemption rates at a local level for counties, school districts, or schools that can identify areas where children are more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Health promotion efforts in these local areas can be used to help parents understand the risks for vaccine-preventable diseases and the protection that vaccinations provide to their children.

CRS — Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (September 26, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to recover oil and natural gas from underground low permeability rock formations. Its use along with horizontal drilling has been responsible for an increase in estimated U.S. oil and natural gas reserves. Hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas production activities have been controversial because of their potential effects on public health and the environment. Several environmental statutes have implications for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing by the federal government and states.

American Housing Survey: 2013 Detailed Tables

October 20, 2014 Comments off

American Housing Survey: 2013 Detailed Tables
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The first findings from the 2013 American Housing Survey are now available in the form of dozens of detailed tables and a microdata file. The American Housing Survey is conducted biennially and, as in past years, provides current national-level information on a wide range of housing subjects. Topics unique to this survey include characteristics and physical condition of the nation’s housing units, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, and home improvement activities. Specific examples include the presence of appliances, respondents’ rating of their homes on a scale of 1 to 10, and the average cost of kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

Topics new to the American Housing Survey this year are disaster planning and emergency preparedness, public transportation, household involvement in neighborhood and community activities, and the prevalence of “doubled-up” households, such as those with an adult child living at home. Specific examples include having an adequate food or water supply in case of emergency, key amenities accessible via public transportation and neighbors willing to help one another.

Vital Signs: Health Burden and Medical Costs of Nonfatal Injuries to Motor Vehicle Occupants — United States, 2012

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Health Burden and Medical Costs of Nonfatal Injuries to Motor Vehicle Occupants — United States, 2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Background:
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The purpose of this study was to describe the current health burden and medical and work loss costs of nonfatal crash injuries among vehicle occupants in the United States.

Methods:
CDC analyzed data on emergency department (ED) visits resulting from nonfatal crash injuries among vehicle occupants in 2012 using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Inpatient Sample (HCUP-NIS). The number and rate of all ED visits for the treatment of crash injuries that resulted in the patient being released and the number and rate of hospitalizations for the treatment of crash injuries were estimated, as were the associated number of hospital days and lifetime medical and work loss costs.

Results:
In 2012, an estimated 2,519,471 ED visits resulted from nonfatal crash injuries, with an estimated lifetime medical cost of $18.4 billion (2012 U.S. dollars). Approximately 7.5% of these visits resulted in hospitalizations that required an estimated 1,057,465 hospital days in 2012.

Conclusions:
Nonfatal crash injuries occur frequently and result in substantial costs to individuals, employers, and society. For each motor vehicle crash death in 2012, eight persons were hospitalized, and 100 were treated and released from the ED.

Implications for Public Health:
Public health practices and laws, such as primary seat belt laws, child passenger restraint laws, ignition interlocks to prevent alcohol impaired driving, sobriety checkpoints, and graduated driver licensing systems have demonstrated effectiveness for reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries. They might also substantially reduce associated ED visits, hospitalizations, and medical costs.

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