Breathe deep and drink up!

Thanks, gocomics.org

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Trump’s EPA doesn’t care about protecting kids from lead paint


Noah Berger/Reuters

❝ Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems.

The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility for environmental and health protection to state and local governments.

Old housing stock is the biggest risk for lead exposure — and the EPA estimates that 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint.

❝ Environmental groups said the elimination of the two programs, which are focused on training workers in the safe removal of lead-based paint and public education about its risks, would make it harder for the EPA to address the environmental hazard…

❝ Lead is a potent neurotoxin, and particularly harmful to children and the elderly. Its dangers in gasoline, paint and drinking water have been scientifically documented over many decades, which has led to stronger regulatory protections.

Trump and his cohort in the Republican Party simply don’t give a damn about what happens to working class families. They belong to the 1% class. They owe their peronal political budgets to the 1% class. Establishment conservatives of either party consider the 1% class the only power worth listening to, worth emulating.

The rest of us – and our families – can fend for ourselves as best we can. Our elected officials bear no responsibility for the well-being of the nation.

Outbreak of extremely dangerous strain of E. coli linked to SoyNut butters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 23 people in nine states had been infected as of March 21 with a particularly dangerous strain of E. coli linked to I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butters and Granola products. Twenty of the reported victims are younger than 18, and 10 have been hospitalized. Seven have developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome…

According to the company’s announcement, which is posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s website, I.M. Healthy products from SoyNut Butter Co. in Glenview, Illinois, were distributed to child care centers and schools in multiple states. The CDC reports that four of those sickened attended centers where the products were served.

This outbreak is particularly alarming as young children exposed to E. coli are more likely to develop severe illness and HUS than are healthy adults, who can often recover relatively quickly. Children have less-developed immune systems with a limited ability to fight infections. In addition, children’s lower body weight reduces the amount of a pathogen needed to cause illness. There are many short-and long-term health consequences that can develop from infection with E. coli…and even death.

Please be careful out there, folks.

Pregnant women + insecticide exposure = kids with behavioral problems

❝ Young children whose mothers were exposed to pyrethroid insecticides while pregnant showed increased rates of behavioral difficulties, a small retrospective French cohort study found.

❝ After adjusting for certain potential confounders, there was a positive association between high prenatal concentrations in maternal urine of certain neurotoxic chemicals found in insecticides, on one hand, and on the other, internalizing behavioral difficulties at age 6 in offspring, reported Jean-François Viel…and colleagues.

Moreover, there was a positive association between high concentrations of certain chemicals in children’s urine and externalizing behavioral difficulties at the same age…

❝ Pyrethroids are a class of insecticides that were designed because of concerns about organophosphate insecticides — with pyrethroids “purportedly a safer alternative for humans and the environment.”

The authors had previously used the PELAGIE mother-child cohort to examine prenatal and childhood exposure to pyrethroid insecticides and neurocognitive abilities. They found a link between childhood exposure and poorer neurocognitive abilities, but there was no association between prenatal exposure and neurocognitive abilities in objective testing…

❝ The pyrethroid metabolite trans-dimethylcyclopronane carboxylic acid was found in nearly all mothers (99.9%) and children (96.5%), followed by cis-dibromonovinyl at 68.3% of mothers and 85.2% of children.

But it was high concentrations of prenatal cis-DCCA that were associated with internalizing difficulties in children, and high concentrations of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid in children that were linked with externalizing difficulties.

❝ The authors also found that there was a more than twofold increased risk of abnormal or borderline social behavior associated with children who had the highest 3-PBA levels…

They concluded that the results, along with the prior study that linked pyrethroid insecticides with cognitive disabilities, support a “potential risk to neurodevelopment from pyrethroid insecticides,” and that remediating the potential causes of these neurodevelopmental deficits is “of paramount public health importance.”

Yes, doctors aren’t always the most entertaining authors. Even when they discover that the latest solution to endangering human life and living – from chemicals that increase agricultural profits – seems to have produced a whole new batch of dangers.

After the fact, of course. Everything previously approved in tidy political fashion. Satisfying farmers and agri-chemical producers alike.

Millennials are moving less than preceding generations


How can you tolerate missing out on this?

Americans are moving at the lowest rate on record, and recently released Census Bureau data show that a primary reason is that Millennials are moving significantly less than earlier generations of young adults.

In 2016, only 20% of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds reported having lived at a different address one year earlier. One-year migration rates were much higher for older generations when they were the same age. For example, when members of the Silent Generation were ages 25 to 35 back in 1963, 26% reported moving within the prior year. And in 2000, when those in Generation X were the age that older Millennials are today, 26% of them reported having moved in the previous year…

It may seem counterintuitive that Millennials would be contributing to a trend toward less geographic mobility. After all, according to Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data, they are less likely than earlier generations to have three things that tend to be impediments to moving for a young adult:

A spouse…A house…A child…So, if Millennials are less hampered by spouses, houses and kids, why are they moving less than previous generations did at their age?

Labor market opportunities may be a factor. Millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession in terms of job-holding and wages. For many young adults who moved in the past year, job opportunities were a prime motivation for moving, and the modest jobs recovery may not be providing the impetus Millennials need.

RTFA. Interesting, provoking. To my mind – which still thinks it’s 26 years old and keys in on non-conformity to cultural traits and standards stuck into the past – all mostly positive developments.

Sugar pills work as well as leading prescribed drugs on juvenile migraine — and no side effects

❝ Sugar pills worked as well at preventing kids’ migraines as two commonly used headache medicines, but had fewer side effects, in a study that may lead doctors to rethink how they treat a common ailment in children and teens.

It’s the first rigorous head-to-head test in kids of two generic prescription drugs also used for adults’ migraines: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and amitriptyline, an anti-depressant. The idea was to see if either drug could reduce by half the number of days kids had migraines over a month’s time. Both drugs worked that well — but so did placebo sugar pills.

❝ The study was released online Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development paid for the research.

“The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement,” said Dr. Leon Epstein…He said it should lead neurologists to rely on other prevention strategies; he advises lifestyle changes including getting more sleep and reducing stress, which he said can help prevent migraines in teen patients…

❝ Side effects from the drugs were common, including fatigue, dry mouth and forgetfulness. Almost one-third of kids on topiramate also had tingling sensations in their hands, arms, legs or feet. There was one suicide attempt in the topiramate group, another known side-effect of that drug.

The side effects were not unexpected, but given the risks, the results suggest the drugs shouldn’t be “first-line prevention treatments” for kids’ migraines, study author Scott Powers said.

Sad commentary on much of American medicine: inadequate testing to determine effectiveness – lax IMHO. Drug manufacturers are essentially focused on achieving at least a minimal positive effect – while not killing the patient – and providing the highest possible profit margin.

Save the day

It was a big deal in the neighborhood where I grew up – to be a second generation American. My mom and dad, all their brothers and sisters, were the first generation in their respective families to be born in the USA.

It’s a shame how many Americans have forgotten what a good feeling that was. How it was available to all.

Ever wonder how many asthma attacks are caused by the oil and gas industry?


AP/Carlos Osorio

❝ New analysis from the Clean Air Task Force shows that by 2025 America’s children will experience 750,000 asthma attacks each summer that will be directly attributable to the oil and gas industry.

The report, Gasping for Breath, is the first to quantify the effects of smog caused by oil and gas production and distribution. The authors used industry data submitted to the EPA’s National Emissions Inventory, particularly looking at methane and volatile organic compounds, which can interact to create smog. This chemical reaction is facilitated by ultraviolet rays and heat — which is why smog is a bigger problem in the summer than the winter.

VOCs, which include gasoline, benzene, and formaldehyde, are particularly concerning. Not only are they often heavier than air, allowing them to pool in low-lying areas, where people live and breath — many VOCs are known carcinogens.

❝ While the report looks specifically at the year 2025, when most currently proposed regulation is expected to be fully in effect, the level of impact is roughly the same today, according to Lesley Fleischman, the report’s lead author. That’s because most of the facilities expected to be in production in nine years are already being used.

“There is reason to think that the impact today is on the same scale,” Lesley Fleischman, the report’s lead author said. “The vast majority of emissions are from existing sources.”

Meanwhile, oil and gas production continues to grow

Every major organization associated with the producers of oil and gas – of course – rejects plans to reduce this crap getting into the air we breathe. Profits are more important than people. Especially in one of the oldest and most powerful extractive industries in the United States.

One more reason not only to holler at your Congress-critter to support doing something about the problem; but, make certain they’re not taking money from the industry they should be trying to regulate. For our health and safety.

Children forced to be their own attorneys in immigration courts

After a long, scary trek through three countries to escape the gang violence in El Salvador, a 15-year-old boy found himself scared again a few months back, this time in a federal immigration court here. There was an immigration judge in front of him and a federal prosecutor to his right. But there was no one helping him understand the charges against him.

“I was afraid I was going to make a mistake,” the boy said in Spanish from his uncle’s living room, in a modest cinder-block house on the south side of this city. “When the judge asked me questions, I just shook my head yes and no. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing.”

Every week in immigration courts around the country, thousands of children act as their own lawyers, pleading for asylum or other type of relief in a legal system they do not understand.

Suspected killers, kidnappers and others facing federal felony charges, no matter their ages, are entitled to court-appointed lawyers if they cannot afford them. But children accused of violating immigration laws, a civil offense, do not have the same right. Immigration court is, in fact, the only court in the United States where the government has no obligation to provide lawyers for poor children and adults, legal experts say…

Having a lawyer makes a difference. Between October 2004 and June of this year, more than half the children who did not have lawyers were deported. Only one in 10 children who had legal representation were sent back…

Ever get a chance, ask the Deportment of so-called Justice why they insist on defending regulations promulgated by pimp politicians instead of working for justice for the needy?

Ask one of your elected representatives in Congress. You may have to explain the question.