What about apps in Google’s Play Store that track children?

Thousands of apps may be tracking the online activity of children in ways that violate US privacy laws, according to a recent survey of Android apps available on the Google Play store.

Using an “automatic evaluation of the privacy behaviors of Android apps,” a team of university researchers and computer scientists concluded that of 5,855 apps in the Play Store’s Designed for Families program, 28 percent “accessed sensitive data protected by Android permissions” and 73 percent of the applications “transmitted sensitive data over the internet.” Though the survey noted that simply collecting that information did not necessarily violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law limiting data collection on children under 13, “none of these apps attained verifiable parental consent” as required under the law since their automated tool was able to activate them.

Among the most concerning findings was that approximately 256 apps collected geolocation data, 107 shared the device owner’s email address, and 10 shared phone numbers.

1,100 shared persistent identifiers, which can be used for behavioral advertising techniques that are banned for use on children by COPPA. 2,281 transmitted Android Advertising IDs…in a method that could “completely negate” AAID privacy protections. That means those apps appear to be in violation of Google policy.

Do no harm, eh?

Another anti-vaccine excuse fades away

Children and adults with egg allergies do not need to avoid flu shots or take special precautions, and healthcare providers need not ask if patients are allergic to eggs before giving a flu shot, allergy experts said.

Updated practice guidelines from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) state that people with egg allergies should receive an annual flu shot and that no special precautions are required…

A joint ACAAI and AAAAI task force reviewed findings from recent studies involving thousands of patients with egg allergies, and those studies uniformly showed egg allergic patients to have a similar risk for flu shot reactions as people without egg allergies…

The studies showed no benefit to taking special precautions, such as pre-vaccine skin testing or stepwise challenge, in egg allergic children and adults, and John Kelso of the Scripps Clinic in San Diego said the risks associated with not being vaccinated are now clear.

“There are hundreds of thousands of influenza hospitalizations in the U.S. each year, and tens of thousands of deaths,” he said. “There has been a growing recognition that not vaccinating poses a special risk. The vast majority of egg allergies are in young children and young children are more susceptible to flu.”

You can say “amen” to another copout. If only it was that easy to rid public health questions of superstition and ignorance.

Shootings Now The Third Leading Cause of Death for U.S. Children


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❝ Few stories are more heartbreaking than those involving children who are injured or killed by gunshots. It isn’t hard to find them: In June alone, a 6-year-old accidentally shot and killed a 4-year-old in South Carolina, a father accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old daughter in Indiana and an 8-year-old Mississippi boy was accidentally shot in the chest. His grandparents drove him to the hospital, but he died 45 minutes later. Sadly, the list of child gun deaths goes on.

❝ Though we constantly see examples in the news, child gun injuries and deaths may be even more prevalent in the United States than we realized. A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics showed that an average of 5,790 children in the United States receive emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries each year, and around 21 percent of those injuries are unintentional. The study also found that an average of 1,297 children die annually from gun-related injuries, making guns the third-leading cause of death for children in America…The number is based on data taken from 2012–2014 for children up to the age of 17…

❝ …53 percent of the gun-related deaths were homicides, while 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional and 3 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes. Of the injuries, 71 percent were assault, 21 percent were unintentional, 5 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes and around 3 percent were self-inflicted.

❝ In 2010, 91 percent of the children killed by guns around the world were American, where, according to the data, 19 children die from or are treated for gunshot wounds each day.

RTFA for more terrible statistics, anecdotal information, description of how amoral our society has become. The right to arm yourself out of fear or hatred wholly supersedes any intelligent, informed discussion of rights in a free society. Including the right to protect the lives of children.

Over a million kids in the US have lead poisoning — We’re only treating half of them


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❝ We’ve long known that despite all our efforts to clean up lead, we have a serious problem with lead poisoning in American children — it’s an egregious and preventable public health issue that just won’t go away.

And it seems the problem is even worse than we thought. Researchers at the Public Health Institute reported…in the journal Pediatrics that the overall number of children with elevated blood lead levels as of 1999-2000 in the US was 1.2 million, or double what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported. (The number is likely even higher now, since testing rates have…declined since 2000.) These kids who are never tested or reported to the CDC also aren’t receiving treatment.

❝ Some states are doing much worse than others, according to the researchers. In the 11 states in dark blue on the map below, including Arizona and Florida, more than 80 percent of children with lead poisoning were not tested by their pediatricians or local health departments. For the other 28 states with data (in medium and light blue), anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of lead-poisoned children weren’t tested.

As for the 12 states in gray, researchers were unable to determine how many cases of lead poisoning were missed, because these states don’t share any data with the CDC…

Perish the thought these turd-brains Americans persist in electing and re-electing actually do something modern about healthcare legislation. Like make it uniform and nationwide. Require states to participate and provide information.

❝ What researchers have learned in recent years is that no level of lead is safe for children. Studies have even shown lead concentration in the blood as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter of blood (μg/dL) can lower IQ in children. And once children have blood lead levels of 5 μg/dL and above (what’s now considered lead poisoning), they can suffer severe neurological damage in the form of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

❝ How did the counting of lead-poisoned children get so bad? For one, testing for lead is not legally required in most of the US…And…public health departments aren’t asking if there’s missing data when they turn things over to the CDC…

❝ Civil engineers have estimated that overhauling America’s drinking water system and bringing it up to code will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, but if these investments aren’t made, we risk continuing to poison children with dangerous levels of lead.

Not that this is a priority for Congressional politicians whose single most pressing task — Republican or Democrat – is raising sufficient funds for re-election.

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.