Insight News

Thursday
Oct 30th

Health

HIV-positive former inmates face new obstacles in society

Life isn't easy for African American men and women re-entering society after incarceration, but the prevalence of HIV in the Black community creates a new set of challenges.  Many former inmates may find themselves at an increased risk of contracting HIV once they leave prison, and those who are already infected often have difficulty finding sufficient medical and emotional resources on the outside.
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Formaldehyde in hair-smoothing products

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health are warning hair salon owners and their customers about certain hair-smoothing products—sometimes referred to as keratin treatments—that may contain formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can present a health hazard if workers or customers are exposed. It can irritate the eyes, nose, and skin; increase the risk of asthma and/or allergic reactions; and is linked to an increased risk of some types of cancer.
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Avoid temporary tattoos with ‘black henna’ or ‘pre-mixed henna’

Avoid temporary tattoos with ‘black henna’ or ‘pre-mixed henna’Dear EarthTalk: My daughter loves those press-on tattoos, and they’re frequently given out at birthday parties and other events. But I’ve noticed the labels say they’re only for ages three and up. Are they safe? If not, are there alternatives?  -- Debra Jones, Lansing, MI

For the most part, so-called temporary tattoos are safe for kids and grown-ups alike, even if they do contain a long list of scary sounding ingredients including resins, polymers, varnishes and dyes. But if they are sold legitimately in the U.S., their ingredients have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FSA) as cosmetics, meaning the agency has found them to be safe for “direct dermal contact.” The FDA has received reports of minor skin irritation including redness and swelling, but such cases have been deemed “child specific” and were not widespread enough to warrant general warnings to the public. 


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Our broken global food system

Our broken global food systemDear EarthTalk: I understand a recent government report concluded that our global food system is in deep trouble, that roughly two billion people are hungry or undernourished while another billion are over consuming to the point of obesity. What’s going on?     -- Ellie Francoeur, Baton Rouge, LA

The report in question, the Global Farming & Futures Report, synthesized findings collected from more than 400 scientists spanning 34 countries, and was published in January 2011 by the British government’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills. Its troubling bottom line conclusion is that the world’s existing food system is failing half of the people on the planet.
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EPA regulates cleaning products

EPA regulates cleaning productsDear EarthTalk: Why don’t cleaning products have to list their ingredients, and are these products tested for what they might do to your health?  -- Patricia Greenville, Bethel, CT

Since cleaning products aren’t food, beverages or drugs meant to be ingested, they aren’t regulated, per se, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, makers are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list ingredients that are active disinfectants or potentially harmful. Otherwise, they usually keep their other ingredients secret, presumably so competitors can’t copy their formulas.
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Oakdale event seeks to uplift diabetes patients

March 10, 2011 Mark Stesin, MD and Christopher Schoonover, MD of Oakdale Medical Center held their 3rd Annual Diabetes Patient Appreciation event, which was filled with lots of helpful information and supplies to make each and every diabetic patient’s life just a little easier. “I feel my patients need to be educated of the current health methods,” said Stesin who has one of the largest endocrinology practices in the region. He and his partner Dr. Schoonover, along with Medtronic, gave their patients the chance to find out ways to better manage their health. The public education event took a look into a disease that currently affects more than 200,000 Minnesotans and an estimated 25 million people nationwide, according to the CDC.
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Being screened saves lives

Colon cancer has hid in the shadows of other cancers because people are too embarrassed to openly discuss the disease because it deals with part of the body that the general public is uncomfortable talking about. Sadly, many individuals suffer needlessly. Understanding risk factors, symptoms, and screening options will not only help in avoiding the disease, but could mean the difference between life and death.
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