Insight News

Monday
Sep 01st

Health

Health reform makes healthcare a civil right in America

ATLANTA—When health reform was signed into law, Vice President Joe Biden was ridiculed for his use of an off-color adjective in describing the legislation to President Obama.  But lost in the rhetorical battle over health reform is the fact that Mr. Biden’s words were accurate: This is a big deal!

By getting the landmark legislation enacted, President Obama has transformed his presidency and ushered in fundamental changes to America’s healthcare system, changes that will have a profound impact on millions of African Americans and other people of color.   Lack of health insurance is a factor in one of the biggest inequities in American society – the health disparities that prematurely end lives and cause undue pain and suffering in minority communities across the country.    
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Fremont Community Clinics celebrates 40th Anniversary with a name change

Fremont Community Clinics celebrates 40th Anniversary with a name changeAs Fremont Community Clinics celebrates its 40th Anniversary, it’s also looking to the future with a change of the organization name to Neighborhood HealthSource. The change was announced recently at Fremont’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Target Field. The three clinic names will remain the same and the focus will continue to be on the vital services each provides to its surrounding neighborhoods.

According to Executive Director Steve Knutson, “Fremont is changing its organization name to better reflect what it provides, not just the high quality medical services at our clinics, but also through various outreach programs in the communities and partnerships with other local non-profits and service providers to improve the health in our neighborhoods.”
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(Earth Talk) Toxic flea collars

(Earth Talk) Toxic flea collarsDear EarthTalk: I’m told that, despite improvements in recent years, pesticides in flea collars are still harmful to pets and humans. Are there ways to minimize fleas without resorting to chemical concoctions? And is anything being done to ban these dangerous products from store shelves?
-- Nancy Trouffant, Lancaster, PA


Americans spend some $1 billion each year on products designed to combat fleas. Many of these products do their jobs handsomely, but two of the most egregious chemicals widely used in flea collars, tetrachlorvinphos and propoxur, have been shown to cause damage to our brains and nervous systems, and are known human carcinogens. Residues containing these chemicals can stay on a pet’s fur—and whatever he or she rubs up against, including your rugs, furniture and children—for weeks on end.
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(Earth Talk) Atrazine in drinking water

(Earth Talk) Atrazine in drinking waterDear EarthTalk: I understand there’s an issue with the herbicide atrazine showing up in dangerous quantities in drinking water, mostly throughout the central U.S. Why is this happening and what’s being done about it? -- Marcus Gerde, Spokane, WA

Atrazine is an herbicide that is widely used across the U.S. and elsewhere to control both broadleaf and grassy weeds in large-scale agricultural operations growing corn, sorghum, sugar cane and other foods. While its use is credited with increasing agricultural yields by as much as six percent, there is a dark side. The nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that atrazine exposure has been shown to impair the reproductive systems of amphibians and mammals, and has been linked to cancer in both laboratory animals and humans. Male frogs exposed to minute doses of atrazine can develop female sex characteristics, including hermaphroditism and the presence of eggs in the testes. Researchers suspect that these effects are amplified when atrazine and other harmful agricultural chemicals are employed together.

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Childhood Obesity task force unveils action plan:

Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation
Cabinet Members and Administration Officials Address Childhood Obesity

Report available at www.LetsMove.gov

First Lady Michelle Obama Tuesday joined Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes and members of the Childhood Obesity Task Force to unveil the Task Force action plan: Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation.  In conjunction with the release of the action plan, Cabinet Members and Administration Officials announced events across the country to highlight the importance of addressing childhood obesity. 

“For the first time, the nation will have goals, benchmarks, and measureable outcomes that will help us tackle the childhood obesity epidemic one child, one family, and one community at a time,” Obama said.  “We want to marshal every resource – public and private sector, mayors and governors, parents and educators, business owners and health care providers, coaches and athletes – to ensure that we are providing each and every child the happy, healthy future they deserve.”
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The importance of pre-natal care

In the United States, prematurity/low birth weight is the second leading cause of all infant deaths during the first year of life.

According to the Office of Minority Health, during 2000-2002 in the United States, African American mothers were nearly 2.5 times as likely as non-Hispanic white mothers to begin prenatal care in the third trimester, or not receive prenatal care at all.

As a result, preterm birth rates were highest for Black infants (17.6 percent) than other minorities. African American infants were over four times as likely to die from causes related to low birth weight, compared to non-Hispanic white infants.

Prenatal care is important in making sure you and your baby stay healthy throughout pregnancy and the birth of your child.

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(Earth Talk) Where can I find household cleaners that were not animal tested?

(Earth Talk) Where can I find household cleaners that were not animal tested?Dear EarthTalk: I am very interested in purchasing household cleaners whose ingredients and final product are not tested on animals. Where do I look? --- Debbie Reek, via e-mail

According to most animal advocates, the fact that manufacturers of household cleaners still use animals to test the toxicity of their products is not only inhumane—why should innocent animals have to suffer and die so we can get our floors a little cleaner?—but also illogical, as modern lab tests not involving living creatures can discern more practical information faster and for less money. Another problem with animal testing is that its findings don’t always successfully predict real-world human outcomes.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), for instance, animal tests on rats and rabbits over several decades “failed to predict the birth defect-causing properties of PCBs, industrial solvents and many drugs, while cancer tests in rats and mice failed to detect the hazards of asbestos, benzene, cigarette smoke, and many other substances.” The group blames these shortcomings of animal testing for “delaying consumer and worker protection measures by decades in some cases.”
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