Monday, June 22, 2009

Health Headlines - June 22

Calif regulators find pot smoke causes cancer

Marijuana smoke has joined tobacco smoke and hundreds of other chemicals on a list of substances California regulators say cause cancer.

The ruling Friday by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment likely will force pot shops with 10 or more employees to post warnings. Final guidelines are expected by the time warning requirements take effect in a year.

The listing only applies to marijuana smoke, not the plant itself.

Spokesman Sam Delson says the state agency found marijuana smoke contains 33 of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco smoke.


UN: World hunger reaches 1 billion mark

The global financial meltdown has pushed the ranks of the world's hungry to a record 1 billion, a grim milestone that poses a threat to peace and security, U.N. food officials said.

Because of war, drought, political instability, high food prices and poverty, hunger now affects one in six people, by the United Nations' estimate.

The financial meltdown has compounded the crisis in what the head of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization called a "devastating combination for the world's most vulnerable."

Compared with last year, there are 100 million more people who are hungry, meaning they consume fewer than 1,800 calories a day, the agency said.


AP: Conn. officials were warned about attack chimp

Connecticut officials were repeatedly warned about the dangers posed by a chimpanzee who later mauled and blinded a woman and were urged — more than three years before the attack — to take action, but failed to do so, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

The 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis attacked Charla Nash of Stamford in February, ripping off her hands, nose, lips and eyelids. She has been hospitalized for months at the Cleveland Clinic, where her condition late last week was listed as stable.

The state's response could affect a high-stakes lawsuit the victim's family filed against the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold of Stamford, seeking $50 million in damages. Attorneys are weighing whether to sue others as well, but declined to comment further.


US swine flu cases now exceed 21,000; 87 deaths

The national count of swine flu cases has risen to 21,449 cases and the number of deaths have nearly doubled to 87.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the number of confirmed and probable cases Monday morning. The tally is up from the last week's count of 18,000 cases and 44 deaths.

Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas have had the most reported illnesses, and the Illinois count rose more than 500 since the last report. But CDC officials say much of the most recent flu activity has been in the Northeast. A quarter of the new deaths were in New York.


Nestle recalls all refrigerated Toll House dough

Federal authorities are investigating a new national outbreak of a bacteria-triggered illness, this time related to a sweet treat treasured by the heartbroken and children-at-heart — packaged raw cookie dough.

The federal Centers for Disease Control said its preliminary investigation shows "a strong association" between eating raw refrigerated cookie dough made by Nestle and the illnesses of 65 people in 29 states whose lab results have turned up E. coli bacteria since March.

About 25 of those people have been hospitalized, but no one has died. E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure.

Nestle USA voluntarily recalled all of its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised consumers to throw away any Nestle Toll House cookie dough products in their homes and asked retailers, restaurateurs and other food service operations not to sell or serve any of the recalled products.

Customers also can return any recalled product where they bought it for a full refund. The recall does not affect other Toll House products, including ice cream that contains raw Toll House dough.

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