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U.S. health systems not ready for catastrophes: report
The report recommends a systems-based approach to allocating resources and delivering care during catastrophic events. It also provides the organizations and agencies involved in disaster planning and response with tools and guidelines to help them identify their core functions during a major disaster, the release said.
Health Professionals Organize to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Worldwide:
A group of over 30 prominent and respected Deans of Schools of Medicine and Public Health have signed an open letter calling for nuclear weapons abolition. A related scholarly piece titled “A Prescription for Survival: Prevention of Nuclear War,” has been accepted for publication in the March 2012 issue of the prestigious American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
A major study on global impacts of limited nuclear war on agriculture, food supplies, and human nutrition or “Nuclear Famine” will be released within a few months indicating that potentially a billion people would be at risk of starvation from even a limited nuclear exchange in South Asia.
Related video of the health consesquences of the Fukushima meltdown on the Japanese people.
Is Water Flouridation Good for Public Health?
But why is politicized opposition to fluoride happening now?* The process has been in use since the 1940s, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hail it as one of the top preventative public health measures of all time. It is thoroughly supported by the American Dental Association, and when it was initiated in the middle of the 20th century, rates of dental cavities fell by 50 percent or higher, arguably because of fluoride. But opposition groups, notably the Fluoride Action Network, a non-profit dedicated to fluoride-danger awareness, put forth a much darker picture. They say the effect of tap water fluoride on tooth decay is hard to pinpoint, and in a large enough quantity, fluoride is a toxin — one that can possibly make bones fragile, lower IQ in children, and contribute to bone cancer. They insist cavities can be prevented by brushing alone.
Interesting article in the Atlantic
Climate change and human health
Human-induced climate change – now deemed by international climate
science to be real, demonstrably underway, and apparently accelerating –
reflects the mounting pressures of human numbers and intensified economic
activity. The existence, and long-term prospect, of risks to human health
provides an important signal as to the profound nature of this extraordinary
phenomenon. This important “signal”, adequately documented and clarified
by health researchers, will reinforce the motivation of governments and their
constituencies to take rapid and radical mitigation actions.
The health risks arise variously from direct stresses (e.g. weather disasters
and heatwaves), altered ecological processes (e.g. changes in infectious
disease patterns, impaired food yields), resource conflict over depleted
resources (water, fertile land, fisheries, etc.) and population displacement.
Low-income and geographically vulnerable populations are at greatest risk.
The risks to health jeopardise the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals. Those risks will increase over time, and afflict future
While nations strive to reduce emissions, health-protecting adaptive
strategies are needed, both for current risks and as part of longer-term
planning. Health sector adaptation initiatives should be part of a coordinated
multi-sectoral response that recognizes that protecting human health must
be a central goal of, and reason for, climate stabilization and sustainability.
Indeed, in the agenda-setting 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change, damage to “health and wellbeing” is one of the three categories of
adverse effects that the Convention is intended to address, along with
damage to the natural environment and economic development.
MIT researcher: U.S. taking leadership on mercury in the environment
Americans have long known the dangers of mercury in our environment, with doctors repeatedly warning pregnant women to remove fish from their daily diets. But despite this solid knowledge of the health impacts, the United States has never regulated mercury emissions from powerplants — our nation’s number one source of mercury — until now.
Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The standards require coal-fired powerplants to install scrubbing technology that will cut 90 percent of their mercury emissions by 2015.
Wind power creates public health benefits
While I do believe that wind turbine energy’s renewable and clean nature creates great health benefits, I think that the author of this OPED needs to consider the risks for people who live near wind turbine farms.
In my opinion, wind turbine farms should not be developed anywhere near residential property since the potential health risks have not yet been completely analyzed. People are referring this issue as Wind Turbine Syndrome.
Fruit bats are a carrier for the Hendra Virus, which has recently made the jump from bats to horses to humans:
For 17 years, the Hendra virus smoldered in its host - the fruit-bat population - only rarely crossing over to humans. Then it exploded, likely triggered by heavy rains and floods in Australia earlier this year. And that has public health doctors nervous about climate change.
“The interesting change was the big floods in January,” said Raina Plowright, a disease ecologist at the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. “Floods are expected more frequently with climate change – so, if they are linked, climate change may increase disease.”
Lawsuit Filed Against EPA to Protect Public Health From Coal-mine Air Pollution: “It’s time to stop giving the coal industry a free pass to pollute the air we depend upon for our health, well-being, and our safety,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians, one of four groups bringing the lawsuit. “With coal mines spewing methane, dust, toxic orange clouds, and other dangerous gases, we need a national response that puts clean air first. We need EPA to take action.” Follow link for more…