- China Recalls All Milk Made Before Sept. 14
- States Ask Baby Bottle Makers to Halt Use of Bisphenol A
- WHO Identifies Serious Global Healthcare Inequities
- Personal Music Players Pose Hearing Threat
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
China Recalls All Milk Made Before Sept. 14
All liquid and powdered milk made in China before Sept. 14 has been ordered removed from shelves and tested for the chemical melamine. It's the first time since the tainted dairy scandal erupted last month that the government has ordered a blanket recall of products.
"Regardless of the brand or the batch, they must be taken off shelves, their sale must be stopped," the official news agency Xinhua said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
The diary products will only be allowed back on store shelves after they pass quality tests and are labeled as safe, said Xihhua, which did not provide any more details or explain why the recall was taking place now.
Until this week, only some types of milk powder and milk had been recalled in mainland China, the AP reported. A Sept. 16 recall was issued for 69 batches of milk powder made by 22 companies and a Sept. 19 recall was issued for liquid milk.
The reason Sept. 14 was chosen as the cut-off date for the new blanket recall isn't clear, but a nationwide inspection of dairy-producing facilities that focused on milk-collecting centers was launched Sept. 15 by Chinese officials, the AP reported.
States Ask Baby Bottle Makers to Halt Use of Bisphenol A
Three states have asked 11 companies that make baby bottles and baby formula containers to stop using the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in their products because the chemical is potentially harmful to infants.
In letters sent Friday to the companies, the attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey cited studies that indicate BPA can attach to food in heated containers, the Associated Press reported.
"The preventable release of a toxic chemical directly into the food we eat is unconscionable and intolerable," wrote Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
The letters were sent to baby bottle makers Avent America Inc., Disney First Years, Gerber, Handicraft Co., Playtex Products Inc. and Evenflo Co., and formula makers Abbott, Mead Johnson, PBM Products, Nature's One and Wyeth, the AP reported. Some companies have already said they'd make BPA-free baby bottles.
A preliminary study last month said there may be a link between BPA and risks of heart disease and diabetes. Blumenthal criticized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for not taking action on BPA.
"Unfortunately, (the FDA) has been asleep at the switch, in fact resistant to respecting the scientific evidence that grave harm can result in the use of this product," said Blumenthal, the AP reported.
WHO Identifies Serious Global Healthcare Inequities
There can be as much as a 40-year difference in life expectancy between people in the poorest and richest countries, says a World Health Organization report that examined primary health-care systems worldwide.
The report identified major inequalities in health outcomes, access to care and what people have to pay for care, and noted these differences are greater than they were 30 years ago, said BBC News.
Among the findings:
- Of the estimated 136 million women who will give birth this year, about 58 million will receive no medical assistance during and after childbirth -- potentially putting their lives in danger.
- Average annual government spending on health varies from as little as $20 per person to well over $6,000 per person.
- For 5.6 billion people in low and middle-income countries, out-of-pocket payments account for more than half of all health care spending, a situation that pushes many people below the poverty line.
The report said action must be taken to improve primary health care and address inequities, BBC News said. Doing nothing isn't an option, warned WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.