- Proposed Regulation Would Delay Workplace Toxic Chemical Control, Opponents Say
- FDA Sets Acceptable Melamine Threshold for Infant Formula
- Federal Trade Commission Discontinues Tar and Nicotine Test
- FDA Announces Recalls of Weight-Loss Pill, Dietary Supplement
- Web Health Searches Often Result in 'Cyberchondria'
- Epilepsy Drugs May Cause Skin Reactions in Asians: FDA
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Proposed Regulation Would Delay Workplace Toxic Chemical Control, Opponents Say
In a final effort to pass a series of procedures in keeping with its governmental philosophy, the Bush administration is attempting to implement a new rule that would add another step in regulating possible toxic substances to which workers are exposed, the New York Times reports.
The Labor Department's regulation, opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, would require U.S. government agencies to analyze "industry-by-industry evidence" of specific chemical of other substances' effect on employees over their entire working life, the newspaper reports. This would add a step that public health officials and employee groups say would delay improving health standards in the work place.
The new regulation is supported by a number of business groups and has been opposed in the U.S Senate, with Obama as one of the opposition leaders, the Times reports. But administration representatives told the newspaper that the new regulation is misunderstood,.
"This proposal does not affect the substance or methodology of risk assessments, and it does not weaken any health standard," Leon R. Sequeira, the assistant secretary of labor for policy, told the newspaper.
Among the chemicals and toxic substances the Times lists as falling under Labor Department control are asbestos, benzene, cotton dust, formaldehyde, lead, vinyl chloride and blood-borne pathogens.
FDA Sets Acceptable Melamine Threshold for Infant Formula
Reversing a decision made less than two months earlier, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday announced an allowable threshold of 1 part per million of the chemical melamine in baby formula, the Associated Press reports.
The wire service reports that the FDA's decision actually allows for more melamine than has been found in U.S.-made baby formula. The one caveat is that this amount is allowable only if other related chemicals aren't present, the A.P. reports.
And, as it did Nov. 26, the FDA reiterated that the baby formulas that were tested are absolutely safe.
Consumers Union, the national consumer advocacy group, and the Illinois attorney general, Lisa Madigan, had demanded that the FDA issue a recall of the products.
In China, melamine in formula has killed at least three babies and made at least 50,000 ill. The chemical, used in the production of plastic products, can cause kidney or bladder stones and, in severe cases, kidney failure. There have been no reports of illnesses in the United States.
Previously undisclosed FDA tests showed the agency detected melamine in a sample of one popular infant formula and the presence of cyanuric acid (a chemical relative of melamine) in another brand of formula, the A.P. said. A third manufacturer admitted it found trace levels of melamine in its infant formula. It's believed the melamine contamination occurred during the manufacturing process.
The three products are sold by Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson, which produce more than 90 percent of all infant formula made in the United States, the news service said.
An FDA official said it would be a "dangerous overreaction" for American parents to stop feeding infant formula to babies who depend on it.
"The levels that we are detecting are extremely low," Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told the AP. Parents "should not be changing the diet. If they've been feeding a particular product, they should continue to feed that product. That's in the best interest of the baby."
Federal Trade Commission Discontinues Tar and Nicotine Test
After 42 years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has ended a test to measure the amount of tar and nicotine in cigarettes.