Health Highlights: Sept. 27, 201109/27/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Jewelry Industry Will Self-Regulate Toxin in Kids' Jewelry
U.S. jewelry manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to restrict
levels of the toxic metal cadmium in children's necklaces, rings
and other products, the
Associated Press reported.
The heavy metal has been linked to cancer and other diseases,
and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which last year
recalled some 300,000 pieces of costume jewelry because of high
cadmium content, intends to use the voluntary limits to determine
if and when product recalls are needed, the
The agency said voluntary standards, rather than mandatory
rules, should be enough to regulate cadmium content in children's
baubles. Most of the recalled trinkets were made in China.
The guideline "limits potential exposure to cadmium in
children's jewelry in a manner that assures safety without
resulting in bans on safe products," said Brent Cleaveland, who
helped draft the regulations for ASTM International, a group that
sets standards for various consumer goods. Cleaveland told the
AP that the new limits, which may take effect in November,
are "way more conservative than necessary."
Magnets, lead and other potential jewelry problems are also
addressed in the new standard. Experts worry that if kids lick or
bite trinkets bearing the metals that high levels might enter their
Under the new policy, 0.03 percent cadmium would be the content
limit for jewelry intended for children 12 years and younger.
Products that exceeded the limit in testing would be rejected or
referred for additional examination.
Obese Now Outnumber Hungry Worldwide: Report
There are now more obese people than hungry people in the world,
but a growing food crisis is increasing the hardship for those who
don't have enough to eat, the International Federation of the Red
In 2010, there were 1.5 billion obese people and 925 million
undernourished people worldwide, the humanitarian group noted in
its annual World Disasters Report released Thursday,
Agence France-Presse reported.
The figures highlight the disparity between rich and poor, as
well as problems caused by recent increases in food prices,
according to the Geneva-based organization.
"If the free interplay of market forces has produced an outcome where 15 percent of humanity are hungry while 20 percent are overweight, something has gone wrong somewhere," IFRC secretary general Bekele Geleta said in a news release, AFP reported.
U.S. Ranks Last in Preventable Deaths: Report
The United States ranks last among 16 high-income nations on
preventable deaths and could save as many as 84,000 lives a year if
it lowered its preventable death rate to that of the top three
nations, a new study says.
Between 1997-98 and 2006-07, other nations lowered their
preventable death rates an average of 31 percent. The U.S. rate
declined only 20 percent, from 120 to 96 per 100,000.
By the end of those 10 years, the preventable death rate in the
United States was nearly twice that of France, which had the lowest
rate (55 per 100,000), according to the Commonwealth Fund-supported
study. Australia and Italy had the second and third lowest
The United States' poor ranking may be due to "the lack of
universal [health insurance] coverage and high costs of care," said
the study authors, who analyzed deaths before age 75 from causes
such as treatable cancer, diabetes, childhood
infections/respiratory diseases, and complications from
The study appears in the November print issue of the journal
"This study points to substantial opportunity to prevent premature death in the United States. We spend far more than any of the comparison countries -- up to twice as much -- yet are improving less rapidly," Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen said in a Commonwealth news release.
"The good news is we know lower death rates are achievable if we enhance access and ensure high-quality care regardless of where you live. Looking forward, reforms under the Affordable Care Act have the potential to reduce the number of preventable deaths in the U.S. We have the potential to join the leaders among high-income countries," she added.
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