New research published in The Lancet warns that climate change will affect “every stage of the life” of children born today. “To the extent that we’re asking, well, how is it different from before to the life of a child born today? That child now is being born for the first time into a world where their health will be affected at every single stage of their life by a changing climate,” Nick Watts, executive director of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, said during a call with reporters… As children, this next generation faces growing risks from climate-related hazards like less nutritious crops and spreading diarrheal disease. As these children grow up, they will encounter air pollution exacerbated by burning fossil fuels. When they enter the workforce, they may struggle to earn money as rising average temperatures make it more difficult to work outdoors. And their lives and livelihoods could be disrupted by extreme weather becoming more severe. The authors said that the findings this year are particularly significant. “In 2019, for this report, this is the first time that we feel as though we can say actually these health impacts have arrived in full,” Watts said.”
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to limit the scientific and medical research that can be used to set public health regulations. The New York Times reports that this change is “part of a broader administration effort to weaken the scientific underpinnings of policymaking. Senior administration officials have tried to water down the testimony of government scientists, publicly chastised scientists who have dissented from President Trump’s positions and blocked government researchers from traveling to conferences to present their work… In this case, the administration is taking aim at public health studies conducted outside the government that could justify tightening regulations on smog in the air, mercury in water, lead in paint and other potential threats to human health… A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently. The measure would make it more difficult to enact new clean air and water rules because many studies detailing the links between pollution and disease rely on personal health information gathered under confidentiality agreements. And, unlike a version of the proposal that surfaced in early 2018, this one could apply retroactively to public health regulations already in place… Public health experts warned that studies that have been used for decades — to show, for example, that mercury from power plants impairs brain development, or that lead in paint dust is tied to behavioral disorders in children — might be inadmissible when existing regulations come up for renewal.”
Reuters reports on Juul’s decision not to limit nicotine dosage – making their products much more addictive. “The formula delivered nicotine to the bloodstream so efficiently, in fact, that the company’s engineers explored features to stop users from ingesting too much of the drug, too quickly. Juul’s founders applied for a patent in 2014 that described methods for alerting the user or disabling the device when the dose of a drug such as nicotine exceeds a certain threshold. One idea was to shut down the device for a half-hour or more after a certain number of puffs, said Chenyue Xing, a former Juul scientist who helped patent its liquid-nicotine formula. The concern stemmed in part from the fact that a Juul – unlike a cigarette – never burns out, Xing said in an interview… The company never produced an e-cigarette that limited nicotine intake… Juul Labs Inc is now the central player in a broader controversy sweeping the United States over the safety of its products along with those of a wave of high-nicotine imitators. The rise of Juul sales tracks closely with an epidemic of teenage nicotine use that has brought a hail of criticism and regulatory scrutiny on the company.” Last week, 80% of San Francisco voters rejected a ballot measure that would have overturned city bans on e-cigarette sales.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports on an executive order signed by Governor Tony Evers to create the Governor’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion to advise the executive branch on addressing systemic racism. “All state agency employees, including the governor, will have to undergo mandatory training in cultural sensitivity and systemic racism. The order also sets the stage to reform state agencies, requiring them to set equity goals and review their workplace policies…. Rep. Shelia Stubbs, D-Madison, shared damning statistics about the deep racial inequality in the state. She pointed to the poverty rate for black Wisconsinites, which is three to four times higher than it is for white people. "Wisconsin has the most extreme racial disparities in our nation," said Stubbs. "Racial disparities in Wisconsin is evident in every stage of our life, from birth, to schooling, to employment, to voting, to the criminal justice system."”
The Washington Post [Strategies%20of%20segregation%20and%20secession%20to%20hoard%20resources%20are%20leaving%20the%20whole%20metropolitan%20area%20unprepared%20for%20rising%20waters.]reports on how racial segregation has left Baton Rouge communities more susceptible to flooding. “The lives of Baton Rouge’s students, especially those who live in the city’s overwhelmingly African American north side, recently got more difficult and their opportunities more constrained with the secession of the city of St. George from the Parish of East Baton Rouge. From Memphis to Maine, critics of struggling public schools have increasingly turned to this secession tactic to the detriment of disadvantaged students and their families. Proponents of the strategy have subdivided the nation’s patchwork of 13,000 school districts into an even more convoluted system of townships and municipalities to keep in-group resources within wealthier communities and poorer students out. Leaders of the movement claim they want to preserve the tax revenue from areas with higher property values for themselves and their children. Because of America’s history of neighborhood and school segregation, the movement in many ways advances a new form of racial segregation that cripples public schools, especially those serving poor children of color. It also undermines municipal infrastructure and transportation systems and makes life more difficult for all residents. In south Louisiana, it even contributes to flooding… The web of white-related infrastructure that has emerged as a result of white flight and secession makes the low-lying area — already prone to flooding — especially vulnerable. The runoff from additional lanes of highway, expansive parking lots and new subdivisions combine to create dangerous flash flooding problems that the city experiences on a semiannual basis, where runoff floods cars and damages homes. Now, instead of working to keep the river out of its homes as it has for centuries, the city faces widespread damage and flooding from something as commonplace as a severe thunderstorm.”
New research finds that 59.8% of opioid-involved overdose deaths in the US in 2017 involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. “Since 2013, synthetic opioids, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), including fentanyl analogs, have been fueling the U.S. overdose epidemic. Although initially mixed with heroin, IMF is increasingly being found in supplies of cocaine, methamphetamine, and counterfeit prescription pills, which increases the number of populations at risk for an opioid-involved overdose. With the proliferation of IMF, opioid-involved overdose deaths have increased among minority populations including non-Hispanic blacks (blacks) and Hispanics, groups that have historically had low opioid-involved overdose death rates. In addition, metropolitan areas have experienced sharp increases in drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths since 2013.”
City Lab reports on how communities can foster resilience and prepare for climate change and natural disasters, taking a North Dakota community hit hard by flooding as an example. “Research on communities affected by natural disasters shows that they often lead to spikes in mental-health challenges, particularly for people who face the most adverse impacts from the disaster or are already vulnerable in other ways. “It’s a mistake to just focus on the disaster itself,” says Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology studying climate change and psychological wellbeing at the College of Wooster in Ohio… The goal in advance of a disaster is to take steps to mitigate some of the potential harms, and help more people experience long-term boosts, says Sonny Patel, NIH Fogarty Global Health Scholar at Harvard University. “How do we build communities to prevent some of these consequences? We know that there’s a psychological toll from these disasters—we want to find ways to create resilience to prevent some of that.”… Before the 2009 flood hit, the North Dakota team organized its work around a few principles of community resilience. It structured its messaging with the goal of communicating “hopeful realism”: recognizing that there was danger ahead, but stressing confidence in preparations. That helped build public trust in the civic groups making decisions. “Feeling like they are looking out for the best interests of the community is key [for confidence from the public],” McLean says… Taking practical steps to prepare for disasters has psychological benefits for individuals, Clayton says. “Informing yourself makes you feel a bit less overwhelmed. Having a concrete sense of what impacts you could see in your area does, as well.”