Boosting Access to Medicine
January 15, 2009 08:29 AM - By Sheila Oviedo, Policy Innovations

The Indonesian government aggravated the World Health Organization (WHO) three years ago by refusing to hand over samples of the deadly H5N1 "bird flu" virus. The Indonesians argued that the samples would be used to produce medicines priced beyond the means of its poorer citizens. Jakarta's stance raised concerns that countries with confirmed cases of SARS might abstain in a similar fashion. Such global recalcitrance never materialized, and last year Indonesia relented by handing over 12 samples to the WHO after being assured of access to medicines in the event of a pandemic. According to a GlaxoSmithKline press release, H5N1 virus samples from Vietnam have been used to produce a viable pre-pandemic vaccine. Bird flu made its way back into the news after a recent death from the illness in China.

Vicks might make kids sicker
January 13, 2009 08:22 AM - American College of Chest Physicians

Vicks VapoRub, the menthol salve used to soothe generations of congested kids, may actually make some little ones worse, a new study suggests. The strong-smelling ointment often dabbed under noses or rubbed on the soles of feet can be an irritant, increasing the production of mucus and decreasing how fast it’s cleared, potentially causing dangerous breathing problems in infants and very young children.

'Eat local' movement takes root
December 27, 2008 09:55 AM - Mercury News

SAN FRANCISCO—Here's something you might not know about being a locavore, the new-fangled term for the old-school tradition of eating food grown close to home: Coffee is almost always negotiable. Here's another: The people practicing this new-old (and currently quite hot) trend may surprise you. Suburban moms? Check. Artisanal-cheese sniffing foodies? Double check. And how about denizens of the decidely un-hippie halls of Wal-Mart?

Korea: 10% Suffer From Environmental Diseases
December 27, 2008 09:19 AM - Korea Times

One out of every 10 local households has at least one member suffering from an environment-related disease, the Ministry of Environment said Friday. According to research conducted between Oct. 16 to 30 on 1,000 adults nationwide, 10.5 percent said they or their family members have an ``environmental disease'' such as eczema, hay fever or asthma. Such diseases are caused by pollutants in the air and man-made structures, which build up in the human body.

State officials launch 'green' initiative; The plan would help gauge the safety of chemical products
December 22, 2008 09:39 AM - ASH Institute

Is that laundry soap truly "environmentally friendly"? Was that mattress treated with toxic chemicals? Is that sweatsuit fashioned from organic cotton? Is that lipstick "natural"? California officials launched a sweeping green initiative on Tuesday to inform consumers exactly how hundreds of thousands of products sold in the state are manufactured and transported and how safe their ingredients are.

African ministers say share water to combat hunger
December 18, 2008 10:57 AM - Reuters

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - African states lack the resources to deal alone with climate change and must share water better to feed growing populations, government ministers said at a water conference in Libya on Wednesday. The world's poorest continent has failed to feed a fast-growing population due to under-investment, bad farm management and more frequent droughts and floods, leaving it hooked on food imports.

New Report Shows Need for Strong FDA Advice about Mercury in Fish
December 16, 2008 09:02 AM - Oceana

Washington, DC -- Real people have been sickened by mercury in fish according to a new report released today, demonstrating the importance of strong FDA advice about mercury in fish. The new report, Over the Limit, shares stories like those of Dan Deeter, Will Smith and Wendy Moro, who each ate enough store-bought fish to suffer mercury's effects, according to their physicians. From New Jersey to Wisconsin to California, these stories show that seafood contamination is a very real problem that should not be ignored.

Darfur conflict ravages environment
December 10, 2008 09:37 AM - Reuters

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's Darfur conflict has devastated the environment in the region, stripping forests and destroying farmland, according to a U.N. report. People caught up in the five-year crisis have cut down large areas of woodland, partly to feed a booming war-fueled construction industry, said a report by the U.N.'s Environment Program (UNEP) seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Petition launched for suspended South African water expert
December 8, 2008 09:11 AM - , SciDevNet

Scientists and NGOs have launched a petition calling for the reinstatement of a respected South African water expert who has been suspended from his job at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Anthony Turton, a fellow of CSIR, was suspended after criticising both the council and the government for failing to address the impending water crisis in the country. The petitioners have called his suspension an "attempted silencing of the truth about South Africa's water crisis" and a "major attack on the constitutional right to freedom of expression".

AMA meeting: Global warming has health toll, delegates warn
November 24, 2008 08:52 AM -

Orlando, Fla. -- Most climate scientists say the Earth is getting hotter and that human activity is speeding up the process. At its Interim Meeting in November, the AMA House of Delegates agreed with the scientific consensus.

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