The Pump Handle

Is Software to Blame, Again?

If you think that Obama’s health insurance debacle is the first time that software problems have derailed a national health insurance plan, you would be wrong. I recall a similar event in Prague in 1995.

A former State health commissioner explains his tactic for averting cuts in public health funding.

Least Untruthful, a new standard?

How do Edward Snowden and his revelations impinge on public health and its practice, in the US and around the world? In their Editorial, “Least Untruthful, a new standard?” the Co-Editors of the Journal of Public Health Policy have spelled out some important implications for public health.

Children breathe more air, drink more water and eat more food per unit of body weight than adults. Therefore, if a child’s air, water or food is contaminated with chemicals, children receive a larger dose per unit of body weight than would an adult in the same situation. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been unable to regulate chemicals effectively, and new chemical legislation must consider these key physiological differences.

by Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA The current issue of Mother Jones offers an article on the troubling and growing list of State “gag laws” which make it a crime to disclose contamination and abuse in animal breeding and slaughter houses.  Ted Genoways in “Gagged by Big Ag,” describes the events and players leading to: laws…

When most of us pass by a new high-rise or drive down a new road, we rarely think: Did the builders and planners consider my health? However, a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers evidence that certain types of land use and transportation decisions can indeed limit the human health and environmental impacts of development.

It seems we barely go a week now without news of another violent gun incident. Last week’s shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., has resulted in the deaths of five people. And since the Newtown school shooting last December — in the span of less than six months — thousands of Americans have been killed by guns.

Every week, the Austin-based Workers Defense Project welcomes standing room-only crowds to its Workers in Action meetings. And once a month, a local OSHA representative would join the meeting, giving some of Texas’ most vulnerable workers the chance to meet face-to-face with the agency. Unfortunately, due to the federal sequester, OSHA has had to indefinitely suspend its participation. It’s a significant loss.

“If we could get growers to comply with the law, that would revolutionize agriculture in this country,” said United Farm Workers (UFW) national vice president Erik Nicholson explaining the circumstances that led to the creation of the Equitable Food Initiative.

In the United States, getting better often comes with an unfortunate and devastating side effect: financial bankruptcy. In fact, a 2009 study in five states found that between 2001 and 2007, medical-related bankruptcies rose by nearly 50 percent. And for those diagnosed with cancer, the risk is even worse.