Public Health - General

Category archives for Public Health – General

When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law in 2011, it was described as the most sweeping reform of the nation’s food safety laws in nearly a century. Public health advocates hailed the law for shifting regulatory authority from reaction to prevention. What received less attention was a first-of-its-kind provision that protects workers who expose food safety lawbreakers.

While the Senate is pressing the EPA to prevent future chemical disasters, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would, if enacted, make it harder for the public to obtain information about chemical hazards, either in industrial storage tanks or consumer products. While state and local governments – and many manufacturers – are responding to growing public is demand for safer chemicals and more information about chemicals used in products – industry trade associations are promoting legislation that appears to counter that progress.

Reporters investigate the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Texas; a new poll finds widespread support for “family friendly” workplace policies, including paid sick days and paid family leave; and large-scale hog operations raise environmental concerns in Iowa.

It’s probably no surprise that people who experienced foreclosures during the Great Recession may have also experienced symptoms of depression. However, researchers have found that the mental health effects of foreclosure go beyond the individual to the community at-large.

More than a month after the Freedom Industries chemical spill in West Virginia, it remains unclear if Charleston’s water is truly safe to drink and what the health consequences of exposure to these chemicals may be. Legislation has been introduced that calls for more inspections, better tank construction, overflow containment and emergency response. But why not go beyond and also call for safer chemistry?

Last weekend, construction worker Jose Perez stood up and spoke about life as a construction worker in one of then nation’s most prosperous cities. In front of him were hundreds of supporters who had gathered in downtown Austin, Texas, to call on a local developer to treat its workers better. Looming behind him was the new Gables Park Tower, an unfinished luxury apartment complex where construction workers have reported dangerous working conditions and frequent wage violations.

Genocide is a Public Health Problem

The New York Times editorial page warns that genocide looms in the Central African Republic. It’s worth re-reading a Commentary from Elihu Richter in the Journal of Public Health Policy, which focuses on the Rwandan genocide but is relevant today.

The quality of public housing is a key determinant of health among low-income populations, but much of the public housing in the United States is in disrepair – unhealthy, unsafe, even uninhabitable. A health impact assessment of San Francisco’s Rental Assistance Demonstration project highlights some of the considerations for local governments working to assure safe, well-maintained housing for their most vulnerable residents.

Most people infected with mosquito-borne West Nile virus don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, the tiny percentage of cases that do end up in the hospital total hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.

Higher insurance rates don’t mean people stop seeking care at publically funded health centers, found a recent study of family planning clinics in Massachusetts. The findings speak to serious concerns within public health circles that policy-makers may point to higher insurance rates as a justification to cut critical public health funding.