CDC

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In just a year, electronic cigarette use has tripled among American teens. And considering that no one really knows what the related health impacts are and any regulatory framework is lagging far behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, public health advocates say it’s time for action.

In a somewhat frightening illustration of anti-vaccine trends, a new report estimates that among groups affected in the recent measles outbreak, the rates of measles-mumps-rubella immunization might have been as low as 50 percent.

While silicosis-related deaths have declined, it remains a serious occupational health risk and one that requires continued public health attention, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you’re in the market for a paint remover and head to your local hardware store, most of the products you’re likely to find will contain methylene chloride. These products carry hazard warnings that say “Danger!” and “Poison” along with cautionary statements about the chemical’s nervous system effects and the possibility that exposure can cause blindness, birth defects, cancer and respiratory harm. But there’s little – if anything – to suggest such products are so hazardous that they were responsible for at least 14 deaths in the United States between 2000 and 2011. These products are banned in the EU. Are there alternatives and why are they still for sale in the U.S.?

Months before the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in Texas, the state’s public health laboratory had begun preparing for the disease to reach U.S. shores. And while the virus itself is an uncommon threat in this country, the response of the nation’s public health laboratory system wasn’t uncommon at all — in fact, protecting people’s health from such grave threats is exactly what public health laboratorians are trained to do.

It may come as a surprise to those not familiar with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the primary law that regulates chemicals used in the US that go into products other than cosmetics, drugs and pesticides – to learn that about 15,000 chemicals on the TSCA inventory have their identities claimed as trade secrets.

Next time someone asks you what exactly public health does, repeat this number: 4.3 million. That’s the number of women — mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, grandmothers, daughters and friends — who might have otherwise gone without timely breast and cervical cancer screenings if it weren’t for public health and its commitment to prevention.

As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa worsens, CDC sends staff to affected countries and issues a travel alert, but stresses that the disease “poses very little risk to the general US population.”

Vaccine safety is one of those topics that has become so tragically mired in misinformation and myth that there can never be enough supporting evidence. So, here’s some more.

Ideally, everyone should be tested for HIV. In reality, however, only about half of U.S. adults have ever been tested for HIV and about half of the 50,000 new infections that happen every year in the U.S. are transmitted by people who are unaware of their HIV status. Such statistics recently led a group of researchers to ask if there’s a more efficient way to go about curbing the HIV epidemic.