Health Highlights: Nov. 7, 2007

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Breastfeeding Doesn't Cause Saggy Breasts: Study

Contrary to what many women believe, breastfeeding does not cause saggy breasts, says a University of Kentucky study that included 132 women who sought breast lifts or augmentation. Most of the women had been pregnant at least once and nearly 60 percent had breastfed at least once.

Researchers analyzed each woman's medical history, height and weight, smoking habits, and pre-pregnancy bra cup size. They found no difference in extent of breast sagginess between women who'd breastfed and those who hadn't, BBC News reported.

    • Breastfeeding Doesn't Cause Saggy Breasts: Study
    • Air Pollution From Ships Kills 60,000 People a Year: Study
    • 'Skippy' Pool Toys Pose Cut Risk
    • Elevated Levels of Pollutants Found in Store-Bought Bass
    • More U.S. Children Taking Drugs to Treat Chronic Conditions
    • Toys Contain Chemical That Converts to 'Date Rape' Drug

However, the study authors did conclude that pregnancy itself was a factor. The degree of sagginess increased each time a woman was pregnant. Smoking was another factor that contributed to breast sagginess.

"Smoking breaks down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breast," said study author Dr. Brian Rinker, BBC News reported.

The study was presented an American Society of Plastic Surgeons meeting.


Air Pollution From Ships Kills 60,000 People a Year: Study

Air pollution belched from ocean ship smokestacks causes 60,000 premature deaths worldwide each year. And that toll could increase to 84,000 a year within five years if nothing is done to clean up those emissions, says a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

In North America, ship-spewed air pollution causes about 9,000 premature deaths a year, most of them on the West Coast, according to the study.

The dangerous pollution is created by the Bunker C fuel that powers ship engines. The researchers noted that this fuel contains nearly 2,000 times as much sulfur as the diesel fuel used in trucks in North America and Europe, the Toronto Star reported. The high levels of sulfur, along with nitrates and particles, in ship emissions can cause fatal heart and respiratory problems, including lung cancer. People who live along coasts near busy shipping lanes are at greatest risk.

While pollution controls are common in many industries, international shipping is unregulated, said David Marshall, of the Clean Air Task Force, one of the groups that commissioned the study.

The shipping industry "has gotten away Scot-free to this point, partly due to the feeling that since the emissions are out of sight they can't harm anyone," Marshall told the Star.


'Skippy' Pool Toys Pose Cut Risk

About 31,000 Chinese-made pool toys that pose a laceration hazard are being recalled by Swimways Corp. of Virginia Beach, Va., the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The elastic tongue of the "Skippy" fish pool toys can break, forcefully come out, and cut the user's hand while launching the toy. The company has received 24 reports of breakage during use of the toy. There have been five reports of injuries to children, including one who required stitches to the hand and another whose thumb nail was ripped back from the nail bed.

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