Health Highlights: Nov. 7, 2007

The rubber pool toys are designed to be launched across the pool surface. They were sold across the United States from February 2007 through September 2007. Consumers should immediately take the toy away from children and contact Swimway for a free replacement toy, the CPSC said.

For more information, phone Swimways toll-free at 888-559-4653 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Elevated Levels of Pollutants Found in Store-Bought Bass

White bass caught in Lake Erie and sold in stores contained higher levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium than white bass caught near former iron and steel mills on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in Pittsburgh.

That's the conclusion of a study presented Wednesday at the American Public Health Association annual meeting, in Washington, D.C.

University of Pittsburgh researchers compared 45 white bass caught by local anglers in the two rivers and 10 white bass caught on the Canadian side of Lake Erie and sold in Pittsburgh-area stores. Compared to the river fish, the lake fish had 2.2 to 4.8 times higher mercury levels, 1.9 times higher selenium levels, and 1.7 times higher arsenic levels.

"We were surprised by our results since we had hypothesized that levels of contaminants in fish would be higher in specimens caught near once heavily polluted sites," principal investigator Conrad D. Volz, of the department of environmental and occupational health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, said in a prepared statement.

"These results indicate to us that purchasing fish from a local market cannot guarantee food safety. We recommend a more rigorous testing program for commercial freshwater fish with particular attention to fish entering the U.S. from other countries," he said.


More U.S. Children Taking Drugs to Treat Chronic Conditions

Between 2002 and 2005, the use of type 2 diabetes drugs by American children ages 10 to 14 more than doubled, and there was a 166 percent increase in the use of the drugs by girls in that age group. The likely reason is obesity, which is closely associated with type 2 diabetes, say the authors of a study that looked at chronic medication use in children ages 5 to 19.

The researchers, from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and School of Public Health and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, also found increases in children's use of drugs to treat blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma and depression.

Among the findings:

  • Use of blood pressure drugs by males ages 15 to 19 increased 15.4 percent.
  • Use of antidepressants by females ages 15 to 19 increased 6.8 percent.
  • Use of asthma controller medication increased 67.3 percent among children ages 5 to 9; 38.8 percent among children ages 10 to 14; and 34.7 percent among those ages 15 to 19.

"Overall, these patterns could reflect changing prescribing behaviors by physicians (anti-hypertensives), increases in the risk factors for chronic diseases (type 2 antidiabetics, antihyperlipimedics), increased office visit rates and therefore screening rates -- particularly for females -- or trends toward greater use of drug therapy as the preferred mode of treating children with chronic conditions," Sharon M. Homan, professor of community health at Saint Louis University School of Public Health, said in a prepared statement.

The study was presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, in Washington, D.C.


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