Health Highlights: Sept. 14, 2008

The production plant that makes the powder has been shut down, the A.P. said. The chemical had been added to increase protein content, but earlier information that it produced kidney stones had apparently been ignored by the manufacturer, according to wire reports.

Meanwhile, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning American consumers not to use any infant formula made in China. The warning came as China began a nationwide investigation into all its infant formula following the death of one baby and reports of more than 400 other babies being hospitalized with kidney stones.

The FDA said late Thursday that the China formulas are apparently suspected of being contaminated with melamine.

But Janice Oliver, deputy director of the FDA's food safety program, added that no U.S. formula manufacturer has received any ingredients from China, so "there is no threat of contamination to the domestic supply."

However, she said, "We're concerned that there may be some infant formula that may have gotten into the United States illegally and may be on the ethnic market." FDA officials are particularly concerned about places like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston, which have large populations of Chinese immigrants, the AP reported.

On Friday, the FDA issued a formal health advisory to caregivers not to give infants China-made formula.

In addition, the agency said in a news release, "The following manufacturers have met the necessary FDA requirements for marketing milk-based infant formulas in the United States: Abbott Nutritionals, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Nestle USA, PBM Nutritionals, and Solus Products LLC. Also, one manufacturer, SHS/Nutricia, Liverpool, England, markets an amino acid-based exempt infant formula that does not contain any milk-derived ingredients.

Agence France Presse reported Thursday that China's state news agency Xinhua said reports of seriously ill babies first emerged in the northwestern province of Gansu and have now appeared in six other provinces. In Gansu, there were at least 59 cases of babies with kidney stones, including one who died, AFP reported.

The news agency said the suspect formula bore the label of the Sanlu Group, a leading dairy products company, AFP reported. The company says that the product was produced by counterfeiters and that it has sent investigators to Gansu.


Japan Has 36,000 Centenarians

The number of Japanese living past 100 has more than doubled over the past six years to a record high of 36,000 this year, the country's Health and Welfare Ministry said in an annual report released Friday.

By the end of this month, there will be 36,276 people aged 100 and older in Japan and 86 percent of them will be female, the Associated Press reported. Life expectancy in Japan is almost 86 years for women and 79 years for men, among the highest in the world.

The highest concentration of centenarians in Japan is in Okinawa, with 838 centenarians, or 61 for every 100,000 people., while the national average is just over 28 per 100,000. There are about 10 centenarians per 100,000 people in the United States.

The number of centenarians in Japan has been increasing for nearly 40 years and is expected to reach nearly 1 million -- the most in the world -- by 2050, according to United Nations' projections, the AP reported.


Boss Gender Affects Worker Health

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