Health Highlights: May 12, 2009

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

Kids' Face Paint Product May Be Contaminated, FDA Warns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found "significant microbial contamination" in a brand of water-based face paints used by children, and has warned consumers to stop using the products, United Press International reports.

The cosmetic paints -- manufactured by a Shanghai company and distributed across the United States -- are being recalled by Fun Express Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oriental Trading Co., because of skin reactions in children who used the products, UPI reported.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Kids' Face Paint Product May Be Contaminated, FDA Warns
    • FDA Challenges Cheerios Health Claims
    • Weight Worries Still Nag U.S. Women: Poll
    • FDA Probes 2 Delaware Deaths That May Be Linked to Heparin
    • Obama Praises Health Industry's Offer of Savings

"The FDA has learned of a cluster of adverse events in children exposed to various colors of the face paint," the FDA said in a statement. "All exposures occurred on the same day at an organized event and included rashes, itchiness, burning sensation and swelling where the face paints were applied. Significant microbial contamination was indicated in most of the products in testing by a FDA laboratory."

The FDA is asking consumers to report adverse events from the paints to state and local health officials, or by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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FDA Challenges Cheerios Health Claims

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking issue with Cheerios maker General Mills Inc., citing company claims that the cereal lowers cholesterol and can help treat heart disease, the Bloomberg news service reports.

The FDA told Bloomberg that it allows food companies to make 17 nutrition claims based on scientific studies and company petitions, but that Cheerios' claim of its cholesterol-lowering ability weren't cleared by the agency. The FDA said the heart disease and cancer claims on the Cheerios' Web site should include language saying that fruits and vegetables also help reduce risks, Bloomberg reported.

In a warning letter to General Mills, the FDA said the claim about Cheerios "does not enable the public to understand the significance of the claim in the context of the total daily diet." General Mills could face a court injunction or product seizure if it doesn't fix the issue within 15 days of the May 5 letter, Bloomberg reported.

General Mills was quick to respond that the science of its claims is not in question. "The FDA is interested in how the Cheerios cholesterol-lowering information is presented on the Cheerios package and Web site," Tom Forsythe, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based company, said in an e-mailed statement, Bloomberg reported. "We look forward to discussing this with FDA and to reaching a resolution," Forsythe said.

According to General Mills' Web site, Cheerios has advertised that it can "lower your cholesterol 4 percent in 6 weeks" for more than two years.

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Weight Worries Still Nag U.S. Women: Poll

A new Associated Press-iVillage poll suggests that many American women are unhappy with their figures, yet they face a disconnect between what they perceive a healthy body image to be and true physical conditioning.

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