FDA

¡Mujeres embarazadas, padres y todos deberían leer esto!

Por Jessica Orquina

 

Nunca había pensado mucho acerca del mercurio en el pescado. Me gustan los mariscos y quizás había escuchado algo acerca de algunas preocupaciones de salud, pero nunca le había prestado mucha atención. Sin embargo, cuando estaba embarazada empecé a leer toda la información que podía encontrar acerca de la salud y nutrición para mujeres embarazadas, incluyendo sobre el mercurio en el pescado.

Aprendí que el comer pescado alto en niveles de mercurio puede hacerle daño al bebé por nacer o al sistema nervioso de los niños pequeños. También aprendí acerca de qué peces tienen niveles más elevados o más bajos de mercurio para así poder enfocar mi régimen alimenticio en aquellos pescados que son más seguros para comer.

El otoño pasado, mi hijo nació y ahora estoy de regreso al trabajo. Me interesó aprender que la EPA ha estado trabajando con la FDA para recomendar nuevos consejos sobre el Pescado: Lo que las mujeres embarazadas y padres deben saber. Comparta sus ideas con nosotros y ajuste el regimen alimenticio de su familia conforme a la nueva información. Mientras el consumo de mercurio es de especial preocupación para las mujeres embarazadas y los niños pequeños, puede afectar la salud de todos.

Entonces, tome un breve momento de su tiempo y lea este documento. Yo lo hice.

Acerca de la autora: Jessica Orquina trabaja en la Oficina de Asuntos Externos y Educación Ambiental como la principal encargada de los medios sociales para la agencia. Antes de unirse a la EPA, sirvió como piloto militar y de aerolíneas comerciales. Ella vive, trabaja y escribe en Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Expectant Moms, Parents, and Everyone Else Should Read This!

By Jessica Orquina

I never thought much about mercury in fish. I like seafood, and have heard there may be some health concerns, but I didn’t really give it much thought. Then, I became pregnant and started reading all the information I could find about health and nutrition for expectant mothers, including about mercury in fish.

I learned that eating fish with high levels of mercury may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. I also learned what types of fish have higher and lower levels of mercury so I could focus my diet on those fish that were safer to eat.

Last fall, my son was born, and now I’m back at work. I was interested to learn EPA has been working with FDA to recommend new draft advice for fish consumption. In the past, our advice was based solely on the health concerns caused by eating fish with high levels of mercury. The new recommendations still consider that issue, but they also look at the health benefits of eating seafood.

I strongly urge you to read the new draft advice (Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know), share your thoughts with us, and adjust your family’s diet accordingly. While mercury consumption is a big concern for expectant mothers and young children, it can affect everyone’s health.

So, take a minute and read this document. I did.

About the author: Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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‘Tis the Season: Know What’s in your Candy

By Marcia Anderson

A few weeks ago, while visiting Montefiore Hospital, in the Bronx, for a conference on lead poisoning, we were shocked to learn of some very dangerous imported candies that have been recalled.  So close to the holidays, I felt it prudent to get more information on these products and pass along the warning.

The potential for children to be exposed to lead from imported candy has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings on the availability of lead-contaminated candy and to develop tighter guidelines for manufacturers, importers and distributors of imported candy. Check the wrappers: Candies with elevated lead levels appear to primarily from Mexico, Malaysia, China, India, Central and South America.

Why might lead be present in imported candy? Lead sometimes gets into the candy when processes such as drying, storing and grinding the ingredients are done improperly. Also, lead has been found in the wrappers of some imported candies. The ink of these plastic or paper wrappers may contain lead that leaches into the candy. These candies may not have an unusual taste; in fact, many forms of lead found in candies have a sweet taste.

Why does this seem to be a problem with imported candy, rather than candy that is produced in the United States?
Candies produced domestically are subject to inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state agencies to ensure that the ingredients used, and the manufacturing processes employed, produce a product that is safe and unadulterated. Some other countries may not be taking this much care.

What to do if you believe you or your child may have eaten candies that contain lead? See your health care provider. He or she can perform a blood test to see whether you or your child has been exposed to lead and, if so, recommend treatment options. Most adults and children with elevated blood lead levels do not have any symptoms. As blood lead levels increase so does the effects of lead on health.

What is the health risk from eating candy with unsafe levels of lead? Lead poisoning continues to be the most common and serious environmental health threat to children under the age of six. Lead poisoning can harm a child’s nervous system and brain when he or she is still developing, making it difficult  to learn, pay attention and perform well in school. Lead poisoning can cause problems such as lower IQ, hyperactivity, impaired growth, and behavior problems. Lead exposure can also cause kidney damage, anemia, increased blood pressure, and more. Remember: The EPA has concluded that no amount of lead is safe for a child.

About the author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Science Wednesday: The Future is Now

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

By Aaron Ferster

When I was a kid one of my favorite shows was a cartoon about a space-age family that tooled around in a flying, spaceship-like car. Cool. “I hope we have that when I’m a dad,” I thought.

While my mode of transportation is earthbound, some of the show’s futuristic gadgets have actually come to pass: I call home with a pocket-sized phone, video conferencing is here, and many of us spend our workdays surrounded by banks of computer screens—even if we don’t make sprockets.

I recently got another glimpse of our emerging high-tech future when EPA joined its research partners from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program, the National Institute of Health (NIH) Chemical Genomics Center, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and others to unveil a high-speed robot screening system. The robots are set up to test chemicals for their potential to trigger health problems.

The system consists of robot arms that continually move rectangle “plates” through the toxicity testing process. Each plate contains 1536 small wells that can hold a dab of chemical solution and cells (human and non-human animal), and the arm precisely moves each plate though exposure testing and computer analysis. Take a look at this video to see it in action.

The robot system, housed at the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) in Rockville, Maryland, was purchased as part of the Tox21 collaboration between the EPA, NIEH’s National Toxicology Program, NCGC, and FDA. Tox21 merges existing resources—research, funding and testing tools—to develop ways to more effectively predict how chemicals will affect human health and the environment.

Tox21 partners have already screened more than 2,500 chemicals for potential toxicity using robots and other innovative chemical screening technologies, such as ToxCast. EPA tapped such technologies to test oil dispersants for potential endocrine disrupting activity following the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

The 10,000 chemicals the robot system will screen include those found in industrial and consumer products, food additives, and drugs. Testing results will provide information useful for evaluating if these chemicals have the potential to disrupt human body processes enough to lead to adverse health effects.

While I’m still looking forward to my first flying car, knowing the future should contain fewer potentially harmful chemicals is pretty exciting, too. Especially now that I’m a dad.

About the author: Aaron Ferster is the editor of Science Wednesday and a frequent contributor.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.