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Study Links Flame Retardants to Social Behavior among Young Children



Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) have found a significant relationship between social behaviors among young children and their exposure to widely used flame retardants.

The finding, contained in a pilot study released Thursday, points to some chemicals in furniture, electronics and other goods to help prevent fires.

As these chemicals, which are found throughout the built environment in furniture, mattresses, carpeting, electronics, vehicles and more, are added to the products and are not bound in the material, they are often released into indoor environments.

“When we analyzed behavior assessments and exposure levels, we observed that the children who had more exposure to certain types of the flame retardant were more likely to exhibit externalizing behaviors such as aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention and bullying,” said Molly Kile, an environmental epidemiologist and associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

The most common types of flame retardants found in the built environment are brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), which tend to remain in the environment for long periods; and organophosphate-based flame retardants (OPFRs), which emerged as an alternative to BDEs in an effort to address some of the environmental health concerns posed by BDEs.

Past research has shown that both BDEs and OPFRs are linked to poorer cognitive function in children. But less is known about the relationship between the flame retardants and children’s social and emotional health, particularly during early childhood, a key developmental period for learning.

In their study, published in the journal Environmental Health, the OSU research team recruited 92 Oregon children between ages 3-5 to wear a silicone wristband for seven days to measure exposure to flame retardants.

As an easy and non-invasive way to sample children’s chemical exposure, the wristbands developed by Kim Anderson of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences have a porous surface that mimics a cell, absorbing chemicals that people are exposed to through their environment. When the wristbands are returned, Anderson can screen for up to 1,200 chemicals that may accumulate.

The researchers had parents or primary caregivers complete questionnaires about socio-demographics and the home environment, and preschool teachers completed behavior assessments for each participating child. In all, researchers had complete data and wristband results for 69 children.

Their analysis showed that all of the children were exposed to some level of flame retardant. Children who had higher exposure rates of OPFRs showed less responsible behavior and more aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention and bullying behaviors. Children with higher exposure to BDEs were seen as less assertive by their teachers.

All of these social skills play an important role in a child’s ability to succeed academically and socially.

“This is an intriguing finding because no one had previously studied the behavioral effects of organophosphate classes of flame retardants, which have been added to consumer products more recently,” Kile, the corresponding author of the study, was quoted as saying in a news release from OSU.

The researchers said further study is needed to better understand the links between flame retardants and children’s social skill development. (PNA/Xinhua)

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Massive HIV-AIDS Info Drive Yields High Number of Screened Persons




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The provincial health office’s aggressive campaign in the past couple of years on the deadly virus that weakens the immune system in man resulted in a rapid rise of individuals voluntarily submitting themselves for screening.

Last year, the HIV-AIDS campaign that was waged in schools and parishes all over the province encouraged 56 people for a check-up, more than double the 26 screened in 2016, and eight times more than the number 7 in 2015.

Although showing widespread awareness for those with questionable lifestyles, the trend was alarming, said Eunice Aida Batalon, provincial HIV-AIDS coordinator.

Out of the 56 screened in 2017 “the youngest was 12 years old, the oldest 72 years old, and two are females,” Batalon said in an interview at the Salvacion Oppus Yniguez Memorial Provincial Hospital (SOYMPH) at barangay Dongon, this city, January 10.

Samples of the blood taken were forwarded for confirmatory testing at San Lazaro hospital in Manila and the results were tellingly shocking: 4 out 7 screened in 2015 were confirmed positive; 4 out 26 in 2016 positive; and 7 out of 56 in 2017 were positive as well.

Those who had contacted AIDS in 2015 and 2016 already passed away, while 1 out of 7 in 2017 had expired, Batalon told PIA, although other sources said that 3 died in 2017.

Invoking confidentiality, Batalon would not state the whereabouts of those screened and those who perished, adding that not all were from the province alone as there were also those coming from the nearby towns of Leyte province.

While most of those afflicted cited poverty as reason for the infection, some well-off individuals also got infected, by way of men having sex with men (msm), Batalon said.

This year the continuing advocacy will focus on Parent-Teachers Community Associations (PTCAs), as parents and the family have vital roles to play to prevent the further spread of HIV-AIDS, Batalon declared. (ajc/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)

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Duque Welcomes P1.4-B Refund for Unused Dengvaxia




Image Source: from by AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has welcomed Sanofi Pasteur’s move to refund the government Php1.4 billion for the unused doses of the controversial dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, in the health department’s public immunization program.

“We will ask for a full refund eventually. But for the meantime, we want the immediate withdrawal of all (Dengvaxia) vaccine vials stored in our cold chain facilities,” Duque said in an interview Monday.

“Ang importante kasi mai-withdraw na nila lahat ng mga vials because they are also eating up our space. Hindi kami makatanggap ng bagong bakuna sa cold chain facilities and RITM and regional storage facilities (It is important that they withdraw the remaining vials, which are eating up space in our cold chain facilities. We could not accept new vaccines in these facilities, as well as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and regional storage facilities),” he added.

The health chief said they also requested Sanofi to provide test kits developed by the University of Pittsburgh to conduct serotesting on children who received Dengvaxia, especially if they had no previous history of infection before receiving it.

Meanwhile, Sanofi said that their decision to reimburse the government for unused doses “is not related to any safety or quality issue with Dengvaxia”.

“Rather Sanofi Pasteur hopes that this decision will allow us to be able to work more openly and constructively with the DOH (Department of Health) to address the negative tone towards the dengue vaccine in the Philippines today,” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement, maintaining that Dengvaxia’s overall benefit remained positive in high endemic countries like the Philippines.

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DOH: Eat Iodine-Rich Food to Avoid Goiter




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The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) here urged the public to consumer food rich in iodine to avoid goiter.

NNC-7 Regional Director Parolita Mission disclosed in a recent Association of Government Information Officers-Philippine Information Agency (AGIO-PIA7) Forum that 92 percent of goiter cases is due to lack of iodine.

Mission urged the public to eat iodine-rich food such as seafoods and only use iodized salt with enough quantity of iodine content.

“Iodine can be taken from seafoods and iodine function is for processing metabolism,” Mission said.

She also said that iodine helps regulate the thyroid hormones.

Aside from iodine deficiency, the excessive intake of foods such as cauliflower, cassava, and broccoli can also cause or trigger goiter.

Dr. Anessa Patindol Medical Officer III of DOH-7 said that those who experience symptoms of neck enlargement should immediately seek medical attention as this is one of the common indications of goiter.

Although goiter commonly occurs among women, Patindol said it is still best for everybody to regularly take foods rich in iodine and avoid foods that may trigger goiter.

Patindol added that the treatment of goiter may be costly but DOH is providing assistance to those that seek medical attention.

“We are just requesting the public to seek early consultation if ever they have unusual changes in their body such as neck enlargement, and difficulty in breathing” Patindol said. (ays/PIA7/AGIO-PIA7 Forum)

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Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag-amuma Soon to Head South Cebu



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After its successful implementation in San Remigio town, north Cebu last year, the feeding program of the Provincial Government and its partners will be heading south.

Initial talks on the implementation of the Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag-amuma (KKP) has been done with mayors of Samboan, Aloguinsan and Dumanjug by officials of Gawad Kalinga (GK), the Capitol’s lead partner for the feeding program project.

KKP is the Visayan counterpart of GK’s Kusina sa Kalinga and aims to reduce hunger, as well as help in the development of the child’s well-being by providing free meals to targeted 5,000 kindergarten and grade 6 pupils for 120 days.

The KKP is also implemented in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) – Cebu Province, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 and the local government unit where the feeding program is to be implemented.

Funding for the program comes from the Capitol, the LGU and all these government agencies.

“This is a continuation of the San Remigio Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag-amuma and part of Gov. (Hilario) Davide’s six key development agenda,” said Mrs. Jobel Davide, the governor’s wife and the adviser for the KKP feeding program.

Roy Soledad, head of the Cebu Investment Promotion Office (CIPO), said that according to GK officials, Samboan is receptive of the project, as well as Aloguinsan.

But Aloguinsan mayor Ignatius Moreno told them that he needs to consult first with his councilors on the details of the project.

Soledad added that Dumanjug mayor Rainero Asentista, who just assumed office, told them that he has yet to consult his councilors on the program.

KKP expansion is directed to these towns with high incidence of malnutrition.

In Samboan, KKP is targeting 3,546 children with Capitol shelling out P2.6 million as its counterpart fund, while there are 1,904 children for Aloguinsan and will have a budget of P2.548 million from the Capitol.

Soledad said he will have the figures from Dumanjug as soon as local officials pledge their commitment.

Soledad and GK officials will again meet with the mayors of these towns next month to finalize the plan to replicate KKP in their respective LGUs. (Oscar Pineda)

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