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FDA Clamping Down on Abuse of an OTC  Decongestant

Makers of inhalers that contain the nasal decongestant propylhexedrine should make design changes to prevent misuse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Propylhexedrine is a nasal decongestant in over-the-counter inhalers, and right now is "only marketed under the brand name Benzedrex," the FDA said. The agency said that propylhexedrine is effective and safe when used for short pe...

Kids' ER Visits for Swallowed Magnets Soared After U.S. Lifted Sales Ban

Calls to U.S. poison centers about incidents involving children and high-powered magnets surged more than 400% after a court overturned a ban on the magnets, a new study finds.

"Regulations on these products were effective, and the dramatic increase in the number of high-powered magnet related injuries since the ban was lifted - even compared to pre-ban numbers - is alarming," said Dr. Le...

Storm Alert: How to Keep Your Home Safe

Winter weather can bring hidden dangers, the most deadly of which can include carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.

As blizzards, tornadoes and severe storms batter the nation and many lose power and heat, the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires from portable generators and other devices increase exponentially, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) warns.

Carb...

Silent Killer: Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide Dangers This Winter

Carbon monoxide poisoning can prove fatal without a warning, because it can't be seen, smelled or heard.

It's important to be aware of it, especially during winter when you're indoors and using heat sources to stay cozy.

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center has some tips for preventing carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and recognizing symptoms of exposure to CO.

CO is a gas produc...

Hand Sanitizer Is Harming Kids' Eyes, Often Seriously

The explosive rise in use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dangerous, unintended consequence: eye injuries among children.

Using data from French poison control and a children's hospital in Paris, researchers reported that accidental eye injuries to kids under age 18 shot up sevenfold during a five-month period last year, compared to 2019.

How to Guard Against Home Heating Hazards

Many Americans are working at home or attending school virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to increased use of home heating and its potential risks, an expert says.

Heating sources can pose electrical hazards and fire dangers, noted Purnima Unni, manager of the pediatric trauma injury prevention program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashv...

High Blood Levels of Cadmium May Be Tied to Worse COVID-19

Old age and chronic health conditions aren't the only risk factors for serious COVID-19 infection. Researchers say people with high levels of the heavy metal cadmium may also have higher odds of severe disease during the pandemic.

Cadmium is found in cigarettes and in contaminated vegetables. Previous research has shown that long-term exposure to cadmium, even at low levels, may weak...

Childhood Lead Exposure Tied to Brain Changes in Middle Age

Middle-aged adults who had elevated levels of lead in their blood as children have brain structure changes, new research shows.

For the study, the researchers analyzed childhood lead exposure data on 564 participants in a long-term study of people who were born in the same town in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973.

The participants grew up during the peak era of leaded gasoline (late 196...

Fall in the Southeast Means Guarding Against Fire Ant Stings

The sting of fire ants can be painful and even deadly -- and the threat rises during fall across the southeastern United States.

At this time of year, fire ants move to warm surfaces such as concrete slabs or asphalt roads, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), which urges people to take precautions.

A child can be stung walking through...

FDA Warns of Danger From 'Benadryl Challenge,'  Asks TikTok to Remove Videos

Parents and other caregivers need to be more aware of the potentially lethal "Benadryl Challenge" circulating on social media, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The new internet dare, broadcast widely on teen-friendly TikTok, urges kids to overdose on the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl to achieve a hallucinatory state.

However, attempts to do s...

TikTok 'Benadryl Challenge' Has Killed at Least One Teen

A new internet dare, broadcast widely on teen-friendly TikTok, urges kids to overdose on the over-the-counter antihistamine Benadryl.

But the "Benadryl Challenge" has already killed one teen and sent others to the ER, experts warn.

According to News4 in Oklahoma City, one 15-year-old girl suffered a fatal overdose while reportedly trying the challenge late last month....

Beware of Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has issued a warning on hand sanitizers that contain methanol (methyl alcohol).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already warned that some hand sanitizers are contaminated with methanol.

Methanol is very toxic and can make you "blind drunk" because of its ability to damage the optic nerve, poison experts say.

...

People Are Dying, Going Blind After Drinking Hand Sanitizer, CDC Warns

Federal health officials have been warning for weeks that illegal forms of hand sanitizer containing toxic methanol are being sold across the United States.

Now, new data from Arizona and New Mexico illustrate the danger: During the months of May and June, 15 people were rushed to hospital after drinking hand sanitizer containing methanol.

Four of them died and three went bl...

Summer's Toxic Algae Blooms: A Growing Threat to Health?

Every summer seems to bring fresh warnings of toxic algae blooming in local ponds, lakes and waterways.

These toxic blooms are known to be dangerous to human and animal health, but a new study suggests they might be even more harmful than previously thought.

A single massive blue-green algae bloom in Florida's Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River flowed into the Gulf...

Toxic Lead Fallout From Notre Dame Fire May Be Worse Than Thought

A ton of dangerous lead dust may have been deposited around Notre Dame cathedral in Paris when it burned in April 2019 -- far more than had been estimated, a new study suggests.

The cathedral's roof and spire were covered in 460 tons of lead -- a neurotoxic metal that's especially dangerous to children -- and questions have been raised about how much lead was released into nearby neig...

Bleach on Fruit, Lysol Gargles:  Many Getting Home Disinfection Dangerously Wrong

Nearly two out of five Americans are using bleach and other household cleaners in potentially dangerous ways in an effort to protect themselves against COVID-19 infection, a new survey reveals.

About 20% Americans say they have applied bleach to their fruits and vegetables as a means of disinfection, a practice not recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Cats, Dogs and Snakebite: One Pet Has an Advantage

One reason why cats have nine lives has emerged from an Australian study.

Cats are twice as likely as dogs to survive the bite of a poisonous snake, according to an international team of researchers. The reason: Cats' blood clots faster than dogs' does.

For the study, the researchers compared the effects of 11 different snake venoms from around the world on the blood-clott...

As Demand for Hand Sanitizer Soars, FDA Warns of Makers' Bogus Claims

Some companies are selling hand sanitizers with unproven claims that they'll protect you from the new coronavirus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

Last week, the agency issued its first warning letter for a hand sanitizer marketed with unproven COVID-19-related claims that violated federal law.

The letter was issued to Prefense LLC for making misleading statemen...

As Coronavirus Fears Surge, Keep Cleaning Products Away From Children

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a wave of accidental poisonings from household cleaners and disinfectants.

With the National Poison Data System recently reporting a more than 20% spike in such emergencies, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) emphasized the need to store cleaning products safely away from children.

Bleach and alcohol-based hand sanitizers accoun...

FDA Warns of Dangerous, Bogus Claims That Bleach Can Treat COVID-19

A warning letter has been sent to a company marketing bogus and dangerous chlorine dioxide products for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The fraudulent claims by the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing about its "Miracle Mineral Solution" products are especially concerning in relation to children, who are at increased risk for h...

Mom's Purse May Hold Hidden Dangers for Kids

Busy moms and dads routinely stuff their purses and bags with every item their family might need for the day. But that creates a minefield of choking and poisoning hazards for babies and toddlers, pediatricians warn.

A purse, backpack or diaper bag can contain a hodgepodge of medications and supplements, cosmetics, hand sanitizers, candy, coins and other items that attract little hand...

Parents, Grandparents to Blame for Many Child Drug Poisonings, CDC Warns

If you are sometimes less than careful with your prescription medications and have young kids at home, a new study shows how easily tragedies can occur.

Researchers found that young children getting into medicines leads to about 400,000 poison center calls and 50,000 emergency department visits in the United States each year.

In more than half of these cases, medications hav...

Banned for Decades, DDT and Dioxins Are Still Harming U.S. Babies

Decades-banned pesticides apparently continue to interfere with fetal growth during U.S. pregnancies, a new study reports.

DDT was banned in 1972 in the United States, but low levels of it and other organic chemical pollutants can still be found in the blood of pregnant American women, researchers reported online Dec. 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Women carrying even low levels ...

Skin-Lightening Cream Could Cause Nerve Damage, CDC Report Warns

A skin-lightening cream from Mexico that contained toxic mercury left a California woman with significant central nervous system damage, doctors report in a case study.

Many weeks after her initial hospitalization, the woman requires "ongoing tube feeding for nutritional support" and can't speak or care for herself, according to the authors.

The cream contained a form of org...

U.S. Poison Centers Field More Calls About Psychoactive Substances: Study

Exposure to natural substances with psychoactive effects -- including marijuana, kratom, magic mushrooms and nutmeg -- triggered more than 67,300 calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers over nearly two decades.

That's an average of 3,743 calls a year between January 2000 and December 2017, or about 10 calls a day, according to researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Oh...

CDC Revises Number of Vaping-Linked Lung Illnesses to 380 in 36 States

U.S. health officials have revised downward the number of cases of a severe lung injury linked to vaping, from more than 450 cases cited last week to the total of 380 cases announced late Thursday.

The decrease is due to the exclusion of "possible" cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained. The new case total -- which includes cases either confirmed or "prob...

Stricter Arsenic Standard Made Public Drinking Water Safer: Study

Stricter U.S. government standards for drinking water have reduced arsenic violations by public water systems, proving such safety regulations work, researchers say.

Public water systems provide more than 80% of the nation's drinking water.

The new standard was introduced in 2001. Since then, the percentage of public water systems in violation fell from 1.3% in 2008 ...

Trump Pushing for Nationwide Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes

As concern grows over hundreds of lung illnesses tied to vaping, the Trump administration on Wednesday said it would move to ban flavored versions of e-cigarettes.

Vaping is harming young people and "we're going to have to do something about it," President Donald Trump said at the Oval Office, The New York Times reported. He was flanked by Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and...

Vaping-Linked Lung Illnesses Double, Vitamin E Acetate Leading Suspect

The number of cases of severe lung disease linked to vaping has now doubled, with more than 450 people in 33 states struck by the illness, U.S. health officials reported Friday. At least three of those patients have died.

The leading culprit at this point is an oily chemical called vitamin E acetate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There hav...

Health Officials Close in on Culprit in Vaping Lung Injury Cases

Lab tests have found a chemical derived from vitamin E in samples of vaping products that have sickened people in 25 states.

Investigators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered the chemical in samples of nearly all the marijuana products used by patients who developed a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

The ...

Body's Natural Chemicals May Help Protect 9/11 Responders' Health: Study

Certain chemicals made by the body may have helped prevent lung disease in some first responders who were exposed to toxic dust after the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, researchers say.

The investigators, from New York University School of Medicine, identified 30 metabolites -- chemicals made as the body breaks down fats, proteins and carbohydrates -- associated w...

'Synthetic Pot' Laced With Rat Poison Lands People in the ER

Using "synthetic pot" is rolling the dice with your health, experts warn, pointing to a healthy 26-year-old woman who ended up in the ER after smoking a batch laced with rat poison.

Synthetic pot is created in a lab. It's supposed to safely mimic marijuana by targeting the same cannabinoid receptors as the real thing.

But the unregulated chemical composition of fake weed can...

Pot Poisonings Among Kids, Teens Double After Medical Marijuana Law Passed

Pot-related poisoning calls involving kids and teens more than doubled in Massachusetts after the state legalized medical marijuana, a new study reports.

Calls related to cannabis exposure increased 140% in the years after Massachusetts voted to legalize medical pot in 2012, according to data from the state's regional poison control center.

This happened even though Mass...

Toxic Pond Algae Is Killing Dogs -- How to Protect Your Pooch

Your dog bounds heedlessly into a local lake or pond, playfully splashing in the water.

But within minutes, your canine companion is staggering, drooling or suffering seizures. Left untreated, the dog will likely die.

This fate has befallen a handful of pooches exposed to toxic algae blooms this year, experts say.

"Blue-green algae is a bacteria that during certain...

One Downside of Legalized Pot: Poisoned Pets

People who use marijuana know that the drug should be kept out of the reach of small children. But many may not realize that it can also be dangerous for their beloved animals.

As more states legalize marijuana, the drug poses an increased poisoning risk to pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns.

In June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize pot...

Swallowing Toiletries, Makeup Sends Thousands of Kids to ER Each Year

Take a stroll down the beauty products aisle and you'll see rows of colorful packages, even some with pictures of fruit on them. It's easy to see how about a dozen kids a day end up in the emergency room due to exposure to these enticing chemical concoctions.

Over a 15-year period, nearly 65,000 youngsters under 5 years of age were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries r...

Average American Ingests 70,000 Bits of Microplastic Each Year

Extremely tiny bits of plastic: They're in your food and drink, and even in the air around you.

Now, new research calculates that the average American consumes more than 70,000 particles of these "microplastics" every year -- and even that's likely an underestimation, the scientists noted.

Your microplastic intake might be even higher if you choose products that have more pl...

Kids Still Being Poisoned by Detergent Pods

Liquid detergent packets or "pods" continue to poison kids years after their makers volunteered to make them safer.

Such poisonings fell just 18% between 2015 and 2017, a new study reports. From 2012 to 2017, poison control centers fielded nearly 73,000 calls about poisoning from these pods. That's about one call every 42 minutes, and almost 92% involved kids under 6.

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Pool Chemicals Harm Thousands Every Summer

Swimming pools are one of the great joys of summer, but U.S. health officials warn that the chemicals that keep the water pristine can land you in the ER.

Between 2008 and 2017, there were more than 4,500 pool chemical-related injuries reported each year, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

"Summer is a great time to enjoy the pool wi...

Overdose Attempts Skyrocket Among Teens, Young Adults: Study

Suicide attempts by drug overdoses and other "self-poisonings" more than doubled among U.S. youth in the last decade, a new study reveals.

And attempts by girls and young women more than tripled during that time period, according to the analysis of National Poison Data System information.

Most of the self-poisonings "are drug overdoses, but they use a lot of over-the-counte...

Americans Are Dying From Kratom Overdoses: CDC

Although many people believe the herbal drug kratom to be harmless, new research has found that, in an 18-month period, 91 Americans lost their lives to fatal overdoses in which the drug was a contributing factor.

In seven of those cases, kratom was the only drug to show up in postmortem testing, said a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The stud...

Agent Orange's Toxic Legacy in Vietnam

A toxic byproduct of Agent Orange is still widespread in Vietnam's soil and water and is getting into food supplies, a new study claims.

Agent Orange was a chemical defoliant widely used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War from 1962 to 1975. The herbicide contained dangerous dioxins.

"Existing Agent Orange and dioxin research is primarily medical in nature, focusing ...

Kratom-Related Poisonings Are Soaring, Study Finds

Calls to U.S. poison control centers related to the herbal drug kratom have skyrocketed, increasing more than 50-fold in a matter of six years, a new study shows.

Back in 2011, poison centers received about one call a month regarding someone who'd taken too much kratom, a plant that is purported to produce mild opioid-like effects.

These days, nearly two calls a day are rece...

Toxins in Home Furnishings Can Be Passed on to Kids

Children who live in homes with vinyl flooring and flame-retardant furniture have higher levels of potentially harmful chemicals in their blood or urine, researchers have found.

The new study included 203 children from 190 families who were tested for these chemicals -- so-called semi-volatile organic compounds (or SVOCs) -- in their blood or urine.

For the study, the rese...

Kids Exposed to Lead at Higher Odds for Mental Health Issues Later

Childhood lead exposure may trigger the development of long-term mental health problems, new research suggests.

The finding stems from a decades-long tracking of nearly 600 New Zealanders. All were born between 1972 and 1973. At that time, most gas products still contained high levels of lead. Lead exposure was assessed at age 11, followed by mental health screenings at ages 18, 21, 2...