May 15 2012

Public Health News Roundup: May 15

Expect Inconsistent Sunscreen Labels this Summer

The Food and Drug Administration is delaying new sunscreen rules for smaller manufacturers until December 2012. That may result in some confusion at the sun protection counter since larger firms will have new labels in place by June while smaller labels will not be required to use them until December. Some private labels, including Target’s in-house brand, have already started using the new labels in anticipation of the guidelines coming into effect.

The basic new label requirements, decades in the making, include the new term “broad spectrum” for sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays, a ban on the terms “waterproof” and “sweatproof” to be replaced by how many minutes, based on testing, the product is water resistant. There is also a new requirement that only sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher will be able to post on the label that they help prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Read more on cancer prevention.

Study Finds Injury Risk for Very Young Children Linked to Common Kids' Products

A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that 45,398 children under age three were treated in the hospital emergency department between 1991 and 2010 for injuries linked to bottles, pacifiers or sippy cups. Most injuries (86 percent) occurred from falls while using the products, and 83 percent of falls resulted in lacerations or contusions to the mouth and face. The authors also found that two-thirds of injuries occurred among one-year-olds, an age when children are unsteady on their feet and more likely to fall. The researchers recommend that given the high number of injuries, parents should help their children transition to a cup around age one.

A second study in Pediatrics found a very high rate of emergency room visits linked to babies and toddlers swallowing “button” batteries, such as those used in some toys and remote controls. Read more children's health news.

HHS Provides Funding for School Health Clinics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced availability of up to $75 million in new funding for the construction and renovation of school-based health centers, which provide care for children with chronic and serious illnesses as well as prevention and wellness programs for all school children. Read more on school health.

Tags: Cancer, News roundups, Pediatrics, School Health