May 30 2012

Public Health News Roundup: May 30

Improvements in U.S. Women’s Life Span Slows

A new analysis of mortality data from the University of Washington School of Public Health has found that the life span for women in the United States is improving at a much slower rate than men’s. Researchers analyzed population data by gender, race and county from 1989 to 2009 and found that in 661 counties, primarily in the southeast, the life spans of women had stopped increasing or actually decreased. There are about 3,000 U.S. counties in total.

According to the review, men on average now live to 76.2 years while women live to 81.3 years. That was a gain of 4.6 years for men over the last 20 years, but a gain of only 2.7 years for women. Factors cited by the researchers for the reported changes include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and tobacco and alcohol use. Read about related county-level data from the County Health Rankings, which ranks the health of nearly every county in the nation and shows that much of what affects health occurs outside of the doctor’s office.

Disability Employment Contest Winners Announced

The Campaign for Disability Employment, a collaborative of disability and business organizations, has selected the winners in a contest that called for videos to showcase skills offered by people with disabilities, and common misconceptions about disability employment. Among the winners: a video about a disabled school cafeteria employee, Margaret, who helped a child who was choking. Watch the videos and vote for your favorites. The two top winners receive $250 each. Read more on disability.

Poison Centers Issue Warning on Single-Use Laundry Products

Poison centers throughout the nation are reporting an uptick in calls about young children swallowing single-use packets of laundry detergent. Some children have become very ill and required hospitalization. “The rapid onset of significant symptoms is pretty scary,” said Dr. Michael Beuhler, medical director of the Carolinas Poison Center. “Other laundry detergent [products] cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all. Although we aren't certain what in the product is making the children sick, we urge all parents and caregivers to make sure laundry detergent packs are not accessible to young kids.”

  • Read a fact sheet from the Association of Poison Control Centers on the growing concern, which includes a photo of the packaging.
  • Read a use guide on the single-use products, including several warnings, from a laundry product trade association.

Read more on product safety.

Tags: County Health Rankings, Disability, Mortality, News roundups, Safety