Public Health News Roundup: June 27
The American Red Cross says its blood supply has reached emergency levels because 50,000 fewer donations than expected were received in June. The shortfall is about half of what the Red Cross had on hand at this time last year. Shortages can result in postponed surgeries, according to the Red Cross, which estimates that someone in the nation needs a blood transfusion every two seconds.
The shortage may have been the result of warmer weather starting earlier this year, which may have kept some regular donors from taking time to donate blood or platelets.
Donors must be 17 (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. Donors must have a driver’s license, blood donor card or two other forms of ID at check-in. To find a local donor site and make a donation, call the Red Cross at 800 733-2767 or sign up online. Read more on preparedness.
A study that reviewed cancer incidence records and was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds although the overall lung cancer rate in the United States has been declining, lung cancer deaths among baby boomer women living in some southern and Midwestern states have been rising. The authors link the increase to cigarette advertising targeted at girls and women women in the 1960s and 1970s. Read more on cancer.
A study in the journal Circulation finds that young, healthy adults exposed under experimental conditions to ozone for two hours developed heart changes that could put them at risk for heart attacks.
Study participants showed evidence of vascular inflammation, a potential reduced ability to dissolve artery-blocking blood clots, and changes in the body’s processes that control the heart’s rhythm. The changes were temporary and reversible in the young adults in the study, but show the potential dangers of prolonged exposure to ozone. Read more on environmental health.
A ballot initiative to increase California's cigarette tax by $1 per pack was defeated by about half a percent, the closest vote in California ballot initiative history. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, if this initiative had passed, it would have prevented 228,700 California children from becoming smokers. Read more on tobacco.