Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Off Topic: an important public service announcement

Brothers and Sisters, Hermanos y Hermanas, important news, particularly for those of you with young children:

Some of you know that in my day gig life I work in medical information technology at HealthInsight, the Medicare QIO (Quality Improvement Orgranization) for Nevada and Utah. Today during our general staff meeting, Dr. Bill Berliner, one of our Nevada Medical Directors, gave us a presentation regarding an upcoming lead poisoning surveillance project we will be involved with in conjunction with the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). The details are a bit frightening. Apparently, lead pollution remains a huge problem in many other countries, most proximately Mexico, where leaded gasoline is still sold and used. Public health epidemiologists have found worrisome levels of lead in candies made in Mexico. These candies generally have small quantities of chili pepper added for a "kick," and the chilis -- frequently dried in large batches in the open air by the roadsides -- pick up lead from vehicle fumes. Lead is also still a huge problem in Mexican pottery. A public awareness campaign is now getting underway here via the SNHD. I quote from the flyers they are now disseminating:


California and U.S. health officials have detected dangerous levels of lead in 112 distinct brands of candy – most of them made in Mexico. One in four candy and wrapper samples have come up high since 1993, records show. But much of this information about tainted candy has been kept from parents and public health workers.


Funcionarios de salubridad del estado de California y de los Estados Unidos han detectado niveles peligrosos de contenido de plomo en 112 dulces de distintas marcas. La mayoría de estos dulces están hechos en México. Uno de cada cuatro dulces y envolturas analizados han tenido resultados altos de plomo desde 1993, de acuerdo a archivos. Pero mucha de ésta información le ha sido ocultada a los padres de familia y trabajadores de salud.

You can view and download the entire flyers here (PDF files): English, and Spanish (they include pictures of the various candies). Click here for the general SNHD lead poisoning information page, which has links to these posters and their lead poisoning general information brochures.

- BobbyG

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