Health, Medicine & Nutrition
The One Ingredient Label You Have Never Read… And Should! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 23 March 2012 12:06
You Probably Know What’s In Your Kids’ Peanut Butter, But Do You
Know What’s In Their Toothpaste?

Most parents are careful about learning what’s in the stuff their kids eat and drink. They avoid artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and sweeteners. Yet ask just about any of those same folks if they have ever looked at what is in their toothpaste and you’ll likely get blank stares.

Considering the fact that children – and adults -- ingest toothpaste twice a day every day, it’s probably the most frequent thing we put in our mouths other than water or other beverages. And still, most people have never looked at what is in their toothpaste.

Dentist and national oral health care expert Harold Katz, (, suggests that needs to change. Many ingredients in some commercial toothpastes are of questionable benefit and some are just plain bad for you.

Consumers have become increasingly aware of the hidden toxins in foods, beverages and eating and drinking utensils, he says. They avoid high fat and high sodium foods, sulfates in their personal care products, aerosol sprays, and toxic chemicals in their household cleaners.

“They’re taking no chances, and rightfully so. Remember the rush to replace plastic baby bottles with glass ones after the BPA scare in 2008?” he asked.

However there has been a surprising lack of attention to toothpaste, Katz says. The dentist suggests that all consumers – but especially parents – take the time to read their toothpaste tubes today. Effects of potentially unhealthy toothpaste ingredients are multiplied in the smaller bodies of children.

Here are a few ingredients to stay away from:

• FD&C blue dye No. 2: This commonly used toothpaste dye is one of several on the list of additives to avoid, maintained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It’s said to be linked to learning, behavioral and health problems, severe allergic reactions, and headaches, among other problems.

• Sodium lauryl sulfate: The American College of Toxicology reports this ingredient in cosmetics and industrial cleaning agents can cause skin corrosion and irritation. Doses of .8 to 110 grams/kilogram in lab rats caused depression, labored breathing, diarrhea and death in 4 out of 20 animals.

• Triclosan: An anti-microbial ingredient, the federal Environmental Protection Agency lists triclosan as a pesticide and regulates its use in over-the-counter toothpastes and hand soaps. According to the agency’s fact sheet, “Studies on the thyroid and estrogen effects led EPA to determine that more research on the potential health consequences of endocrine effects of triclosan is warranted. … Because of the amount of research being planned and currently in progress, it will undertake another comprehensive review of triclosan beginning in 2013.”

• Saccharin and aspartame: Both of these artificial sweeteners are on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s list of additives to avoid.

Toothpaste buyers should look for natural ingredients, such as aloe vera juice, which cleans and soothes teeth and gums and helps fight cavities, according to the May/June 2009 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. Aloe vera tooth gel is said to kill disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, Katz says.

Also, avoid all toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent that has been linked to canker sores. Toothpastes that are free of sulfates include Weleda’s Salt Toothpaste, TheraBreath and Tom’s of Maine.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day and get children into the habit from a young age, Katz says. You’ll have fresh breath, avoid painful dental problems, and be far more likely to have your teeth in your mouth when you go to sleep at night as you age.

Just be sure to check what’s in your family’s toothpaste and avoid buying anything with problematic ingredients. And when it comes to brushing kids teeth use a pea-sized drop of paste on the brush – no more – and oversee brushing to ensure young children don’t swallow their toothpaste, says Dr Katz.

About Dr. Harold Katz

Dr. Harold Katz received his degree in bacteriology from UCLA and is the founder of The California Breath Clinics and author of The Bad Breath Bible. He has been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “Early Show” and “The View” with Barbara Walters and countless other TV shows. Dr. Katz’s formulated the TheraBreath oral care program in 1994 and has continued to update products in order to make use of the most effective and most natural ingredients.

Q&A on Medical Device Safety PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Friday, 23 March 2012 11:48

with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley


Q:        What needs to be done to improve the oversight of medical device safety?

A:        Post-market surveillance of medical devices should be as effective as possible in order to preserve the fast-track approval process that gets new and innovative medical products on the market for consumers.  There’s an opportunity this year to pass legislation to strengthen the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to run a robust post-market surveillance operation and to act quickly when a medical device safety problem is discovered.  By September 30, Congress must renew a program that collects fees from the medical device industry to help pay for safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration.  Along with Senators Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, I introduced a bipartisan bill (S.1995) late last year that would let the Food and Drug Administration require post-market clinical studies for medical devices that pose potential safety risks if those devices were first approved through a fast-track process that’s allowed for moderate risk devices.  These changes should be passed along with renewal of the medical device user fee program.  Our bill also would allow the Food and Drug Administration to implement a routine assessment of device recalls, develop enhanced procedures and criteria for assessing the effectiveness of recalls, and document the agency’s basis for terminating individual recalls.  These changes were recommended in a 2011 report of the Government Accountability Office.  The report showed that such gaps in the system today limit the ability of manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration to make sure recalls are implemented in a timely and effective manner.  In addition to requesting the report and seeking legislative reform, Senator Kohl, Senator Blumenthal and I also have asked five companies that have recalled faulty medical devices for detailed information about how they conduct post-market surveillance and how the companies have managed recalls of hip implants, surgical mesh, heart defibrillators, knee replacements, and spinal fusion products.


Q:        What about other efforts to track defective medical devices?

A:        As part of a law enacted in 2007, a tracking system for medical devices was created to enhance post-market surveillance of medical devices, improve data collection on medical devices, and allow companies and the FDA to track faulty devices when problems occur.  This Unique Device Identifier (UDI) system would require implantable devices to carry a unique numerical identifier so products can be tracked through the distribution chain and after they’ve been used with patients.  Even so, the UDI system has yet to be implemented.  At this point, the plan is stuck at the Office of Management and Budget, which must approve what the Food and Drug Administration submitted last summer.  The sooner this system is in place, the better for patients who have received medical devices.  Senator Kohl, Senator Blumenthal and I have urged the Office of Management and Budget to act and, this month, I joined Senator Jeff Merkley in introducing a bill (S.2193) that would require a final UDI rule by the end of 2012.  The legislation also would add medical devices to a post-market surveillance initiative launched in 2008.  This Sentinel system is an integrated electronic system that tracks prescription drug safety nationwide.  The post-market surveillance work of the Food and Drug Administration must be empowered to use the valuable information about drugs and devices available when millions of people start using products, compared to what can be known before a drug or device goes on the market.


March 19, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Rural Health Care Provider to Hold Media Conference Call on 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by USDA Communications   
Friday, 23 March 2012 11:47

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2012 – Tomorrow, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a media conference call on the 2nd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.  He will be joined by Carolyn Sheridan, a rural health care provider from Spencer, Iowa. Sheridan also serves as the Clinical Director of AgriSafe, a non-profit organization representing health professionals who provide health care services to farm families.


The President's health law gives hard working, middle-class families the security they deserve.  The Affordable Care Act forces insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy through annual or lifetime limits, and, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.


As chair of the White House Rural Council, Secretary Vilsack is working to ensure that rural Americans are aware of the many ways the Affordable Care Act impacts them.  Specifically, rural families will see improved access to care, new options for those with pre-existing conditions, coverage for young adults so they can remain locally and contribute to their rural economies, and reduced insurance barriers to emergency services.

Upcoming American Red Cross blood drives April 1-15 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ben Corey   
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:14

Feel Good about Giving Back by Donating Blood

The American Red Cross reminds eligible, volunteer blood donors that in about an hour, they can help save lives by donating blood. As Americans become increasingly mobile, eligible donors can feel good knowing that when donating blood through the Red Cross, they may be helping patients not only in their local community, but also their family and friends across the nation.

Approximately 21,000 times a day, patients receive blood from Red Cross blood donors. All blood types are currently needed to help maintain a sufficient and stable blood supply. Feel good about giving back to those in need by donating blood today.

How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red  Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.

Blood Donation Opportunities


  • 4/5/2012, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Chadwick Fire Department, 210 Calvert Street, Chadwick, IL


  • 4/9/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Sacred Heart Church, 108 N. Main, Annawan, IL
  • 4/11/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St., Kewanee, IL


  • 4/10/2012, 1:00 pm- 6:30 pm, Calvary Lutheran Church, Box 97/121 N. Meridian St., New Windsor, IL


  • 4/6/2012, 10:00 am- 1:00 pm, Hy-Vee, 2200 W. Kimberly Rd., Davenport, IA


  • 4/3/2012, 8:00 am-11:00 am, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton, IL
  • 4/3/2012, 10:00 am- 3:00 pm, Morrison Institute of Technology, 701 Portland, Morrison, IL
  • 4/4/2012, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock Falls, IL
  • 4/5/2012, 10:00 am- 4:00 pm, CGH Medical Center, 100 E. LeFevre Road, Sterling, IL
  • 4/9/2012, 11:30 am- 5:30 pm, Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico CUSD #3, 79 Grove St., Prophetstown, IL
  • 4/10/2012, 1:00 pm- 5:15 pm, Old Fulton Fire Station, 912 4th Street, Fulton, IL
  • 4/11/2012, 9:00 am- 2:00 pm, Sterling High School, 1608 4th Ave., Sterling, IL
  • 4/11/2012, 10:00 am- 2:00 pm, Rock Falls Blood Donation Center, 112 W. Second St., Rock Falls, IL

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.™

AARP Thanks Iowa Senate for Passing SF 2298 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ann Black   
Monday, 19 March 2012 12:32

AARP Thanks Iowa Senate for Passing Legislation to Professionalize Iowa’s Largest Workforce: Direct Care Workers

Des Moines, March 12, 2012—AARP thanks the Iowa Senate for passing Senate File 2298 this afternoon, the first step to professionalizing Iowa’s largest workforce - Direct Care Workers.


“AARP thanks members of the Iowa Senate for passing Senate File 2298 today, leading the way to improve and support Iowa’s largest skilled workforce so that Iowa is prepared to care to meet our state’s future needs,” said Kent Sovern, AARP Iowa State Director.


A task force made up of members of Iowa’s direct care workers as well as industry providers has spent more than two years developing the recommendations proposed by Senate File 2298.  The legislation establishes core state standards for training, creates career pathways for advancement and specialization, and creates a Board to oversee these professional standards.  Currently, Iowa has professional oversight boards and requires qualitative credentialing for all plumbers, hair stylists, massage therapists and a host of other occupations, but does not require a similar credentialing for all direct care workers.


“AARP commends the Iowa Senate for supporting the recommendations of the Direct Care Worker Task Force and professionalizing Direct Care Workers,” said Sovern.  “This is the first step toward giving Iowa’s direct care workers the recognition and professional status they want and deserve, and creating the environment necessary for workers to meet the growing health care needs of our state.”


With an estimated 73,000 direct care workers in Iowa, these paid caregivers make up the largest segment of Iowa’s workforce.  Moreover, demand for direct care services is high and growing.  Iowa will need an additional 12,000 direct care workers by 2012.  High turnover is a persistent challenge.  This legislation elevates the profession by offering all Iowa’s direct care workers portable training and credentials.


AARP hopes SF 2298 will find strong support among Iowa’s Representatives to better serve Iowa’s long-term care needs as it moves to the Iowa House.

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