The Sweet Smell of Carcinogens
March 30th, 2011
Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, shampoos, air fresheners, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and “odor neutralizing” sprays–all come in a variety of chemically created scents, and many of the chemicals are classified as toxic.
A study reported in ScienceDaily reported that 25 commonly used scented products emit an average of 17 chemicals each. Of the 133 different chemicals detected, nearly a quarter are classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law. Only one emitted compound was listed on a product label, and only two were publicly disclosed anywhere. The frightening fact is that these toxic chemicals were included even in products labeled as “natural.”
“We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, organic or natural,” said lead author Anne Steinemann, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs. “Surprisingly, the green products’ emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from the other products.” [italics added by blogger]
Believe it or not, manufacturers are not required to disclose any ingredients in cleaning supplies, air fresheners, or laundry products…and all those products, as well as personal care products (such as soaps and shampoos), are not required to list ingredients used to create fragrances. But get this: Creating a single fragrance can require mixing several hundred chemical ingredients.
Of the 25 products tested, all–ALL–emitted at least one chemical classified as toxic or hazardous. Eleven products emitted at least one probable carcinogen. And the 25 products emitted a cumulative total of 420 chemicals and none of them were disclosed on the product labels. Why? The manufacturers claim that their scents are based on secret formulas.
The researchers, and many physicians who study chemical hazards, say that the best way to avoid potential toxic exposure is to use unscented products. If unscented isn’t a possibility, make sure you open windows to ventilate the area.
“In the past two years, I’ve received more than 1,000 e-mails, messages, and telephone calls from people saying: ‘Thank you for doing this research, these products are making me sick, and now I can start to understand why,’” Steinemann said.
To read the full article, click here: Scented Consumer Products Shown to Emit Many Unlisted Chemicals
Older Adults With Limitations Benefit from Volunteering
March 29th, 2011
It seems counterintuitive, but research shows that volunteering can provide health benefits…even for older adults who have physical limitations that make daily activities difficult.
“As functional limitations increase, the risk of dying increases, but not among those who volunteered,” said Morris Okun, an Arizona State University professor of psychology [and lead author of the study]. “By helping other people, you are actually helping yourself.”
The study, reported in article in ScienceDaily, used data from over 900 non-institutionalized adults age 65 and older. Those with functional limitations–who have difficulty performing physical tasks such as carrying groceries or driving a car–benefitted from volunteering: They had improvements in terms of longevity. Statistically, they lived longer than people with functional limitations who did not volunteer…and they had greater benefits compared with healthy people who also volunteered. In other words: The “sicker” people benefitted most from volunteering.
The researchers don’t know why this is true, but they have a theory:
“People who have the beginning of a set of functional limitations are the kinds of people who are experiencing some diminished sense of usefulness. We know that a sense of usefulness is a predictor of mortality in older people,” Okun explained.
The trick is to find a way to volunteer that doesn’t require extensive physical activity, but there are lots of opportunities. Volunteers can make phone calls, lick envelopes, give attention to animals in a shelter, read to children or those with sight problems, become a pen pal to children with learning disabilities, or anything that uses talents (and interests) unaffected by physical limitations.
To read a copy of the ScienceDaily article, click here: Volunteering Can Benefit Those with Functional Limitations
Man charged after Asheville auto accident
March 29th, 2011
March 24, 2011
A man has been charged after being involved in an Asheville auto accident, the Citizen-Times reports.
The vehicle the man was driving in the Asheville auto accident was stolen. The driver was charged with one count of common law robbery after assaulting a man at Black Mountain Recreation Park.
How would it make you feel to be assaulted and then have your vehicle stolen, only to find out it had been wrecked? How often do you think stolen vehicles are recovered?
If you or someone you know has been involved in an Asheville auto accident, the North Carolina auto accident lawyers at Henson Fuerst Attorneys can help.
Five Steps To Eliminating Traffic Deaths
March 29th, 2011
Want to totally eliminate motor vehicle fatalities in North Carolina? Dr. Herb Garrison, head of the East Carolina Injury Prevention Program, knows how…and he has outlined his methods in the latest issue of the North Carolina Medical Journal. The article, written with coauthor Jennifer Smith, is titled: Is Fatality-Free Travel on North Carolina’s Streets and Highways Feasible? It’s Time to Think the Unthinkable.
According to an article published in the News & Observer, there were 1,312 road fatalities last year in North Carolina. Dr. Garrison believes all of those deaths could have been prevented.
“In the emergency room, we see lots of hurt people from car wrecks,” Garrison, 57, told the Road Worrier. “Having fatality-free highways is not an unrealistic goal, but it’s one we need to keep working at every day.”
His provocative 5-point plan for eliminating road deaths is:
- Make 17 the minimum driving age.
- Create special courts for DWE cases to boost conviction rates…and alcohol interlocks mandatory for all DWI offenders.
- Ban hand-held phone use while driving.
- Build more bike lanes and sidewalks.
- Add proven road design elements: more roundabouts at intersections, and make rumble strips standard on road shoulders and center lines.
Dr. Garrison also would like to see stricter enforcement of seatbelt laws and speed limits.
According to the article in the North Carolina Medical Journal:
Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said recently that “society should treat traffic fatalities as a disease to be eliminated.”
We agree. It will take effort on all our parts, but nothing tremendously burdensome. It comes down to recognizing that the way we’ve always done things may not be the best way. It’s easy to get irritated when asked to put down the cell phone, but there is a greater good: The traffic death you prevent may be a family member or a friend. HensonFuerst applauds Dr. Garrison for publishing his insights, and we hope that North Carolina takes steps to move toward his traffic utopia.
To read the full medical journal article, click here: Is Fatality-Free Travel on North Carolina’s Streets and Highways Feasible? It’s Time to Think the Unthinkable.
To read the full newspaper article, click here: News & Observer
And please feel free to visit our website for more information about the legal aspects of motor vehicle wrecks: HensonFuerst
Concussions Affect Women More Than Men
March 28th, 2011
A recent article in The Globe and Mail (a newspaper out of Toronto, Canada) reports on new research that suggest that:
- Women are more likely than men to suffer a sports-related concussion;
- Women have more severe symptoms in the days immediately following the concussion;
- Women may experience symptoms for a longer period of time than men, and may need to sit out of sports for months or even years.
The final point is still under investigation by Dave Ellemberg and other scientists at the University of Montreal.
“The current clinical assessment protocols and return to play guidelines, which are almost entirely based on research with male athletes, are not only inappropriate for women but likely place them at a greater risk of suffering multiple concussions and experiencing long-term consequences of their injuries,” Ellemberg says.
Although no one really knows why women are more susceptible to concussion, experts believe it may be due to physiology (women have weaker necks), chemistry (subtle differences in neurochemicals), or behavioral/societal differences (variations in the way men and women train or are coached).
There are risks associated with all sports and all kinds of physical activity, Covassin says [Tracey Covassin, a Canadian researcher at Michigan State University, and no one wants girls or women to stop playing hockey, soccer or other sports. She suspects that female athletes are getting more concussions because they are stronger, faster and more aggressive than in the past. Women are also more likely to be honest about their symptoms, she says, since unlike their male counterparts, they don’t risk losing lucrative professional contracts if they are injured.
The lesson for young female athletes and their parents is primarily awareness. Be aware of the symptoms of concussion…of the possibility of long-term effects…of the necessity to remain on the sidelines until all symptoms are gone. Concussions deserve the same respect we all give to a broken bone. Concussions are a form of brain trauma, mild but serious nonetheless.
To read the full article in The Globe and Mail, click here: Females More Susceptible to Concussion, Studies Suggest
For more information about brain injury, visit our website at http://www.lawmed.com/. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
No job at all better than a bad job?
March 28th, 2011
I newly released study suggests the above to be true, at least as it relates to your mental health. Everybody has heard of the detrimental effects on self-esteem, image, self-worth, etc., that not being employed has on a person. However, this study suggests that those who have horrible, demoralizing jobs are mentally better off without a job at all: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/14/unemployment.health/index.html.
Will NHL Take Action Against Concussion?
March 27th, 2011
With Brain Injury Awareness month coming to a close, there is one final bit of good news: Pro hockey may finally recognize that game violence puts players at risk for concussion, and–here’s the exciting part–there are talks about how to curb head injuries. Perhaps they could take a lesson from the National Football League (NFL) and think big. Like, with a poster.
This past football season saw a new emphasis on concussion prevention, sideline diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. The NFL started its 2010 season by hanging posters in all team locker rooms describing the symptoms of concussion and clarifying the NFL’s position on how they should be reported and treated. Next, the NFL announced fines for helmet-to-helmet hits. During the first week after the fines were announced, three players felt the hurt: Two players received fines of $50,000, and one player–James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers–was fined $75,000.
Those changes were implemented because concussion is no longer thought to be just a minor bump on the noggin. Recent research suggests that repeated concussions may be more than just a passing pain–they may cause early dementia and neurologic wasting similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease. Repeated concussions have also been linked to some recent suicides. It now seems irresponsible not to change the rules of the game to protect players.
Well, football season is over, and now its hockey’s turn to try to make a difference.
According to an article in The New York Times, change won’t come easy. There are two extremes in the concussion debate:
…general managers, sponsors and fans who favor a ban on hits to the head and their old-school counterparts who see such a drastic rule change as potentially robbing the league of its rugged appeal just when its popularity is growing.
Interestingly, head-hits are totally banned by the International Ice Hockey Federation, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Ontario Hockey League. And yet, the NHL still feels the need for debate. There is a partial ban, which outlaws blindside hits to the head and deliberate head shots. But checks to the head from straight-on are still legal. That’s right: It is perfectly legal for players to hit each other in the head as long as they deliver the head-check from straight ahead. Some are defending this Neanderthal practice. As reported in the article in The New York Times:
A leading voice among traditionalists is Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, who has spoken often about the need to preserve “the fabric of our game.”
Recently, Burke said: “We want that hit in our game. What’s distinctive about our game from anywhere else in the world is the amount of body contact. So we have to try to take out the more dangerous hits and make it safer for the players, but keep hitting in the game.”
But many others see new rules to protect players against concussion as inevitable…and logical. There was a time when people debated whether players should stay on the ice the whole time, or if substitutions would be allowed…and there was a time when helmets were controversial. Everything changes over time, even sports. In this case, medical science has discovered that concussions can be a serious health risk; it’s up to the NHL to respond with appropriate safety regulations. Broken bones heal, but brain injuries can cause permanent and life-altering damage. We challenge the NHL to emulate pro football’s response to the concussion threat.
To read the full New York Times article, click here: Regulating Hits to Head Tests N.H.L. Tradition
“Granny Cam” Captures Images of Abuse
March 25th, 2011
When 87-year-old Modesta Alvarado suffered a stroke last year, she was left paralyzed, but aware. Her daughter, Gloria Diaz, made the difficult decision to place Ms. Alvarado in a nursing home. She visited everyday and became friendly with the nurses and caregivers. And yet, something was wrong….
Diaz kept finding unexplained bruises on her mother. Despite multiple complaints, nothing was ever done. Suspicions raised, Diaz hid a camera in her mother’s nursing home room. According to an article on NorthJersey.com:
Police said the video shows Julia Galvan, a 59-year-old North Bergen [New Jersey] resident, slapping Modesta Alvarado’s head, then delivering two more fierce blows on Jan. 15. Alvarado’s eyes and mouth opened wide in reaction to the aide’s abuse. Galvan is also seen on the film pulling off Alvarado’s oxygen mask, attorney Eugene Horn said. The elderly patient, who had suffered a stroke a year ago and couldn’t move, was unable to defend herself, Horn said.
Ms. Alvarado was found dead by staff less than 24 hours after the alleged attack was caught on tape, but the medical examiner found that the abuse did not cause the death.
Abuse should never be tolerated, and abuse of a helpless elderly person is especially heinous. It’s a shame that Ms. Diaz’s concerns were never addressed, leaving her frustrated enough that she felt she had no other choice but to get answers via a hidden camera.
“They [the nursing home] promise they will take care of a loved one if you are not able to,” Horn said. “They promise dignity and safety and unfortunately that was not the case.”
To read the full article on NorthJersey.com, click here: North Bergen family used hidden camera in elder abuse case
If you want to purchase your own “Granny Cam,” choose a reputable company. Many electronics are manufactured at very low cost overseas, and many are of low quality–some have a fail-rate of 30%. Among the best companies that provide hidden-camera options is Spy Camera Specialists (www.spycameras.com). There are many options that provide flexibility in how you can hide the camera, so peruse the site and choose the model that suits your needs. Be sure to keep in mind: 1) camera resolution; 2) battery life; 3) memory capability; 4) whether you can have motion-detection features (which can preserve battery and camera memory, especially in a relatively quiet nursing home room); and 5) video retrieval (for example, is the camera compatible with your computer).
And if you believe that someone you love is being abused in a nursing home and want to discuss your legal options, feel free to call us at 1-800-4-LAWMED. We’re available 24/7. Or, you can visit the website for HensonFuerst Attorneys at http://www.lawmed.com/. If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.
Preventing Knee Injuries
March 25th, 2011
I have represented more workers for knee injuries than almost any other type of injury. A torn meniscus or a ruptured ACL, for example can be very debilitating. Many times though, people would not sustain the degree of injury, or be injured at all, if the muscles surrounding the knee were stronger. The more you can develop the quadriceps, hamstrings, and improve your overall balance, the less likely you are to sustain injury. So, there’s only one thing to do, get to the gym everybody! http://kneestrengtheningexercises.org/
Preventing Back Injuries at Work
March 25th, 2011
No matter your profession back pain affects everybody. Whether you sit at a desk all day, or swing a hammer on a construction site, you have experienced back pain. The good news is that back pain is preventable and treatable. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/HQ00955