Monthly Archives: August 2014

Secretary Kerry on New European Council President and High Representative

I want to congratulate Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on his election as President of the European Council, and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini on her appointment as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Prime Minister was a warm host when I visited Warsaw last November, and when President Obama and I returned earlier this year. The Polish people are strong and rightly proud of their country, and I know the Prime Minister will carry his leadership to the Council.

I have met with Foreign Minister Mogherini several times, most recently in Paris last month, and I value the collegial rapport we have developed as we work on a range of challenging issues.

I look forward to working closely together with both leaders to overcome the stark challenges we face to security, democracy, and freedom in Europe’s east, the Middle East, and throughout the world – and to defend and achieve our common vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

I also want to salute President Van Rompuy and especially High Representative Ashton, my close colleague and partner on the full range of global security issues, for their dedicated and indispensable work helping to steer the European Union through the last years.

The United States and Europe share deep common commitments to freedom, security, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and open markets. We are joined by enduring links of culture and commerce, by our shared history and our common hopes for the future.

As the European Union names its new leaders and moves to confirm a new Commission, I look forward to continuing our work together to build an ever stronger transatlantic relationship, and a safer, more prosperous world for future generations.

Labor Day Message: Honoring Working Men and Women

On Monday, September 1st, communities across the United States will come together to honor the contributions of working men and women, across generations, who have built this country up. Standing up for the dignity of work – the belief that honest, fairly compensated labor gives meaning and structure to our lives – is and always will be a core American value. Our workers have made us who we are today.

Workers are the backbone of nations. They provide essential contributions to local economies – and also contribute to democratic progress and stability. Independent labor organizations are, at their best, incubators of democratic practices at the grassroots level. Respecting workers’ rights and bringing workers into the formal economy leads to positive, long-term economic outcomes, such as reduced inequality and increased foreign direct investment.

Standing up for workers’ rights and decent work across the globe is not only the right thing to do, but it is a sound investment – creating jobs at home and abroad, strengthening stability and security, and promoting democracy and prosperity for all. Secretary Kerry said: “as the aspirations that make America great go global, there are incredible opportunities for America to benefit and also to provide leadership. The work we do [abroad] – the exports we sell, the democracies we support, the high standards that we set – all of them can create jobs and opportunity right here at home.”

And so the U.S. government promotes internationally recognized labor rights, including expanding economic opportunity for young people, women, and informal economy workers, and more fully integrating these workers into their nations’ political and economic spheres.

Workers everywhere should be free to exercise their fundamental rights and enjoy decent working conditions. The State Department supports this agenda through policy, trade relationships, and programming – bringing together governments, the private sector, civil society and labor organizations to discuss shared challenges of addressing labor and human rights around the world.

I wish you, and workers everywhere, a safe and enjoyable Labor Day.

Learn more about U.S. government engagement on international labor rights at www.HumanRights.gov, or follow the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at Facebook.com/stateDRL or @State_DRL on Twitter.

About the Author: Steven Feldstein serves as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

– Source: DipNote, the official blog of the U.S. Department of State

NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on European Council Meeting

We welcome the European Council’s consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days. We are working closely with the EU and other partners to hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine, including through additional economic sanctions. We remain committed to supporting Ukraine as it seeks a diplomatic resolution to the crisis and call on Russia to immediately remove its military, including troops and equipment, from Ukraine and end its illicit support to the separatists.

– Source: whitehouse.gov

Secretary Kerry on International Day of the Disappeared

Countless people around the world are haunted by the disappearance of a loved one. Those who vanished are neither alive nor dead. Their mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, family and friends are left without closure – neither able to mourn their loss nor rejoice in the safe return of their loved ones.

Today, we mark the 31st International Day of the Disappeared and remember those individuals whose locations and fates remain unknown. Too often, lawyers, investigative journalists, and human rights activists fall victim to kidnapping for simply speaking the truth. That is unacceptable.

In Syria, thousands have disappeared at the hands of the Assad government. Violent extremist groups such as ISIL are ruthlessly targeting and disappearing innocent civilians in Syria and Iraq. In Nigeria, extremists kidnapped the Chibok girls from their school in the middle of the night. Such disappearances bring suffering to the victims and heartbreak to their families. They also create toxic atmospheres and breed terror within communities.

The State Department commends those men and women who work tirelessly to bring home missing individuals. The advancement of DNA sampling and analysis has helped reunite families who have suffered from unjust disappearances. Just last year the State Department helped to reunite a woman in Latin America who was abducted from her family during a massacre in 1982. She was only 18 months old at the time.

The United States and our international partners remain vigilant in our pursuit of those missing around the globe. They are missing, but never left behind. They are gone, but not lost. They are taken, but not forgotten.

CAPACITY ( 14V445000 )

Dated: MAY 12, 2014 Capacity of Texas (Capacity) is recalling certain model year 2008-2014 terminal tractors trucks equipped with certain Cummins Westport Model ISL G and ISX12 G engines. Condensation in the intake mani…

U of Oregon Grads Plot the Future of Rural Health Care

This USA Today article discusses how two college graduates are working to address healthcare challenges faced by rural communities. Orchid Health, their innovative response to the challenges, offers memberships to patients for a monthly free. For non-members the company accepts patients with Medicare and Medicaid and offers cash walk-in prices. Source: USA Today

4C Foods Corp. Voluntarily Recalls 4C Grated Cheese Homestyle Parmesan Because of Salmonella Contamination

4C Foods Corp. is recalling its 6-oz. glass jars of “4C Grated Cheese HomeStyle Parmesan”, UPC 0-41387-32790-8 with code dates BEST BY JUL 21 2016 and JUL 22 2016 due to possible contamination with Salmonella. This recall does not impact any other 4C cheese products. Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Regeneca Worldwide, a Division of Vivaceuticals, Inc Expands the Voluntarily Recall of Regeneslim Appetite Control Capsules Due to the Presence of DMAA that May Pose Possible Health Risk

Regeneca Worldwide a division of VivaCeuticals, Inc. Las Vegas, NV is expanding the voluntary nationwide recall of its RegeneSlim appetite control dietary supplement to include lot #823230415, lot #EX0616r 15813, Lot # EX0616R15814 and Lot #11414re5516 because FDA analysis confirmed the presence of DMAA. DMAA is also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, methylhexanamine, or geranium extract. DMAA is commonly used as a stimulant, pre-workout, and weight loss ingredient in dietary supplement products.

Kraft Foods Group Voluntarily Recalls Select Varieties of Regular Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product Due to Ingredient Supplier’s Out-of-Standard Storage Temperatures

Kraft Foods Group is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of select varieties of regular Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product. A supplier did not store an ingredient used in this product in accordance with Kraft’s temperature standards.

Freshwater harmful algal bloom exposure – an emerging health risk for recreational water users

Freshwater harmful algal bloom exposure – an emerging health risk for recreational water users
Elizabeth D. Hilborn1, Virginia A. Roberts2, Lorraine C. Backer3, Jonathan S. Yoder2, Timothy J. Wade1, Michele C. Hlavsa2
1Environmental Public Health Division, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, 2Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Introduction: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly reported among fresh water bodies used for recreation. These blooms, primarily composed of cyanobacteria, are more likely to occur during warm weather and have the potential to produce multiple toxins that adversely impact human and animal health.
Methods: We characterized outbreaks associated with HABs during 2009 – 2010 that were voluntarily reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by states via the national Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (WBDOSS). Outbreaks consisted of two or more cases of human illness epidemiologically linked to a common HAB exposure in a recreational water setting.
Results: Three states reported 11 outbreaks of human illness associated with freshwater HABs that occurred during summer months of 2009 – 2010. Two of these states had been participating in enhanced HAB surveillance. At least 61 people became ill, 58 sought health care and 2 were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Among 58 individuals with data to characterize sex or age, 34 were female and 38 were < 19 years of age. Gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermal, eye, ear, general (e.g., fever, headache) and neurologic signs and symptoms were reported. Eight outbreaks included water testing for cyanobacteria toxins; microcystin (n=8), anatoxin-a (n=3), saxitoxin (n=2), and cylindrospermopsin (n=2) were detected within 1 day of the outbreak exposure period. Two outbreaks involved potentially-associated animal illness or death. A review of WBDOSS data yielded three previous freshwater outbreaks associated with HABs; one occurred in 2001, and two occurred in 2004.
Summary: Eleven freshwater HAB-associated outbreaks were reported to WBDOSS for 2009-2010; over 60% (n=34) of ill persons were 19 years of age or younger. This increased number of reports from three states still likely underrepresents the actual public health impact of HAB events nationally. This abstract does not represent EPA policy.

County-level environmental quality and associations with cancer incidence

Cancer has been associated with individual ambient environmental exposures such as PM2.5 and arsenic. However, the role of the overall ambient environment is not well-understood. A novel county-level Environmental Quality Index (EQI) was developed for all U.S. counties (n=3,141) from 2000-2005 data representing five environmental domains: air, water, land, built, and sociodemographic. We linked the EQI to Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program county-level annual age-adjusted cancer incidence rates for 2006-2010. Sex-stratified random intercept multi-level linear regression models, clustered by state, estimated fixed effects of EQI quintiles on all-site cancer incidence, adjusting for county percentage ever smoked (both sexes) and percentage to have had a mammogram and pap smear (females). Results are reported as incidence rate difference (95% confidence interval) comparing highest quintile/worst environmental quality to lowest/best. All cause cancer was strongly positively associated with EQI in both sexes (males: 32.60(16.28,48.91), females: 30.34(20.47,40.21)). In rural-urban continuum codes (RUCC)-stratified models, ranging from metropolitan urbanized (RUCC1) to rural (RUCC4), we observed positive associations between environmental quality and all-cause mortality for most strata of males (RUCC1: 27.01(11.29, 42.74); RUCC2: 11.29(-18.10,40.67), RUCC3: 25.66(3.85,47.47), RUCC4: -12.12(-50.65,26.42)) and all strata of females (RUCC1: 21.76(8.26,35.26); RUCC2: 2.34(1.62,3.06), RUCC3: 1.77(1.19,2.35), RUCC4: 2.06(0.93,3.19)). Associations in the most urbanized areas were strongest. We also examined the top 3 causes of cancer in each sex. Subtype incidence demonstrated results similar to all-cause cancer. Associations by individual environmental domains will also be presented. These results suggest that environmental exposures can greatly influence cancer risk, and associations vary by urbanicity. This abstract does not necessarily reflect EPA policy.

Evaluation of key events in the mode of action for a carry-over carcinogen in mice

Evaluation of key events in the mode of action for a carry-over carcinogen in mice
Charles E. Wood, April D. Lake, Greg Olson, Michael H. George, Susan D. Hester, Anthony B. DeAngelo
Introduction: Early life environmental exposures are established determinants for adverse health outcomes later in life, although epigenetic drivers for these effects are not currently known. Previously we found that postnatal exposure to dichloroacetic acid (DCA), a common drinking water disinfection byproduct, increased liver tumorigenesis in mice 80 weeks after exposure was stopped. Here we evaluated time course dynamics of key events related to this effect. Experimental Design: The study followed a stop-promotion design in which 28-day old male B6C3F1 mice were given the following treatments in drinking water for up to 93 weeks: deionized water (dH20; control); 3.5 g/l DCA continuously; or 3.5 g/l DCA for 4, 10, 26, or 52 weeks followed by control dH20. Endpoints included liver tumorigenesis, cytotoxicity, and quantitative cell proliferation evaluated across eight time points. Results: Liver tumor incidence was increased in all DCA treatment groups. No group differences in preneoplastic foci were observed. Minimal hepatocellular necrosis was observed with direct DCA exposure, but this effect did not persist after stopping DCA. Prior DCA treatment did not result in increased liver cell proliferation. Conclusion: Transient early adult DCA treatment of relatively short duration (4 weeks) captured the majority of carcinogenic effects resulting from lifetime exposure. This carry-over effect was not associated with sustained cytotoxicity, increased cell proliferation, or preneoplastic lesions. Impact Statement: Key intermediate events resulting from early life DCA exposure do not fit the classical mitogenic or cytotoxic modes of action for non-genotoxic carcinogenesis. Alternative epigenetic mechanisms for this distinctive effect are currently unidentified.

Disclaimer: The research described in this article has been reviewed by the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, and approved for publication. Approval does not signify that the contents necessarily reflect the views and the policies of the Agency.

Dust Storms and Mortality in the United States, 1995-2005

Extreme weather events, such as dust storms, are predicted to become more frequent as the global climate warms through the 21st century. The impact of dust storms on human health has been studied extensively in the context of Asian, Saharan, Arabian, and Australian storms, but there has been little recent population-level epidemiological research on the dust storms in North America. The purpose of the present study is to examine the association between dust storms and mortality in urban metropolitan areas in the United States between 1995 and 2005. Dust storm incidence data, including date and approximate location, are taken from the U.S. National Weather Service storm database. Mortality data for every metropolitan area in the United States were acquired from the National Center for Health Statistics. Conditional logistic regression models were used to study the relationship between mortality and dust storms while accounting for meteorological and air pollutant confounders. Preliminary results based on 421 dust storms occurring in the years 2001-2005 indicate a positive association between dust storms and lagged respiratory mortality.

Disclaimer: This abstract does not necessarily reflect U.S. EPA policy.

EnviroAtlas-Communities: Identifying Nature’s Benefits, Deficits, and Opportunities for Equitable Distribution in Populated Places

Cities, towns, and Tribes rely on clean air, water and other natural resources for economic sustainability and quality of life. Yet natural resources and their benefits are not always fully understood or considered in local decisions. EnviroAtlas is a web-based, easy-to-use mapping tool designed for citizens and planners to assess the status of local and surrounding natural resources and their benefits to society. The Communities component emphasizes connections between ecosystem services and public health and well-being. More than 100 ecosystem services metrics and indicators, socioeconomic data layers, and societal benefits are summarized at the U.S. Census block-group level. Community data can also be used with EnviroAtlas national data, summarized by 12 digit HUC (USGS hydrologic units). These resources help to identify where natural infrastructure meets community demand and where supply falls short. The initial public release of EnviroAtlas features six pilot communities: Durham, NC; Portland, ME; Tampa, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; Milwaukee, WI; and Phoenix, AZ.