Vol. 24 July 1, 2010 More Things That Can Harm or Kill Ya.

July 1, 2010

Average number of Americans hospitalized each July with sparkler injuries: 1,020 (1)

Per cent of 1255 people (100%) going to the ER with serious food allergy symptoms due to peanuts or milk respectively:  23% / 15% (2)

Per cent of people who self-report having a milk allergy or a peanut allergy that actually have a positive skin or blood test for either allergy: <1% (3)

Amount spent by food companies on cross-promotion advertising (agreements between different companies to promote each other’s products) to children and adolescents in 2006:  $195 million (4)

Number of cross-promoted products in 2006 and 2008 respectively: 96 / 171

Per cent of cross-promoted food that met the Institute of Medicine’s standards for foods sold in schools: 18%

Increased risk of collision when texting while driving: X 23 (5)

Number of annual traffic accidents associated with use of cell phone talking or texting: 1.6 million

Per cent of all traffic accidents associated with same: 28%

Number of states that have passed laws regarding cellphone use while driving: 40

Rate of gastrointestinal bleeding within 30 days of a colonoscopy: 1.6 per 1000 exams (6)

  • This very low rate and the even lower rate of 1 perforation per 5000 exams means that colonoscopies are quite safe.

Per cent reduction in rates of all kinds of cancer in people who eat lots of fruits and vegetable: 3%

  • This massive study of 500,000 people in 11 European countries completing a year-long food-frequency questionnaire with an average of 9 years of follow-up led the NIH to the conclusion that “a broad effort to increase fruit and vegetable consumption would not have an effect on cancer incidence” …unless you are a smoker or a heavy drinker. (7)

Increased risk of dying from a motorcycle injury if you are over 40 years old rather than under 40:  x 2  (8)

Per cent of injured motorcyclists who were wearing a helmet:  73% for both over and under 40 years old

Number of poisonous gases , chemicals, or metals identified in tobacco smoke:  250 (9)

Number of those that are classified as class A carcinogens: 11

Chance that a lifelong smoker will die prematurely from a complication of smoking:  50% (10)

Per cent who resume smoking within one month after trying to quit on their own: 80%

  • There is no question that nicotine is addictive, and that smoking is a highly efficient means of drug administration.
  • Smoking tobacco “improves concentration, reaction time, and performance of certain tasks. Relief from withdrawal symptoms is probably the primary reason for this enhanced performance and heightened mood.”

Number of Burmese pythons captured in the Everglades in 2000 and 2008 respectively:  2 / 343   (11)

  • Such pythons grow to 20 feet in length, weigh up to 200 pounds, and EAT alligators! “By the time they reach two years of age, not much can eat them in the Everglades.” This population was started by the release of pet snakes which can grow from 20 inches to 8 feet in a single year.

Number of minutes of cell phone use equivalent to one day’s exposure to radio frequency waves if you live next to a cell phone tower: 30  (12)

  • This study of 1400 cancer cases in children over a 3 year period in the U.K. showed no increase in childhood cancers in offspring of mothers who lived near cell phone towers while pregnant.

References:
1. Harper’s Index; June 2010, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
2.Pediatrics April 2010
3. JAMA May 2010
4. Public Health Nutr March 2010
5. NEJM June 10, 2010; 362:23
6. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2010 Feb.
7. J Natl Cancer Inst 2010 Apr 21,
8. Univ. of Rochester medical Center
9. NEJM June 17, 2010, 326:24, pg. 2319 National Toxicology Program
10. NEJM 362:24 June 17, 2010, pg. 2295, “Nicotine Addiction”, N. Benowitz, MD
11. Sci Am Feb 2010, pg. 16
12. BMJ online, June 23, 2010, Paul Elliot


Volume 3 August 1, 2009 Health Care Lobbyists, Things That Can Threaten Life or Limb

August 1, 2009

Amount spent nationally in 2008 for all healthcare lobbying: $484 million    Amount per day: $1.3 million                                                                          Amount per each congressman and senator per day: $2,600

Number of health care lobbyists in 2008 and increase since 1998:  3,627 / x2

Number of health care organization in the top ten spenders for Massachusetts lobbyists: 5  Which?: MHA, BC/BS, SEIU 1199, Mass Assoc. of Health Plans, Partners Health Care

Per cent of total health care lobbying money attributed to pharmaceutical interests:  > 50

Amount spent by pharmaceutical companies for lobbying in just the first quarter of 2009: $66 million

Per cent increase that is over last year’s amount: +25

Rank of pharmaceutical industry spending on lobbyists of 121 industries monitored since 1998: 1

Number of years new drug patents are “exclusive” which prohibits generic manufacture: 12

Amount contributed this year by Amgen to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States

Senate at the University of Massachusetts: $1 million

Rank of health professionals lobbying and spending level compared to pharmaceutical: 12 and 1/2

Top five health professional organizations making political contributions in 2008 and amount spent:

Am Med Assoc./ $20.1 million; Am Coll. of Radiology/ $3.4 million; Am. Acad. of Family Practice/

$3.1 million; Am. Assoc. of Orthopedic Surg./ $1.7 million; Am Coll. of ER Physicians/ $1.6 million

Amount of money paid for “No.9” electronic cigarettes in the past two years: $100 million

No. 9 is an E-cigarette that dispenses propylene glycol and liquid nicotine and the plastic tip

glows when you inhale. It dispenses 1/5 as much nicotine and costs about one-half as much as a

real cigarette. One scientist has stated, “There is simply no evidence at this time that electronic

cigarette use poses any significant risk to non-smokers (emphasis added).”

Per cent of Massachusetts registered drivers over 75 and per cent of all auto accidents involving a

driver over 75 respectively: 7 / 3.6

Per cent change since 2004 of Massachusetts accidents involving over 75 year old drivers: -18

This is heartening to those of us who have noticed the recent spurt of stories about the

over 75 year old drivers who have confused the accelerator pedal with the brake pedal.

Ratio of fatalities in accidents at intersections for over 75 and those aged 26 to 64 yrs.:  2:1

Factor by which a driver using a cell phone is more apt to cause an accident: 4x

Chance of reducing that increased risk of an accident by use of a hands-free cell phone: 0

Per cent alcohol level in drivers having the same risk of an accident as a cell phone user: .08

Per cent of 50 states that define drunk driving as a blood alcohol level of .08 or more: 100

Conclusion: If you meet an over 75 year old on a cell phone at an intersection, get out and walk.

Number of Massachusetts soldiers killed in action between 2002 and 2007:  78

Number of Massachusetts  residents dying of a drug overdose in the same period:  3,265

Increased chance of having a blood clot develop in your leg during a long sedentary trip: x3

Per cent increase in risk for each two hour interval of travel: 18 (26% for air travel)

Absolute risk of developing a blood clot during an airplane trip: 1 in 4,600 flights


Quotable Quote

“Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. Woody Allen

Seton Hall University Law School; http://www.healthreformwatch.com/2009/06/27/

Center for Responsive Politics, http://www.opensecrets.org

Boston Globe July 18, 2009,   Mass Secretary of State’s office statistics

Boston Globe, Biotech Firms Push Hard to Protect Profits, July 21, 2009, p.A1

Boston Globe, July 21, 2009, p. G22, Alex Beam

Boston Globe, July 19, 2009, p. B1, David Abel; Mass RMV; US Government Accounting

Office;Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Boston Globe, July 19, 2009, p. A9, Matt Richtel

Massachusetts Oxycontin and Heroin Commission

Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 151: Issue 3, 2009, D. Chandra, et al.


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