Health Highlights: May 20, 2014
Former NFL Players Sue League Over Drug UseMinnesota Bans Anti-Bacterial Chemical Triclosan in SoapsDenge Fever Causes Concern as Brazil Hosts World Cup
Minnesota Bans Anti-Bacterial Chemical Triclosan in Soaps
A germ-killing ingredient that's widely used in products such as soaps, toothpaste and deodorants is being banned in Minnesota due to health and environmental concerns.
A bill to prohibit the use of triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products was signed Friday by Gov. Mark Dayton and is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Minnesota is the first state to take such action, the Associated Press reported.
Studies in lab animals have suggested that triclosan may disrupt hormones that play an important role in reproduction and development, while other research indicates that triclosan may contribute to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
An estimated 75 percent of anti-bacterial soaps and body washes sold in the United States contain triclosan, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency and other experts say there's no evidence that soaps with triclosan are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing the spread of diseases, the AP reported.
Other states and the federal government are likely to take action against triclosan, said state Sen. John Marty, one of the lead sponsors of the Minnesota bill. He added that many companies are likely to voluntarily remove triclosan from their products.
Extensive research has shown that triclosan provides important health benefits, according to the American Cleaning Institute, which urged Gov. Dayton to veto the bill, the AP reported.
Denge Fever Causes Concern as Brazil Hosts World Cup
A dengue fever epidemic in Brazil has public health officials concerned that some of the millions of soccer fans who come to see the World Cup will carry the disease back home with them.
Brazil, which had about 1.4 million cases of dengue fever last year, will host the World Cup from June 12 to July 13. The event will be held in a dozen cities throughout the country.
A team of scientists concluded that the dengue threat would be highest for tourists visiting the cities of Natal, Fortaleza and Recife, all located on the northeastern coast, The New York Times reported.
The researchers said that Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus were "medium risk" cities, and that the remainder of cities hosting the World Cup were low risk.
The fear is that some visitors could carry the virus that causes dengue fever back home, where it could spread if they are bitten by mosquitoes belonging to the genus Aedes, The Times reported.
The study was published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.