The Health News Australia October 20 2017

  • Hundreds of Victorian doctors and medical staff are pressuring their super funds to quit investing in coal and oil for the sake of health, as they did with tobacco five years ago. The group, which includes some of Australia’s leading health experts, says there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is already making people sick and causing thousands of deaths.
  • You’ve probably heard that eight glasses a day is what you should aim for. There are Nutrient Reference Values advising that adult men should drink 2.6 litres of water per day (about 10 cups) and adult women should drink 2.1 litres per day (about eight cups).
  • A top United States environmental official has described the contamination of drinking water by toxic fire fighting chemicals as the most seminal public health challenge of coming decades. The government was warned by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2000 of the dangers of Pfas. Despite this, defence continued to use Pfas firefighting foam at bases until at least 2004, when it began a slow phaseout of the most toxic product.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 20th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/doctors-call-on-health-super-funds-to-pull-17-billion-out-of-coal-and-oil-companies-20171018-gz3ggr.html

Hundreds of Victorian doctors and medical staff are pressuring their super funds to quit investing in coal and oil for the sake of health, as they did with tobacco five years ago.
The group, which includes some of Australia’s leading health experts, says there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is already making people sick and causing thousands of deaths. Hundreds of medical staff in Victoria are pressuring their super funds to divest from corporations that are based on fossil fuels. They want the two largest health super funds, HESTA and First State, to divest from fossil fuel-based companies, arguing the nest eggs of the medical profession should not be built on industries that make people sick.

Combined, the two default health super funds have about one point seventy two billion dollars invested in these heavily fossil fuel-based companies, according to Market Forces, an environmental investment advisory group. They point to fatal thunderstorm asthma attacks in Melbourne last year and the forty five-day Hazelwood mine fire as recent local examples.
More than six hundred fifty health professionals nationwide have signed up to the cause so far, including former Australian of the year Professor Fiona Stanley, celebrated for her achievements in child health, and Doctor Grant Blashki, associate professor in global health at the University of Melbourne’s Nossal Institute.    

The pro-divestment group, called Healthy Futures, have called on HESTA and First State to abandon their investments in companies including Caltex, Woodside Petroleum, Exxon and Origin. Co-founder Kate Lardner, a Melbourne-based surgical resident, said health workers in the group did not want their retirement savings to support carbon-intensive industries. The Andrews government has commissioned a study into the long-term health effects of the Hazelwood coal mine fire, which blanketed the town of Morwell in smoke and ash for several weeks in two thousand fourteen. It also spent fifteen million on a thunderstorm asthma warning system after Melbourne’s ambulances and hospitals were overwhelmed by people suffering intense asthma attacks last spring.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-10-18/how-much-water-do-we-need-to-drink-a-day/8996668

Most of the health messages we hear are about making sure we drink enough water, especially in hot weather, when you’ve had a tummy bug or when you’re exercising. You’ve probably heard that eight glasses a day is what you should aim for. This advice appears to have come from a nineteen forty five recommendation of the Food and Nutrition Board of the United States National Research Council, which stated: “A suitable allowance of water for adults is two point five litres daily in most instances … most of this quantity is in prepared foods.” But really there’s no hard and fast rule on how much water you need to drink, said Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation dietitian Pennie Taylor. How much water each one of us needs depends on a range of factors, such as our sex, body weight and how much physical activity we do. Another thing to consider is where you live, those who live in a warmer and more humid climates tend to sweat more and lose more fluid. Australia’s current dietary guidelines don’t recommend a specific amount of water, but simply recommend we ‘drink plenty of water’. The guidelines also encourage us to opt for water over juices, soft drinks, cordials or the like.

There are Nutrient Reference Values advising that adult men should drink two point six litres of water per day (about ten cups) and adult women should drink two point one litres per day (about eight cups). But these figures are based on the average weight of men and women, so if you’re underweight or overweight you may consider adjusting your fluid intake — Miss Taylor says a good rule of thumb is thirty five millilitres of fluid per kilogram of bodyweight. Also pregnant or breastfeeding women (who require more fluid), people who live or work in extremely hot climates, and people with high protein diets (the kidneys may need more fluid to help process the increased amount of protein) are encouraged to drink more water. This is because we’re sweating more, and we lose fluid through sweat — anywhere from one hundred millilitres to several litres per day, depending on our activity levels and the temperature. Water makes up about fifty to eighty percent of your lean body mass.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/18/toxic-firefighting-chemicals-the-most-seminal-public-health-challenge

A top United States environmental official has described the contamination of drinking water by toxic fire fighting chemicals as the most seminal public health challenge of coming decades.
The US, like Australia, is still grappling with how to respond to widespread contamination caused by past use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (Pfas) in firefighting foam.
The man made chemicals share a probable link with cancer, do not break down in the environment and have contaminated groundwater, drinking water, soil and waterways.
The Australian government has continued to maintain there is no concrete evidence of a link between the chemicals and adverse health impacts, but has been criticised for the inadequacy of its response. The government’s stated position sits in stark contrast with a view expressed this week by a senior official in the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a government agency and the country’s leading public health institution.  Patrick Breysse, director of the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health, described the chemicals as “one of the most seminal public health challenge for the next decades”, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

….
The Australian government is currently facing two class actions from residents in contaminated communities: Oakey in Queensland and Williamtown in New South Wales.Urgent action has been taken to provide bottled water and a treatment facility for residents in Katherine, in the Northern Territory, after the drinking supply was contaminated. The government was warned by the US Environmental Protection Agency in two thousand of the dangers of Pfas. Despite this, defence continued to use Pfas firefighting foam at bases until at least two thousand four, when it began a slow phaseout of the most toxic product.

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