The white lab coat that patients are accustomed to seeing doctors wear may soon be a thing of the past. Guidance issued this month on what healthcare workers wear outside of the operating room suggests that attire choices should attempt to balance professional appearance, comfort and practicality with the potential role of clothing in the cross-transmission of pathogens.
The water we drink comes from lakes, streams, rivers and underground aquifers. Thus, it’s very important that everyone do their part to reduce the pollution entering waterways that carry our drinking water. This is particularly important with respect to disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Most people throw out of their unused, unneeded or expired medicines by flushing or pouring them down the drain. Since wastewater treatment facilities aren’t designed to remove pharmaceuticals, the disposed compounds end up in our lakes and streams, and ultimately in our drinking water. Indeed, a 2002 U.S. Geological Survey identified a broad rand of chemicals, including antibiotics and non-prescription drugs, at low concentrations downstream from areas of intense urbanization and animal production .
Approximately one in four Americans get sick by foodborne illness each year . Of those 76 million people, an estimated 325,000 are hopitalized and 5,000 die. Indeed, foodborne disease outbreaks reported to the CDC alone through the Foodborne Disease Outbreak Survelliance System recorded 1,247 outbreaks in 2006 .
The vast majority of known foodborne illnesses are associated with products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to Jeff Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit, non-partisan organization working to make disease prevention a national priority :
Our food safety system is plagued with problems, and it’s leading to millions of Americans becoming needlessly sick each year. The system is outdated and unable to effectively deal with today’s threats. Its current structure actually prevents the kind of coordinated, focused effort that Americans need more than ever and have a right to expect.