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The Politics of Breastfeeding in Public

By Ann-Marie Luciano

breastfeeding

On Monday, May 24th, at approximately 10:30am, I was nursing my 3 month old son on a bench in the Francis Scott Key mall near the children’s play area (near Value City and DSW). I had my shirt on and lifted up one side to nurse him. Just the top part of my breast was exposed as I nursed, as my son covered up my stomach and nipple (not that it would matter anyway if I was more exposed). While I was nursing a woman who worked at the mall customer service desk that was nearby came up to me and asked me if I knew that there was a nursing room in the mall. I told her that I was not aware of the nursing room and I continued to nurse. She then asked me if I’d go to the nursing room to nurse. I told her I would not, that I was okay nursing on the bench. She then asked me again to either go to the nursing room or to cover up with a blanket because she was uncomfortable “and there are kids around.” I told her that under MD law I had a right to nurse in any public or private place and that I was not going to either leave to go to the nursing room or put a blanket over my son’s head. I added that if she was uncomfortable, she could cover her head. A mom who was in the play area with her kids then came over and said, “I agree with her – can you please go somewhere else or cover up? My KIDS are here.” I told the mother that I was fully within my rights to remain on the bench and nurse my son. She then replied: “But my son asked me, “Mommy, why is that lady putting her boob in that baby’s mouth?” and I don’t know what to tell him. I told her: “Tell your son that that mom is feeding her baby the way moms have fed their babies for millions of years.” A female security guard came over to me and asked that I either go to the nursing room or cover up with a blanket. I told her that under MD law I had a right to breastfeed in any public or private place. The security guard continued to state, “but this is private property” and I continued to remind her that MD law entitled me to nurse on private property as well. All women eventually left to go complain to the head mall office. I finished nursing about 5 minutes later and then left the mall.

I returned to the mall on Tuesday, May 25th, and dropped off a copy of the MD breastfeeding law (which is linked here) to the head office. The gentleman in the office told me that a few people complained about me breastfeeding. He said, “I know your rights” but I asked him to advise his employees of the law anyway since obviously they weren’t aware of MD breastfeeding law.

As a result of this experience I am filing a complaint with the MD Attorney General office. What bothered me so much about this experience is that I couldn’t just feed my baby in peace – I had three different women come up to me and ask me to move or cover up. I stood my ground because I know my rights and because it is important to me that I feed my baby in the way that is best for me. Nursing mothers are not lepers and do not need to hide in nursing rooms in the back corner of the mall (nor do they need to run around with a crying child trying to find a nursing room). Nursing mothers also do not need to cover up in any particular way. I have a lot of latching issues with my son so I need to constantly be able to see what I’m doing so putting a blanket over his head doesn’t work for me. I’m not going to change the way I feed my son to please other people. The MD breastfeeding law clearly states that “[a] person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child.” By telling me where (the nursing room) or how (with a blanket) to nurse my son, the employees of the Francis Scott Key Mall were restricting and limiting my right to breastfeed.

I have three goals: (1) to send a message to Francis Scott Key Mall that they must abide by the law and not restrict or limit a mother’s right to nurse her child; (2) to increase awareness of a nursing mother’s right to nurse her child in any public or private place without restriction or limitation; and (3) to increase awareness of breastfeeding in the public at large, with the hope that breastfeeding will become so commonplace that more and more women will feel comfortable nursing their children wherever they may be hungry. It is incidents like this that discourage women from breastfeeding, which countless studies show is most beneficial for the child. I strongly believe that the more women who breastfeed in public the more culturally accepted this natural form of feeding will become.

California Bans Plastic Bags

excerpted from www.latimes.com

By Patrick McGreevy and Jack Dolan

bags

Californians would no longer get plastic bags at supermarket check-out stands, and many children would have to wait longer to enter kindergarten under proposals advanced Wednesday by state lawmakers.

The hottest debate Wednesday was in the state Assembly, which voted 41 to 27 to pass a bill that would ban single-use plastic grocery bags — the first of its kind in the nation, according to lawmakers and environmentalists. Shoppers would have to bring reusable bags to the store or pay at least 5 cents each for recycled paper bags at the checkout counter.

Schwarzenegger has indicated that he would sign the bill, AB 1998 by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), if it passes the Senate as expected.

Environmentalists say the single-use bags endanger marine life and are more likely to foul beaches than any other form of pollution. Californians use 19 billion such bags a year, or 552 per person, according to an Assembly analysis. The measure was sponsored by Santa Monica group Heal the Bay. Opposition comes largely from the plastics industry.

Cities including San Francisco, Palo Alto, Malibu and others across the country have already instituted such bans. “It’s easier to have a statewide ban than it is to have to figure out how to operate city to city,” said Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D- Los Angeles).

The California Grocers Assn. has endorsed the ban.

“It doesn’t surprise me that certain elements of big business have removed their opposition,” said Assemblyman and U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), an opponent of the bill, alluding to the fee shoppers would have to pay for recycled bags. “As long as they don’t get gouged, they’re more than happy to dump the consumer under the bus.”

Shocking Inspection of Tylenol Plant

By Jennifer Tarbox
Published May 16, 2010
orginal link: www.associatedcontent.com

The FDA released May 6th it’s inspection report of a Tylenol Plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, noting that the conditions at a Johnson & Johnson owned plant were so bad, legal action might be warranted.

Today, May 16, 2010, CNNmoney.com published an article citing David Lebo, a former Johnson & Johnson employee, saying the report was “the worst I’ve seen. It suggests that basically the FDA found an issue with almost every system at the plant.”

On Friday, May 14th, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced it would hold a hearing on May 27 to examine the recall and had invited J&J Chief Executive William Weldon to testify.

What will the Chief Executive have to say? Very little that comforts this young mother.

Just a few months ago, there was another huge recall of not only Tylenol products, but also Benadryl, Rolaids, Motrin, and other over the counter drugs. This recall resulted from a foul odor, making people nauseous. McNeil, the parent company for Johnson & Johnson, has said that the conditions listed in the report are “unacceptable” to them, but their less than comprehensive response thus far to a host of complaints makes me suspect their main concern is a cost-benefit analysis that favors their bottom line.

This is Johnson & Johnson’s fourth recall in 7 months.

My chief concern lies with the fact that the FDA appears to be responding to a crisis instead of proactively seeking to prevent these types of violations. Is the FDA guilty of waiting until conditions are so abhorrent that they MUST take action? What other factories producing materials we depend on every day are grossly negligent in their manufacturing procedures. The FDA is responsible for “protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, products that emit radiation, and tobacco products.

The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate,
science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.”

Today I am looking for alternative, generic medicines for my teething thirteen month old son. But I am also extremely skeptical of the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight ability as I await the fallout from this latest information about the companies who are supposed to have our best interests, and the best interests of our families, at heart.

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Physicians Warn Parents About the Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

By American College of Emergency Physicians
Apr 12, 2010 – 1:19:50 PM

(HealthNewsDigest.com) – WASHINGTON, — With reports of increased prescription drug overdoses in emergency departments, the nation’s emergency physicians are issuing a strong warning to parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, which are now the second most abused drugs, after marijuana. Hospital visits caused by accidental and unintentional prescription drug overdoses went up 37 percent between 1999 and 2006, according to new data released by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Often when you hear that someone has overdosed on drugs you think of illegal substances, such as cocaine or heroin,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “But parents need to know that many young people are taking prescription drugs from the medicine cabinets. Many of the kids wrongly believe the drugs are not addictive, and they don’t realize they can be lethal.”

Nearly three-quarters of a million people (741,425) needed emergency care in 2006 because of prescription drug abuse. The types of prescription drugs most commonly abused are painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Also, central nervous system depressants (or barbiturates), such as Valium and Xanax, are common. Twelve- to 14-year old girls are more likely than boys to have abused prescription drugs and to have higher rates of dependence.

Dr. Gardner said prescription drugs are only safe for the person they are prescribed for, and that is only if the patient takes them according to directions.

Abuse of prescription drugs can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Some depress breathing or slow down brain function. Some, if combined with other medications that cause drowsiness or with alcohol, can dangerously slow down heart rate and breathing. Stimulants, such as amphetamines, can cause anxiety, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat or seizures.

Steps you can take to help avoid prescription drug abuse:
— Keep prescription drugs in a safe place that only you can access.
— Keep inventory of all medications, including prescription and
over-the-counter drugs. This includes keeping accurate counts of your
pills.
— Keep all doctors’ appointments so your physicians can monitor and
adjust your medications if necessary.
— Stay informed. Ask your doctors, pharmacists and other knowledgeable
parties questions about the medications you are prescribed. What are
the addictive qualities, the side effects, etc?
— Never increase or decrease the dose of your medication without
checking with your doctor first.
— Never take a prescription drug that is not intended for you and you
only.
— Unused prescription drugs should be returned to the pharmacist. Also,
unless the label instructs differently, those drugs can be disposed in
the trash.

Different categories of drugs (stimulants, sedatives, opioids) have different symptoms, but here are some signs that your child may be abusing prescription drugs:

— Sudden changes in mood or personality — Does your child get
irritable, abusive or negative?
— Defensiveness — When trying to hide a drug dependency, an abuser can
become very defensive, paranoid, and secretive. They might react to
simple requests by lashing out.
— Change in daily habits and appearance — Is someone you know
neglecting their hygiene for example? It’s a sign of drug abuse.
— Usage increase — Is someone you know increasing their dosage? It’s
an indication that the amount they are used to no longer provides
relief.
— Memory loss — Does your child forget events that have taken place or
act clumsy?

For more information on prescription drug abuse and other health related topics, go to www.EmergencyCareForYou.org

ACEP and MedicAlert Foundation are partnering to promote EmergencyCareforYou.org and to educate the public about medical emergencies.

MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the first medical identification and emergency medical information service in 1956 to provide people with a simple but effective method for communicating their medical conditions. Since the organization’s founding, MedicAlert Foundation has provided services and products that help to protect and save lives for its 4 million members worldwide. For more than 50 years, the nonprofit foundation has relayed vital medical information on behalf of its members to emergency responders so they receive faster and safer treatment. MedicAlert IDs alert emergency personnel to a member’s primary health conditions. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. For more information, visit www.medicalert.com.

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

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The Single Biggest Thing We Can Do To Reform Food

by Jill Richardson
January 28, 2010

When it comes to problems with our food system, we’ve got a chicken and egg problem on our hands. Enormous corporations sell most of our food and they use environmentally harmful methods to produce it and put unhealthy ingredients in it – much of which is legal (and sometimes when something is illegal, the law isn’t enforced). The obvious solution would be changing the law, except these same corporations lobby politicians NOT to change the law (and too often, the politicians obey the lobbists).

Currently, Congress has a few bills that would ban BPA – a harmful chemical found in can linings and some types of plastic – but a powerful BPA lobby that includes aluminum can makers, soda companies, and other food companies has thus far succeeded in keeping any of those bills from passing. Then there’s the climate change bill, which specifically excluded agriculture from emissions caps even though agriculture is responsible for quite a bit of greenhouse gas emissions. And there’s the upcoming child nutrition reauthorization, which governs school lunch and other federal nutrition programs. Every single food industry wants to make sure that their products are allowed to be sold in schools, so their lobbyists are working on that. And, of course, there’s the commonsense Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which simply says that you cannot drug livestock with classes of antibiotics important in human medicine if the animal is not sick. Sick animals would still get the care they need. The goal is to avoid creating antibiotic resistant bacteria, a problem that is already documented in livestock operations in the U.S. The bill was introduced by Louise Slaughter, a microbiologist, yet the livestock industry is lobbying hard against it and so far they are winning.

So – if we have bad food because our laws are too lax, but we can’t get better laws because food companies lobby the government, what can we do? I believe that the single biggest thing we can do right now is to try to break up agriculture corporations that violate our nation’s antitrust laws. We need fair competition, and that’s something we don’t currently have. Farm Aid recently posted a graph of consolidation in a number of agricultural industries and that says it all. In each industry within food and agriculture, only a few companies control most of the market. And, quite often, they also have a considerable amount of influence over the government as well.

Fortunately, Obama’s antitrust czar, Christine Varney, stated in her confirmation hearings that she would look into anticompetitive behavior in agriculture, and she’s keeping her promise. The Department of Justice recently began an investigation of Monsanto and filed a suit against dairy giant Dean Foods.

Monsanto’s in trouble over its soybeans. The issue is a particularly disturbing one because it involves not just the buying and selling of seeds but ownership and patenting of life itself. Seed companies don’t just own seeds – they own traits (and the DNA that governs those traits). Monsanto licenses other companies to sell seeds made with traits they own. Over the years, they’ve written licensing agreements in a way that makes it very hard for their competitors to compete with them. Either they were shrewd businessmen or they were breaking the law – that’s what the DOJ is trying to find out. (Find more information on this here.)

The suit against Dean Foods seeks to undo their acquisition of two companies, but it won’t be enough to fix the dairy industry. This past year, dairy farmers suffered the hardest times since the Great Depression. Farmers received prices as low as $10 or $11 per hundred pounds of milk even though it cost them about $18 to produce it. They lost money with each gallon of milk they sold, and many dairy farmers lost their farms altogether. Prices are beginning to go up, but the dairy farmers I know have felt for a long time that a few powerful players in the industry have been manipulating prices. They went to the Senate about this a few years ago and several Senators asked the Government Accountability Office to begin an investigation, which it did. Then the investigation got a little too close to friends of Bush, and the investigation was called off altogether.

The two actions taken by the Dept of Justice are necessary but they are a drop in the bucket. Fortunately, the Department of Justice has been accepting comments about antitrust issues in agriculture (the deadline was a month ago) and they are holding a series of public workshops on the topic as well. I look forward to these workshops, and I hope that the DOJ continues and expands its action to promote fair competition in food and agriculture.

Jill Richardson got involved in food policy activism after working for several years in health care and observing the high rate of diet-related chronic illness among the American patient population. She blogs at La Vida Locavore and her first book is Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do To Fix It

Chemicals in Our Food, and Bodies

By Nicholas Kristof via www.nytimes.com
Published November 7, 2009

Your body is probably home to a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies — to the tune of six pounds per American per year. That’s a lot of estrogen.

More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine, and scientists have linked it — though not conclusively — to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike.

Now it turns out it’s in our food.

Consumer Reports magazine tested an array of brand-name canned foods for a report in its December issue and found BPA in almost all of them. The magazine says that relatively high levels turned up, for example, in Progresso vegetable soup, Campbell’s condensed chicken noodle soup, and Del Monte Blue Lake cut green beans.

The magazine also says it found BPA in the canned liquid version of Similac Advance infant formula (but not in the powdered version) and in canned Nestlé Juicy Juice (but not in the juice boxes). The BPA in the food probably came from an interior coating used in many cans.

Should we be alarmed?

The chemical industry doesn’t think so. Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council dismissed the testing, noting that Americans absorb quantities of BPA at levels that government regulators have found to be safe. Mr. Hentges also pointed to a new study indicating that BPA exposure did not cause abnormalities in the reproductive health of rats.

But more than 200 other studies have shown links between low doses of BPA and adverse health effects, according to the Breast Cancer Fund, which is trying to ban the chemical from food and beverage containers.

“The vast majority of independent scientists — those not working for industry — are concerned about early-life low-dose exposures to BPA,” said Janet Gray, a Vassar College professor who is science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund.

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Allergies, Recalls, Chemicals? How to Feed Your Kids Safely

With food allergies and recalls on the rise, it’s easy to worry about every bite your child takes.

corn

Robyn O’Brien was cooking breakfast for her children in January 2006 when she fed her 9-month-old daughter eggs for the first time. An ordinary meal quickly turned into a terrifying ordeal: Tory’s face began to swell and turn bright red before her mother’s eyes. Soon after, Tory was diagnosed with food allergies, and O’Brien grew determined to understand how childhood staples like eggs, peanuts, and milk could have set off allergies in her baby — and in 3 million other kids in this country.

Her concerns aren’t unfounded: According to a 2008 report from the Centers for Disease Control, the prevalence of food allergies in children increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007. Meanwhile, food recalls are more common now than ever before, as evidenced by all the scary headlines about contaminated tomatoes, peanut butter, and pistachios. O’Brien’s investigation into why this might be happening — detailed in her new book, The Unhealthy Truth — convinced her that she needed to reduce her kids’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in their food. That’s something we’d all like to do, but how’s a regular mom supposed to play part-time nutritionist? O’Brien spoke to REDBOOK about simple ways we can clean up kids’ diets without losing our perspective — or our minds.

How did you even start to tackle all this research, and what did you learn?

My background is in motherhood — I have four children between the ages of 4 and 9 — but also in finance. So I began to look into the numbers. I discovered that since the 1990s, this country has been adding genetically modified organisms [GMOs] to its food supply. That means some of our food has had foreign proteins inserted into it, for many different reasons. For the past 15 years, for instance, much of our milk has come from cows injected with a hormone called rBGH to increase their milk production. And 80 percent of our corn now contains an insecticide so we lose less crop to pests. I wonder whether a child with allergies might be reacting to those foreign proteins. As I learned in business school, correlation is not necessarily causation: We can’t know that food allergies are caused by GMOs just because they both rose at the same time. There’s a strong enough correlation, however, that I feel it merits investigation.

You mention a study in which 300 kids in England were put on a diet free of artificial coloring, sweeteners, and preservatives. Half were given a drink made of artificial colors and a preservative; the other half got a placebo drink. In the end, kids who got the first drink were far more hyperactive. What was the result?

After this study, there was a follow-up confirming it a few years later. The follow-up was so compelling that corporations in the U.K., including Kraft and Coca-Cola, said, “We’re going to voluntarily remove these chemicals from children’s products.” It gave me hope, because it means corporations are responding to the needs of mothers overseas. And once we’re informed the way the mothers in the U.K. were informed, then companies can bring those same products here to the United States if we want them.

Creating a chemical-free diet sounds time-consuming — and pricey.

I can totally relate. All I have time to do is stick chicken nuggets in the microwave and hit two-zero-zero-start. But I made really simple changes in super slow motion. I used to buy multicolored goldfish from Costco, so I thought, I’m just going to buy the ones that are all gold. That way, at least I’ve dumped the multicolored chemicals out. Once we got to gold, then we got to the plain ones, then switched to pretzels. It takes who knows how long to wean a kid off a sippy cup or to potty-train, and that’s how I approached it — it wasn’t going to be overnight.

So starting with just one change can make a big difference?

Yeah, that was critical. If I had to do one thing, what would it be? My boys were milk guzzlers. So I thought, I’m going to buy milk that’s rBGH-free. It’s available in Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger. It’s really, how do you reduce the load of chemicals your kids are getting? You can’t go cold-turkey. These are kids, and I live in the real world, where kids are picky eaters. But if cutting back on chemicals meant my boys got an extra 15 minutes of sleep each night because they settled down earlier, I was gonna try it. Those 15 minutes — that’s a gift!

What overall changes need to be made in this country to ensure that our food supply is safe?

Our food system is in dire shape. In 2007, the FDA stated that it is woefully underfunded and that “American lives are at risk.” They don’t have the money they need to investigate and protect us from potential toxins in the food supply. If we can bail out the banking system, then we need to prioritize funding the FDA. But to me, the most important thing is to believe in yourself and your ability to effect remarkable change for your family. We moms have incredible abilities, collectively. And we cannot be daunted. If the moms in other countries have spoken up and gotten corporations to make changes, we can too.

5 Quick and Healthy Lunches

O’Brien’s ideas for easy meals that are low in chemicals but high in kid appeal:

1. Fresh bread with tomato sauce for dipping, an rBGH-free cheese stick or string cheese, and applesauce.

2. Salami, a piece of fresh bread, carrots, and leftover dinner noodles with olive oil or grated cheese.

3. PB&J on fresh bread, color-free potato chips, and a smoothie.

4. An English muffin topped with tomato sauce, rBGH-free cheese, and deli meat, veggies, or whatever you can get away with. Then sandwich the “pizza pie” with the other half of the English muffin. Add a piece of fruit for dessert.

5. Rice and beans — add a side of salsa or guacamole to stir in, and a piece of fruit.

original link: www.health.msn.com/kids-health

Antibiotics Linked To Birth Defects, Study Says

kids health

CHICAGO — Researchers studying antibiotics in pregnancy have found a surprising link between common drugs used to treat urinary infections and birth defects. Reassuringly, the most-used antibiotics in early pregnancy – penicillins – appear to be the safest.

Bacterial infections themselves can cause problems for the fetus if left unchecked, experts said, so pregnant women shouldn’t avoid antibiotics entirely. Instead, women should discuss antibiotics choices with their doctors.

The new study is the first large analysis of antibiotic use in pregnancy. It found that mothers of babies with birth defects were more likely than mothers with healthy babies to report taking two types of antibiotics during pregnancy: sulfa drugs (brand names include Thiosulfil Forte and Bactrim) and urinary germicides called nitrofurantoins (brand names include Furadantin and Macrobid).

It was the first time an association had been seen between urinary tract treatments and birth defects, said lead author Krista Crider, a geneticist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which funded the research. “Additional studies are going to need to be done to confirm these findings.”

Used for many decades, the antibiotics in question predate the Food and Drug Administration and its requirements for rigorous safety testing. The FDA now grades all drugs for safety to the fetus based on available research, but rigorous studies are so lacking in many cases, that no antibiotics get the highest grade of “A.”

Sulfa drugs are the oldest antibiotics and some animal studies have found harm during pregnancy. Nitrofurantoins previously have been viewed by doctors as safe to treat urinary tract infections during pregnancy.

The study, appearing in November’s Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, may cause doctors to change the drugs they choose to treat pregnant women with infections. The findings were released Monday.

Dr. Susan Mehnert-Kay, a family practice doctor in Tulsa, Okla., who has written about diagnosing and managing urinary tract infections, said the research is “very interesting” and would cause her to reconsider antibiotic choices in early pregnancy.

The study is important because it looked at drugs that have been used for decades without large studies of their safety in pregnant women, said Dr. Michael Katz of the March of Dimes.

“Some physicians are not as attuned to this as they ought to be, so patients have the right to ask questions,” Katz said.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 13,000 mothers whose infants had birth defects and nearly 5,000 women who lived in the same regions with healthy babies.

The women were interviewed by phone from six weeks to two years after their pregnancies. Those who remembered taking antibiotics during the month before conception through the first three months of pregnancy were identified as exposed to antibiotics.

The women’s memories could have been faulty, a substantial weakness of the study, which the authors acknowledged. About one-third of the women who took antibiotics couldn’t remember the specific type of drug they took.

It’s also unclear whether the birth defects were caused by the drugs or by the underlying infections being treated, Crider said.

Birth defects linked to sulfa drugs included rare brain and heart problems, and shortened limbs. Those linked to nitrofurantoins (ny-troh-fyoor-AN’-toyns) included heart problems and cleft palate. The drugs seemed to double or triple the risk, depending on the defect.

“These defects are rare. Even with a threefold increase in risk, the risk for the individual is still quite low,” Crider said.

Katz of the March of Dimes said anencephaly, a fatal brain problem linked to sulfas, affects about 1 in 10,000 births in the United States. Cleft palate occurs about 20 per 10,000 births.

Crider said the findings give doctors another opportunity to caution against overuse of antibiotics. Viral illnesses like colds and flus shouldn’t be treated with antibiotics, she said.

Women in 10 states, including California, Texas and New York, were interviewed as part of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.

The FDA recommends that pregnant women discuss medications with their doctors, said FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh. The agency has proposed changes to prescription drug labeling that would require more complete information for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and those who breastfeed, Walsh said.

original link: www.huffingtonpost.com

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