human health en One congressman has kept us in the dark about the health risks of arsenic <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Arsenic occurs naturally, and Michigan is one of a handful of states with unusually high arsenic concentrations in groundwater.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Arsenic was also used in insecticides for many years and it's still being used in some weed killers.</span></p><p>David Heath is a senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, and <a href="">he investigated</a> why a health assessment on arsenic from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been delayed.</p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Why does this health assessment matter?</strong></p><p>Heath said when the EPA first wants to determine how dangerous a toxic chemical is, they first do the science. These assessments can take a long time and the arsenic assessment has been going on for more than a decade.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"It's not until they have done the science to figure out exactly how dangerous a chemical is that they can really take action on it," Heath said. "So it really does come down to 'this is how they protect your health.'"</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A single member of Congress, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, was able to intentionally delay the EPA's health assessment for years.</span></p><p> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 18159 at One congressman has kept us in the dark about the health risks of arsenic What should we do about the arsenic in our food? Experts say vary your diet, research ongoing <p>All this week, we’ve been talking about the potential for elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater in Michigan.</p><p>The upshot of our <a href="">reports</a>:</p><ol><li>Arsenic levels in Michigan’s groundwater can be high.</li><li>Arsenic is bad for you.</li><li>Scientists are finding health effects at lower exposure levels.</li><li>If you’re on a well, test it for arsenic.</li><li>If the levels are high, you should consider doing something about it.</li></ol><p>This one chart published by the<a href=""> Center for Public Integrity</a> shows you why (the blue bar is arsenic):</p><p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:45:00 +0000 Mark Brush 18250 at What should we do about the arsenic in our food? Experts say vary your diet, research ongoing There's arsenic in Michigan's well water, but not a lot of people are talking about it <p>Parts of southeast Michigan – especially in the Thumb – have higher than average levels of arsenic in the groundwater.</p><p>Arsenic can cause cancer. It’s been linked to bladder, lung and kidney cancer, and other serious health effects.</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e14e77a3-d979-2790-28f6-af073b4e125b">If you’re on city water, there’s a federal regulation that limits the amount of arsenic in it, but if you’re on a private well, it’s up to you to find out whether there’s too much arsenic in your water.</span></p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 18169 at There's arsenic in Michigan's well water, but not a lot of people are talking about it Want to opt out of DTE's smart meter program? You need to pay a fee <p>Those who want to opt out of DTE Energy’s smart meter program now face a fee.</p><p><a href="">According to MLive</a>, the Michigan Public Service Commission “ruled that DTE can charge customers an initial fee of $67.20 and a monthly fee of $9.80 to opt out of the smart meters.”</p><p>Melissa Anders reports that:</p> Thu, 16 May 2013 16:35:58 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12602 at Want to opt out of DTE's smart meter program? You need to pay a fee Grand Rapids hospital plans expansion, renovation <p>GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Grand Rapids hospital has broken ground on a $54 million expansion and renovation project and the establishment of a cancer program named after former first lady Betty Ford.</p><p>The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital announced plans Tuesday to double space for patients. The project also includes renovating three buildings and adding about 300 jobs in nursing, therapy and other specialties.</p><p>Ford's daughter Susan Ford Bales announced the creation of The Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program in honor of her mother and grandmother, Hortense Neahr Bloomer. Both women were active supporters of the hospital and Betty Ford brought such previously taboo subjects as breast cancer into the public arena by candidly discussing her battle with it.</p><p>Mary Free Bed is a nonprofit hospital providing rehabilitation for children and adults. Tue, 09 Apr 2013 16:56:13 +0000 The Associated Press 12063 at Grand Rapids hospital plans expansion, renovation Nurses say they want minimum staffing levels to prevent mistakes <p>Democrats in the Michigan Legislature and a nurses’ union are calling for a state law that would require hospitals to maintain staff levels without resorting to mandatory overtime.</p><p>Sixteen states currently have rules regarding staff-to-patient ratios.</p><p>Right now, California is the only state with a law that sets minimum staffing levels in hospitals.</p><p>State Representative Jon Switalski (D-Warren) is about to introduce legislation to set staffing requirements in emergency rooms and other hospital wards.</p><p>“Nurse staffing can literally be a life-or-death issue and affects families from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula,” said Switalski.</p><p>Scott Nesbit is a registered nurse from Muskegon. He says he and other nurses have experienced mistakes or a “very near miss” caused by short-staffing.</p><p>“I don’t think people realize that when your nurse is handling far too many patients, or working a double-shift or been mandated to stay over, it’s probably because the hospital wants it that way,” said Nesbit.</p><p>Similar legislation has failed in previous sessions of the Legislature.</p><p>The Michigan Health &amp; Hospitals Association opposes the idea.</p><p>The group says a law that sets staffing requirements would rob administrators of the flexibility they need to meet different situations. The association says the bigger problem is a shortage of trained nurses. Tue, 05 Mar 2013 13:44:04 +0000 Rick Pluta 11517 at Nurses say they want minimum staffing levels to prevent mistakes 'These people are murderers': The drug network behind a deadly outbreak (Part 2) <p></p><p><em>This is the second in a two-part series. Click <a href="">here </a>to hear part one.</em></p><p>More than 240 people in Michigan are sick with fungal meningitis after receiving contaminated back pain injections.&nbsp;</p><p>Now, the victims want justice. They’ve spent weeks in the hospital, racking up massive medical bills.</p><p>Those are the lucky ones: 15 Michiganders have died so far in this epidemic.</p> Fri, 25 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Kate Wells 10931 at 'These people are murderers': The drug network behind a deadly outbreak (Part 2) Michigan doctors saving lives in fungal meningitis outbreak (Part 1) <p><em>This is the first in a two-part series. Click <a href="">here </a>to hear part two.</em></p><p><span style="font-family: Georgia, serif; font-size: 11pt; line-height: 17.5pt; ">Fifteen people from Michigan have died from fungal meningitis, more than in any other state.</span></p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 16:06:15 +0000 Kate Wells 10919 at Michigan doctors saving lives in fungal meningitis outbreak (Part 1) Medical 'moral objection' bill one step closer to law in Michigan <p>Many Republicans in the Michigan Legislature want to allow health care providers, or insurers to deny service to patients based on religious, moral or ethical objections.</p><p><font face="verdana" size="2">The "<a href="">Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act</a>"</font> passed the state Senate last Thursday during the tumultuous 'right-to-work' debate.</p><p>Now a House Committee has approved the bill, which will allow it to go before the full House. The Michigan House could vote on the measure today, which would send it to Gov. Snyder's desk.</p><p>More from the <a href="">Detroit Free Press</a>:</p><blockquote><p>On a straight party-line vote, the state House insurance committee voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would allow health care providers and facilities to refuse service based on a moral objection, religious reasons or matters of conscience.<br>The bill now moves to the full House, where it could be considered as early as this afternoon and, if approved, would move to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. Wed, 12 Dec 2012 19:53:01 +0000 Mark Brush 10337 at Medical 'moral objection' bill one step closer to law in Michigan UM researchers developing treatment to make bone marrow transplants safer <p>University of Michigan researchers are developing a new use for an old drug.<br><br>Small doses of medicine already used to treat cancer may reduce inflammation in patients after a bone marrow transplant.<br><br>These transplants can save a cancer patient's life, but many recipients suffer from a life-threatening side effect called Graft-versus-host disease. It occurs when the donated cells attack their new host's tissues.<br><br>The drug Vorinostat could help reduce that risk. For the first time, researchers at U-of-M's Comprehensive Cancer Center are testing that possibility on human patients. Mon, 10 Dec 2012 21:56:17 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 10294 at UM researchers developing treatment to make bone marrow transplants safer Stateside: Walking with a purpose <p>For several years, <a href="">Koerner Gray Buchta</a>, a 20-year-old man from Grand Rapids, has battled an illness that’s commonly known as <a href="">Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Myalgic Encephalomyalitis</a> (often abbreviated to ME/CFS).</p><p>There is no known cure for ME/CFS. The illness is difficult to manage because there is no consistently effective treatment.</p> Thu, 01 Nov 2012 22:24:37 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 9736 at Stateside: Walking with a purpose Meningitis cases in Michigan reach 46, other meds could be involved <p>The Michigan Department of Community Health said the number of meningitis cases associated with the recent outbreak reached 46 yesterday. Three deaths in Michigan are linked to the outbreak.</p><p>In the meantime, the <a href=";tntemail0=y">New York Times</a> reports the FDA warns other drugs could be involved:</p> Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:28:53 +0000 Mark Brush 9491 at Meningitis cases in Michigan reach 46, other meds could be involved First cases of seasonal flu reported in Michigan, heed your grandmother's advice <p>Flu season is officially underway.</p><p>Michigan Department of Community Health officials said today that 12 influenza cases are the first seasonal flu reports they have confirmed in Michigan during the 2012-2013 season.</p><p>They&nbsp; said the illnesses occurred in children and adults in lower Michigan.</p><p>Two people were hospitalized. Nine cases have been confirmed as influenza B viruses, two as influenza A (H3N2) virus and one as influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus.</p><p>Officials say it's too early to tell what influenza viruses will circulate this influenza season or how severe it might be.</p><p>Officials recommend flu shots as a way to prevent the disease.</p><p>Michigan's flu activity is listed as "sporadic," the lowest of four levels of influenza activity.</p><p>Several years ago <a href="">I interviewed Peter Palese</a>, a microbiologist and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.</p><p>They were researching <em>why </em>the flu virus spreads in cold weather.</p><p>They found that once the flu virus is airborne, it survives longer in cold air and low humidity. It doesn't survive as long in higher temperatures and higher humidity.</p><p>Palese said age old maternal advice held up in their research:</p><blockquote><p>They tested guinea pigs infected with the flu virus - and found that the animals are more contagious when they're in a colder environment. They believe that's because their bodies don't get rid of the virus as fast in cold temperatures...</p><p>"So that makes sense when your grandmother told you 'don't go out when it's cold, and stay warm and you might get the flu,' she was probably right," said Palese.</p></blockquote><p> Mon, 15 Oct 2012 15:20:55 +0000 Mark Brush 9482 at First cases of seasonal flu reported in Michigan, heed your grandmother's advice Kellogg's Mini-Wheat recall comes after cutbacks, company reinvesting in supply chain <p>Three days ago, Battle Creek cereal maker Kellogg's announced a voluntary recall of Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats.</p><p>From <a href="">Kellogg's</a>:</p><blockquote><p>We have initiated a voluntary recall due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part. Recalled products include only Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size with the letters KB, AP or FK before or after the Best If Used Before date.</p></blockquote><p>You can see a list of UPC codes on the <a href="">Kellogg's website</a>.</p><p>The <a href="">Wall Street Journal</a> reports on how much the recall will cost the company:</p><blockquote><p><span class="companyRollover link11unvisited">Kellogg</span> Co. <span data-change="0.28" data-changepercent="0.5444293214077387" data-company-name="Kellogg Co." data-country="US" data-datetime="Oct 11, 2012 10:27 AM " data-exchange-iso="XNYS" data-iso="$" data-offset="-4" data-pc="51.430" data-price="51.71" data-ticker="K" data-ticker-name="K" data-volume="197252.00" data-widget="dj.ticker" id="0.027807627792246326"><span class="tkrQuote tkrPositive"><span class="tkrName">K</span>&nbsp;<span class="tkrChange">+0.54%</span></span></span> said Wednesday it would take a charge of up to $30 million to cover the recall of Mini-Wheats cereal in the U.S. due to possible contamination by pieces of metal mesh.</p><p>Retailers have been contacted about the recall of 2.8 million packages of Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite-Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size, which are being pulled from store shelves. Kellogg blamed the contamination on "a faulty manufacturing part," and said no injuries had been reported.</p></blockquote><p>The WSJ reports the metal mesh problem comes after the company went through another recall in 2010 for a variety of cereals.</p><p>The paper reports the company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fix its supply chain, "which suffered deep cost cuts, leaving several manufacturing facilities overworked and too few people overseeing operations." Thu, 11 Oct 2012 14:46:29 +0000 Mark Brush 9457 at Kellogg's Mini-Wheat recall comes after cutbacks, company reinvesting in supply chain Stories of the meningitis outbreak in Michigan, cases treated in Ann Arbor <p>News about the meningitis outbreak continues this morning. The outbreak has been linked to patients receiving steroid injections for back pain. The steroid shots could be contaminated with a meningitis-causing fungus.</p><p>From the <a href="">CDC</a>:</p><blockquote><p>At this point, there is not enough evidence to determine the original source of the outbreak, however there is a link to an injectable steroid medication.</p><p></p></blockquote><p>The company responsible for the medication, New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., announced a recall on Oct. 6 "of all products currently in circulation that were compounded at and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts."</p><p><a href="">Ed White of the Associated Press reports</a> on the heartbreaking case of 67-year-old Lilian Cary of Howell, Michigan.</p><p>Late last month, Cary had been responding to treatment at the University of Michigan hospital:</p><blockquote><p>"She was responding to medication. Her spirits were up. Her fever was broken," George Cary said. "She was walking the hallway and Skyping with grandsons."</p><p>But she became unresponsive Sept. 26, and eventually was removed from life support after suffering a stroke, he said.</p><p>Cary said he was informed Saturday that his wife had been treated with tainted steroids for back pain. The doctor at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, one of four Michigan clinics to get shipments from the Massachusetts pharmacy, said Cary also was at risk.</p></blockquote><p>George Cary is now waiting to hear whether he was exposed when he received an injectable steroid shot.</p><p>The CDC reports that as many as 13,000 people received steroid shots suspected in the outbreak, but who is in danger is unclear.</p><p>From the <a href="">Associated Press</a>:</p><blockquote><p>About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to 23 states have been recalled. Inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated with fungus, and tests were being done on other vials.</p><p>The first known case of the rarely seen fungal meningitis was diagnosed last month in Tennessee.</p></blockquote><p>Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a bacteria or virus. Exposure from fungi is a less common way to contract meningitis. Tue, 09 Oct 2012 15:35:20 +0000 Mark Brush 9427 at Stories of the meningitis outbreak in Michigan, cases treated in Ann Arbor Trader Joe's recalling goods related to Salmonella outbreak <p>Michigan state health officials are warning consumers that Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter made with sea salt and a variety of almond butter and peanut butter products from Sunland Inc. might be&nbsp; linked to a multi-state bacterial outbreak of "Salmonella Bredeney."</p><p>The Michigan Department of Community Health says so far, one child in Michigan has been affected along with 28 people in 18 other states (as of Sept. 22).&nbsp;</p><p>More from a press release from the Michigan Department of Community Health:</p><blockquote><p>The product comes in a 16 ounce, plastic jar and was sold in Trader Joe’s stores nationwide as well as on the Internet. Testing of the product is under way. Customers with questions may contact Trader Joe’s Customer Relations at <a href="tel:%28626%29%20599-3817" target="_blank" value="+16265993817">(626) 599-3817</a> Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5 pm Pacific Time....</p><p>Most individuals infected with Salmonella bacteria often experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection.&nbsp; The duration of illness is typically 4-7 days and most people recover without treatment. Sometimes a Salmonella infection can be more severe and may spread to the bloodstream, resulting in hospitalization. Young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.</p></blockquote><p><wbr>You can also check the <a href=" ">Sunland Inc. recall online</a>. The PDF document contains a list of products, the UPC codes, and best-if-used-by dates. Or consumers can contact Sunland Inc. at <a href="tel:%28866%29%20837-1018" target="_blank" value="+18668371018">(866) 837-1018</a>.</p><br><p><wbr></p><p><wbr></p><wbr><p><wbr></p><wbr><wbr><p>The Food and Drug Administration encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the <a href="" target="_blank"></a> website.</p><p>The CDC has more about the ongoing <a href="">CDC investigation on its website</a>. Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:27:10 +0000 Mark Brush 9225 at Trader Joe's recalling goods related to Salmonella outbreak West Nile cases significantly higher in Michigan <p>So far this year, Michigan has seen four times as many cases of West Nile virus as it did in all of 2011.&nbsp; The reason is the dry Michigan weather.&nbsp;</p><p>Angela Minicuci is with Michigan’s Department of Community Health, and says the problem is worse in urban areas, like Metro Detroit particularly, and Kent county which have seen higher case numbers.&nbsp; Urban areas are where this particular mosquito thrives.</p><p>People over 50 are most at-risk for infection, along with people with weakened immune systems, and children.</p><p>To minimize exposure, it's recommended that people drain standing water around their homes, repair any holes in screens, and wear insect repellent or avoid the outdoors around dusk and dawn.</p><p><em>- Chris Edwards, Michigan Radio Newsroom</em> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 20:14:01 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 9033 at West Nile cases significantly higher in Michigan Update: West Nile virus reaches epidemic level in Michigan <p><strong>Update Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.</strong></p><p>Michigan health officials say an 87-year-old woman from Kent County is the fifth person to die from the West Nile virus in the state this year.<br><br>State Department of Community Health spokeswoman Angela Minicuci confirmed the death this morning.<br><br>She had no other details on the woman.</p><p><strong>Aug. 29, 2012</strong></p><p>Reports of West Nile virus cases keep coming in, and now Michigan health officials say the illness has reached epidemic proportions in the state.</p><p>Michigan State University entomologist Ned Walker <a href="">recently told Michigan Radio's Rina Miller</a> that the intensity of the virus is very alarming.&nbsp; "I haven't seen anything that is this intense in my career," said Walker.</p><p>Officials said today an 86-year-old woman from Wayne County is the fourth person to die from the West Nile virus in the state this year. Thu, 30 Aug 2012 14:30:19 +0000 Mark Brush 8866 at Update: West Nile virus reaches epidemic level in Michigan Veterans' disability claims in limbo at Michigan VA office (share your story) <p>We've written before about the "<a href="">unfinished business</a>" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... caring for thousands of vets who are coming home after multiple tours with symptoms of PTSD or other disabilities.</p><p>Vets seeking benefits to help with their disabilities can face long wait times.</p><p>Thanks to a new analysis released today by the <a href="">Center for Investigative Reporting</a>, we can get a sense for how long those wait times are.</p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 20:44:25 +0000 Mark Brush 8871 at Veterans' disability claims in limbo at Michigan VA office (share your story) Governor says time's run out to create state-run health care exchange <P>Michigan is out of time to create its own health care exchange, according to Gov. Rick Snyder's office.</P> <P>The federal health care law requires that states set up a website to assist residents when purchasing health insurance. Thu, 23 Aug 2012 18:02:08 +0000 Mark Brush 8785 at Governor says time's run out to create state-run health care exchange