Wednesday Briefing

Diabetics are living longer. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, from 1997 to 2006, the percentage of people with diabetes who died from any cause dropped 23 percent, and the percentage who died from heart disease or stroke dropped 40 percent. Improved treatments for heart disease, better management of diabetes and lifestyle changes contributed to the declines, researchers said. People with diabetes were less likely to smoke and more likely to be physically active than in the past. However, obesity rates among people with diabetes continued to increase. The CDC estimates that 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, including 7 million who don’t know they have the disease. MyHealthNewsDaily, Los Angeles Times

New Mexico authorities triple estimate of decades-old fuel spill threatening Albuquerque’s water supply. State officials said the leakage from Kirtland Air Force Base could be as large as 24 million gallons, or twice the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. The jet fuel came from what officials believe was a 40-year leak, discovered in 1999, from underground pipes at Kirtland. In 2007, Air Force investigations revealed the fuel had reached the water table and was moving off the base, beneath neighborhoods and toward Albuquerque’s water wells. A state official said no contamination is expected to reach city wells for at least five years. Officials hope to begin remediation this summer. The Associated Press

Study finds that black and Latino toddlers may be exposed to more toxic flame retardants. Duke University researchers assessed  flame retardant chemicals known as PBDEs in the blood of 83 children ages 1 to 3. In the group, the black and Latino toddlers had levels nearly twice as high as whites. Levels also were higher in children whose fathers lacked a college education. Researchers said the reason for the disparities isn’t clear, given that PBDE concentrations in dust samples at the children’s homes were similar. Still, the findings could influence a broader debate about retardants. When state lawmakers have sought bans, an industry front group has warned it would threaten poor and minority children. Chicago Tribune, Time

Advocacy group says tobacco company’s plan for nicotine lozenges reveals regulatory loophole. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a news release, attacked plans by Altria Group Inc., parent company of Philip Morris USA, to begin test marketing in Virginia a chewable product called Verve. It differs from other tobacco industry alternative products in that it contains nicotine, but no tobacco. Since the nicotine is derived from tobacco, the Food and Drug Administration under a 2009 law can regulate the product, but the agency has not issued rules to do so. The agency delay, the anti-smoking group said, “has given tobacco companies the opportunity to introduce novel products that circumvent the law.” Richmond Times-Dispatch

Nearly 1,000 U.S. dogs sickened by pet treats from China. Most of the reports have come in from worried dog owners and veterinarians since November, when the Food and Drug Administration warned about continued problems with the products known as chicken jerky strips, treats or nuggets. The FDA sent inspectors earlier this year to Chinese plants that make the jerky treats but the agency said no results of the inspections are available. The FDA has received reports about problems ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to kidney failure and other serious ailments after pets consumed the treats. The products cited treats sold by Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and Del Monte Corp.

Recalls: Clip-on desk lamps sold by Lowe’s Stores, Lexus GS 350 sedans, Century Mattresses, tempeh starter yeast, Taylor Farms organic baby spinach, West Best Foods lasagna, Pacific Coast Fruit bagged salads

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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