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Health Highlights: Dec. 14, 2007

Recalled Valucraft Booster Cables Pose Shock Hazard More Blood Contaminants Found in People with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Study Minnesota Bans Mercury in Cosmetics FDA to Issue New Guidelines for Drug-Coated Stents FDA Panel Supports New Sterilization Method for Women Infantino Lion Teethers Recalled Due to Choking Hazard

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Recalled Valucraft Booster Cables Pose Shock Hazard

About 140,00 Valucraft car booster cables are being recalled because the clamps were assembled incorrectly, resulting in reverse polarity. This poses electrical shock and explosion hazards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

The Chinese-made cables were sold for between $12 and $20 at AutoZone stores across the United States and on AutoZone's Web site from June 2007 through October 2007.

valucraft recall

AutoZone Parts Inc., of Memphis Tenn., has received four reports of incidents of reverse polarity that led to minor property damage.

The recall includes Valucraft eight-gauge and 10-gauge booster cables, which are orange and have "8GA" or "10GA" printed on them. Consumers should stop using these cables and return them to any AutoZone store for a full refund or a free replacement.

For more information, contact AutoZone at 1-800-230-9786.


More Blood Contaminants Found in People with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Study

People with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have higher levels of environmental contaminants, such as PCBs and organochlorine pesticides, in their blood than people without the disease, a Canadian study found. This suggests that the chemicals may be a factor in the disease, the study authors said.

B.C. Cancer Agency researchers collected blood samples from 900 residents of British Columbia, including 422 people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, CTV News reported.

Compared to those without the disease, the cancer patients had higher levels of almost every chemical tested for in the study. People with the greatest exposure to PCBs were twice as likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma than those with the least exposure.

The findings will appear in the International Journal of Cancer.

"We know that the incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has been steadily rising for the past 30 years worldwide, but there hasn't been clear evidence to explain the increase," lead author John Spinelli, a senior scientist at the B.C. Cancer Agency, told CTV News.

"Our study helps to provide answers to this puzzle by showing a strong link between these specific environmental contaminants and this particular type of cancer," he said.


Minnesota Bans Mercury in Cosmetics

A new Minnesota law banning mercury in mascara, eye liner and skin-lightening creams takes effect on Jan. 1, making Minnesota the first state to forbid intentionally added mercury in cosmetics. The new law means the state will have a tougher standard than the federal government, the Associated Press reported.

While most makeup manufacturers have stopped using mercury, it's still added to some eye products as a preservative and germ killer, an industry association spokesman told the wire service.

"Mercury does cause neurological damage to people even in tiny quantities. Every source of mercury adds to it. We wanted to make sure it wasn't (in cosmetics)," said state Sen. John Marty, the Democrat who sponsored the ban, the AP reported.

Under the new law, retailers who knowingly sell mercury containing cosmetics could be fined as much as $700, while manufacturers who fail to disclose mercury on product labels could be fined as much as $10,000.


FDA to Issue New Guidelines for Drug-Coated Stents

New testing requirements for drug-coated stents will be issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the next few weeks, according to Daniel Schultz, director of the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Stents are used to prop open arteries that have been cleared of blockages.

The revised rules were created in response to concerns among some experts that drug-coated stents may cause serious complications, including increased risk of blood clots years after implantation of the stents.

The new FDA guidelines for coated stents are expected to be more stringent than current rules, the Wall Street Journal reported. They'll likely specify the numbers of patients on whom new stents can be tested and for how long, and may offer a recommended length of time that patients should take an anti-clotting drug after receiving a drug-coated stent.


FDA Panel Supports New Sterilization Method for Women

A new method for sterilizing women -- which would provide an alternative to tubal ligation -- should be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an advisory panel to the agency recommended Thursday.

This new approach, which takes about 15 minutes to accomplish, involves the use of radio signals to create a lesion inside the fallopian tube, the Associated Press reported. Doctors use a catheter to place a soft material -- smaller than a grain of rice -- into the fallopian tube. Healthy tissue grows on and around the material and blocks the tube.

The product, called Adiana, is made by Hologic Inc. of Bedford, Mass, which promotes it as a low-risk procedure that can be performed in a doctor's office. According to study data in FDA documents, the efficacy rate for Adiana is 98.9 percent, the AP reported.

By a 10-3 vote, the FDA's Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel recommended that Adiana be approved for use in the United States. But the panel attached certain conditions, including follow-up of patients treated with Adiana. The FDA isn't required to follow the advice of its advisory panels, but usually does.


Infantino Lion Teethers Recalled Due to Choking Hazard

About 28,000 Infantino lion teethers are being recalled because the plastic nose on the teethers can detach and pose a choking hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

So far, there have been eight reports of the nose detaching, including one incident where a child gagged on the dislodged piece. The yellow and orange teethers look like a lion's face.

The Chinese-made teethers were distributed in the United States by Infantino LLC, of San Diego, Calif.

infantino recall

They sold for about $5 at specialty stores nationwide from June 2006 through December 2007, the CPSC said.

The recalled products have date codes 6116, 6129, 6158, 6137, 0606, 0806, 0906, and 1006, which can be found on the back of the teether, above the Infantino logo. The recalled teethers should be taken away from young children immediately.

Consumers can contact Infantino at 888-808-3111 for a replacement teether or a product of equal value.

Consumer News