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Health Highlights: June 30, 2015

California Governor Signs Tough Vaccination Bill Into Law FDA Mulling Restrictions on Liquid Nicotine Packs for E-Cigs USDA Sets Out Healthier Food Options for Day Care Providers

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

California Governor Signs Tough Vaccination Bill Into Law

California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a highly controversial bill into law that mandates vaccinations for nearly all children in the state's public school system.

"The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases," Brown wrote. "While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community."

According to the Associated Press, the law eliminates "personal belief" exemptions that were formerly in place in California. Those exemptions allowed parents to exclude their children from routine vaccinations based on personal or religious beliefs.

Under the new law, only children with serious medical conditions can get an exemption and any other unvaccinated child has to be homeschooled, the AP reported.

Many parents and experts supported the law as a way to protect all children from infectious disease, pointing to a nationwide outbreak of measles last December. That outbreak originated at Disneyland and affected more than 100 people in the United States and Mexico, the AP said.

But others vigorously protested the measure, with thousands protesting at the state's Capitol in the past weeks, according to the wire service. Many said it infringes on parental rights and issues of informed consent.

California joins Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states in the nation that mandate vaccination for nearly all children in public schools, the AP said. The bill takes effect next year.


FDA Mulling Restrictions on Liquid Nicotine Packs for E-Cigs

A rise in poisonings linked to the liquid nicotine packs used in e-cigarettes has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considering new restrictions on the products.

Updated warnings and child-resistant packaging are among the changes being considered by the FDA, the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, the e-cigarette market already has an estimated $2.1 billion in sales. The liquid nicotine packs refill the devices when they are empty.


USDA Sets Out Healthier Food Options for Day Care Providers

Concerned about the obesity epidemic among America's children, a major government program that helps feed kids at the nation's day care centers is in for an overhaul.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which each day helps feed more than 3.8 million young children, the Associated Press reported.

Much of its funding goes to help day care providers. Even ones that aren't funded by the program feel its influence, because many states require day care providers to follow the program's nutritional guidelines to be certified, the AP noted.

Now, for the first time almost 50 years, the program will be revamped to put more emphasis on vegetables and to lower sugar content in meal offerings, the news agency said. Grain-based desserts treats like cookies and cakes would no longer be covered by the program, although that childhood favorite, chicken nuggets, would still be reimbursed.

The new rules have not been finalized, the AP said, although some of the changes mentioned are already showing up in handbooks that the USDA is distributing to day care providers.

The proposed changes should "serve as a step towards more nutritious meals that improve the dietary habits of participants in day care," the USDA states.

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