Health Highlights: May 19, 2016
'60 Minutes' Newsman Morley Safer Dead at Age 84 Two Years of Edison Blood Test Results Voided New Bill Tightens Chemical Regulations U.S. House Bill Would Provide Only $622 Million to Fight Zika Twelve Straight Months of Record Global Heat
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
'60 Minutes' Newsman Morley Safer Dead at Age 84
Long-time "60 Minutes" reporter Morley Safer has died at age 84, just days after formally retiring from the CBS news program.
Safer joined "60 Minutes" as a regular correspondent in 1970 and produced 919 reports for the program over 46 years, according to CBS News.
He was born in Toronto, Canada and worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before joining CBS in 1964. He began as a correspondent in the network's London bureau, opened its Saigon bureau in 1965, and became London bureau chief in 1967.
During his career, Safer won numerous awards, including 12 Emmys, three Overseas Press Club Awards, three Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, two George Polk Memorial Awards and the Paul White Award, which is the Radio/Television News Directors Association's highest honor.
In 1995, the French government named Safer a Chvalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, CBS News said.
Two Years of Edison Blood Test Results Voided
California-based Theranos Inc. has told U.S. health regulators that it voided two years of results from its Edison blood-testing devices.
A person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the company threw out all Edison test results from 2014 and 2015.
Theranos told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that sent tens of thousands of corrected blood test results to doctors and patients, voiding some results and revising others.
The Edison machines were touted as revolutionary when they were introduced, WSJ reported.
New Bill Tightens Chemical Regulations
Safety standards for tens of thousands of previously unregulated chemicals are included in a bill that merges bills approved last year by the U.S. House and Senate.
Along with new protections for pregnant women, children, workers and others with daily exposure to chemicals such as formaldehyde and styrene at home and work, the bill would also increase regulation of asbestos and other deadly chemicals, the Associated Press reported.
If it becomes law, the bill would be the first major update to the Toxic Substances Control Act since it was implemented in 1976.
The bill is supported by industry officials, politicians from both parties, and groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Human Society of the United States and major environmental organizations.
The bill is a "significant victory for public health," according to Richard Denison, a senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, the AP reported.
He noted that the bill will require safety reviews for chemicals already in use and closer scrutiny of new chemicals before they can be sold.
"While not perfect, this will be a dramatic improvement over current law," Denison told the AP.
U.S. House Bill Would Provide Only $622 Million to Fight Zika
A bill passed late Wednesday by the House would provide $622 million to fight the Zika virus, which is only one-third of the $1.9 billion requested by the Obama administration and far less than the $1.1 billion proposed by the Senate.
The amount is too little, too late to combat the threat posed by the mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe birth defects and neurological disorders, said House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, USA Today reported.
"You will own it if this gets out of hand and we don't have the appropriate resources deployed now," Hoyer warned. "It should have been 30 days ago, 60 days ago, 90 days ago."
The House and Senate would need to reach an agreement on funding levels before a measure can be sent to President Barack Obama. He has already threatened to veto the House bill.
To date, there have been more than 500 cases of Zika in the continental U.S., but all have been associated with travel to Latin America or the Caribbean. However, federal health officials say the locally-transmitted cases of Zika will begin to occur in the continental U.S. as temperatures rise and mosquito activity increases, USA Today reported.
Twelve Straight Months of Record Global Heat
The Earth beat the monthly heat record for the 12th straight month in April, U.S. scientists say.
The Earth's average temperature in April was 58.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 2 degrees warmer than the 20th century average and half a degree higher than the previous record set in 2010, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Associated Press reported.
The record temperatures are due to a combination of man-made climate change and an El Nino, experts say.
Scientists "are feeling like broken records stating the same thing" each month, NOAA climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo told the AP.
April 2015 was the last month that was not record hot. December 1984 was the last month the Earth wasn't hotter than the 20th century average, and December 1916 was the last month that was record cold, according to NOAA records.
"These kinds of records may not be that interesting, but so many in a row that break the previous records by so much indicates that we're entering uncharted climatic territory (for modern human society)," Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, said in an email to the AP.