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Health Highlights: Oct. 18, 2019

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

Johnson & Johnson Recalls Baby Powder Due to Presence of Asbestos

A shipment of baby powder has been recalled by Johnson & Johnson after U.S. authorities found asbestos in it.

The recall comes after months of denial from the company about the presence of the cancer-causing substance in its talc-based products, The New York Times reported Friday.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found trace levels of chrysotile asbestos in samples from a bottle of baby powder bought from an online retailer, according to Johnson & Johnson.

The recalled lot of baby powder is #22318RB and includes 33,000 bottles sold by an unidentified retailer, said company spokesman Ernie Knewitz. He added that this is the first time Johnson & Johnson has pulled its baby powder from the market, The Times reported.

Johnson & Johnson is facing thousands of lawsuits from people who allege that baby powder and other talc-based products triggered cancer in them.

Some of the plaintiffs have mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer associated with asbestos exposure, and others have ovarian cancer, which has also been linked to asbestos, The Times reported.


Vaccine Exemptions for U.S. Kindergartners Continue to Rise

The rate of U.S. kindergartners with vaccine exemptions continues to inch upward, a federal government study says.

The exemption rate for one or more required vaccines was 2.5% in the 2018-19 school year, up from 2.3% in the previous year, and 2.1% in the 2016-17 school year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reported Friday.

In 2018-19, state rates ranged from 0.1% in Mississippi to 7.7% in Idaho and Oregon.

Among vaccine-exempt kindergartners nationwide, only 0.3% had a medical exemption while 2.2% had a nonmedical exemption, according to the study published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"Measles outbreaks affecting school-age children across multiple states during the 2018-19 school year underscore the importance of both school vaccination requirements for preventing disease spread and school coverage assessments to identify pockets of undervaccination," the study authors wrote.

"Although the overall percentage of children with an exemption increased slightly for the second consecutive school year, children with exemptions still represent a small proportion of kindergartners nationally and in most states," they noted.

"More importantly, in 25 states, the number of nonexempt undervaccinated kindergartners exceeded the number of those with exemptions," the authors added.


Single-Sport Focus Not Good for Children: NATA

Parents should try to keep their kids from focusing on a single sport for as long as possible to reduce their risk of injuries and other problems, the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) says.

In new recommendations, the group also says that young athletes should get at least two days of rest each week and that they shouldn't play a single sport for more than eight months a year, The New York Times reported Friday.

As a guideline, the NATA says the number of hours children should spend in sports training each week should match their age.

"Single-sports specialization is bordering on an epidemic in terms of the risks it can pose, for physical injuries as well as the potential for negative psychological effects," said Tory Lindley, NATA president, The Times reported.

"There is a myth that it takes a single-sport specialization to succeed," Lindley added. "In fact, we're learning from research and anecdotal evidence that there is actually an opportunity for athleticism to improve if you expose the body to different sports and different movements."

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