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Health Highlights: Oct. 25, 2019

U.S. Air Quality Declines: Study J&J; Baby Powder Pulled from CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart

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

U.S. Air Quality Declines: Study

After years of improvement, air quality in the United States has declined in recent years, according to a new study.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers analyzed Environmental Protection Agency data and found that fine particulate pollution increased an average of 5.5% nationwide between 2016 and 2018, after falling nearly 25% over the previous seven years, The New York Times reported.

Likely reasons for the rise include increases in driving and the burning of natural gas, wildfires in the West, and decreased enforcement of the Clean Air Act, according to the study.

"After a decade or so of reductions, this increase is a real about-face," said study co-author Nick Muller, professor of economics, engineering and public policy, The Times reported.

Fine particulate pollution has been linked to a number of health problems such as asthma and respiratory inflammation, lung cancer, heart attack, stroke and miscarriage.

The study estimated that there were nearly 10,000 additional premature deaths between 2016 and 2018 due to the increase in fine particulate pollution, The Times reported.

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J&J Baby Powder Pulled from CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart

Sales of 22-ounce bottles of Johnson & Johnson baby powder have been halted at CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found trace amounts of asbestos in a single bottle bought online, CBS News reported.

The company called the recall a precautionary measure and says its baby powder does not contain asbestos.

Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of lawsuits claiming that its talc products contain asbestos, CBS News reported.

Consumer News