Archive for the 'Children' Category

Liquid Infant’s and Children’s Over-the-Counter Products Recalled

Liquid medicine for infants and children are included in the recallAmid a number of FDA concerns over quality control, McNeil Consumer Products has voluntarily recalled over 40 infant’s and children’s over-the-counter products.

Products included in the recall are Tylenol Infants’ Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Children’s Tylenol Plus Suspensions, Motrin Infants’ Drops, Children’s Motrin Suspensions, Children’s Motrin Cold Suspensions, Children’s Zyrtec liquids in bottles, and Children’s Benadryl Allergy liquids in bottles.

The FDA has recently discovered that some of the “products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than specified; others contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles.”

The agency says that there have been no reports of adverse side effects and the potential for serious medical evens is remote.  

Experts urge parents to immediately discontinue use and throw out any of these products that they may currently have in their medicine cabinets.

In an article by MedPage today, “McNeil recalled several varieties of Children’s Tylenol last September because of possible contamination with a Gram-negative bacteria, Burkholderia cepacia, and earlier this year the manufacturer recalled a wide variety of products, including Children’s Tylenol, because of consumer complaints of an unusual, moldy, musty, or mildew-like odor.”

SOURCE: “FDA provides consumer advice following recall of products for infants and children”, FDA, May 1, 2010

SOURCE: “Children’s Cold, Pain, and Allergy Medicines Recalled”, MedPage Today, May 1, 2010 

Excessive TV and Computer Use Weakens Teen and Parent Relationships

Excessive time on a computer interferes with other relationshipsFor every hour teens spend watching television, there is a 13% increased risk of low attachment to parents and a 24% increase in the risk of having low attachment to peers, according to a recent study out of New Zealand. 

Source: “TV, Computers Linked to Weak Relationships”, MedPage Today,  March 1, 2010
Source: Richards R, et al “Adolescent screen time and attachment to parents and peers” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2010; 164: 258-62.  1, 2010

Wolfing Down Food Can Affect the Body’s Hormones

Eating too quickly can lead to obesityEating too quickly may inhibit the release of hormones that cause you to feel full, and lead to overeating, according to researchers from Laiko General Hospital in Athens, Greece.

In their recent study, patients who ate a meal in 30 minutes had higher levels of two satiety-inducing hormones, than those who wolfed down their food in five minutes.  The two satiety-inducing hormones are called peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1).  They function to make the person feel full after a meal and do this by signaling the brain to stop eating. 

Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Source: “‘Wolfing’ Down Food Could Pack on the Pounds”, MedPage Today, November 2009  

Beware of this Super Bug in the Sand at the Beach

Sand at the beach can harbor dangerous bacteriaSand at the beach may harbor the super bug MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), according to researchers from the University of Washington.  Recently, public beaches in Seattle were tested by the researchers and nearly all of them contained staphylococci in the sand at the shoreline, with MRSA in half of the staph bacteria.

It is well known that staphylococci are frequently found in sand and salt water, but the more dangerous MRSA strain of staphylococci was unexpected by the researchers. 

As a result of these findings, the investigators are recommending caution for beechgoers, especially those who have exposed cuts or abrasions, or those who are ”medically fragile”.  Covering up with sand or digging down into the sand appears to increase the chance of coming in contact with a dangerous strain of staph, and a break in the skin provides the portal of entry for the super bug. 

A thorough shower with lots of soap and water immediately after the beach is always a good idea, and any signs of infection, nodules, ulcerations, persistent rash, or fever are important signs that should be brought to the attention of your doctor.    

Read more about MRSA

Source: Soge OO, et al “Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Methicillin-Resistant Coagulase-Negative Staphylococcus spp. (MRCoNS) from West Coast Public Marine Parks” ICAAC 2009; Poster C2-146.
Source: “MRSA Found on Beaches in Washington”, MedPage Today, September 2009


Don’t Give Cough or Cold Remedies to Children Under Four

Cough syrupParents should always consult their pediatrician before giving any medication to their child, but the labels on cough and cold remedies have historically stated that these medicines should not be given to children under age 2. 

Cough and cold remedies are coming under fresh scrutiny and drug manufacturers have voluntarily decided to change their labels stating that cough and cold medicines should NOT be given to children younger than age 4. Products with the old labels will not be removed immediately from store shelves but will be gradually replaced with newly-labeled products.

A booming, and rapidly growing, multimillion dollar industry, herbal drugs as well as other over-the-counter drugs, line the shelves of grocery stores and pharmacies. People often assume that they are safe if they are sold in their neighborhood grocery store.  This is not necessarily true.  Every year, thousands of children under age 12 end up in emergency rooms after taking over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Most of these children were unsupervised when they took the medicine.

Read more:

Source: CDC, October 2009

Electronic Cigarettes Contain Chemical Used in Antifreeze

Electronic cigarettes are loaded with carcinogens and addictive nicotine Readily available on the internet and shopping malls, electronic cigarettes are marketed to teens and touted as a healthy substitute for cigarettes.  E-cigarettes, which are often made to look like real cigarettes, are far from healthy.

The FDA has recently analyzed the ingredients in a small sample of cartridges from two leading brands of e-cigarettes. A chemical used in antifreeze that is toxic to humans was found, as well as other  known carcinogens, such as nitrosamines, were detected.   

These products have never been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval, so at this time the agency has no way of knowing, except for the limited testing it has performed, the various levels of nicotine or the different amounts or kinds of other chemicals that these products deliver to the user. In fact, little is known about the devices.

The devices, known as e-cigarettes, are battery operated and contain nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals that are converted into a vapor that the user inhales.  Flavors such as chocolate, cola and bubble gum provide a youthful appeal.  Manufacturers provide no health warning on the product and claim that they are a safe alternative to cigarettes because they do not burn tobacco.  

The FDA said it has been examining and detaining shipments of e-cigarettes at the borders since Summer 2008, and is currently involved in a lawsuit challenging its jurisdiction over certain e-cigarettes.
Source: “E-Cigarettes Subject of FDA Warning”, MedPage Today, July 23, 2009

Secondhand Smoke Can Damage the Brain

Passive Smoke is HarmfulPassive smoking, also known as secondhand smoke, has been found to impair cognition according to British researchers from the University of Cambridge. In their recent study, nonsmokers with the heaviest secondhand smoke exposure were at a 44% higher risk of scoring in the bottom 10% on cognitive testing, compared with those with the lowest level of passive smoking.  

People over fifty were included in this clinical trial, but other studies have also connected secondhand smoke exposure to impaired cognition in both children and adolescents.

Passive smoking has also been found to be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, tuberculosis,  breast cancer, psoriasis, glucose intolerance, and other chronic medical conditions.

The results from a number of studies affirm that public interventions which prohibit smoking can have an enormous impact on public health.  In fact several studies have provided evidence that smoking bans have not only reduced respiratory symptoms among workers in service industries, but hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction in the general population have significantly decreased.

Source: “Secondhand Smoke Linked to Adult Cognitive Impairment’, MedPage Today, February 15, 2009
Source: Llewellyn D, et al “Exposure to secondhand smoke and cognitive impairment in non-smokers: national cross sectional study with cotinine measurement” BMJ 2009; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b462.
Source: Menzies D et al. “Respiratory Symptoms, Pulmonary Function, and Markers of Inflammation Among Bar Workers Before and After a Legislative Ban on Smoking in Public Places.” JAMA. 2006;296:1742-1748

Chloramination of Drinking Water May Release Lead

Water faucetConcerns are surfacing over the possiblity of unsafe drinking water in areas across the U.S. that have switched from chlorination to an alternative water-disinfection technology: chloramination. 

From 2001 to 2004, lead concentrations spiked in many children living in the nation’s capital after the local water authority altered the treatment used to disinfect their drinking water.  In a recent article in, “About seven-and-a-half years ago, the District of Columbia’s water authority switched from chlorination to an alternative water-disinfection technology: chloramination. The goal had been to reduce the potentially carcinogenic by-products of chlorination that developed in drinking water. And the substitution worked. However, an unintended consequence of this improved disinfection technique was the sudden release of copious amounts of lead into the drinking water that serves the nation’s capital.”

A leading water expert, Marc Edwards, argues that the drinking water situation in DC mirrors what is occurring elsewhere around the nation, if not the world. Marc Edwards, of Blacksburg, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in the causes and control of copper and lead erosion in drinking water. 

Excessive lead in drinking water affects children more than adults, although adults can be significantly sickened as well.  The developing neurological system in children is easily susceptible to lead toxicity, and it can give rise to lower IQ, attention deficits, hyperactivity, weak executive control, and antisocial behavior.  Two recent studies have found that adults with high levels of lead in childhood not only showed signs of brain damage but were far more likely to be arrested in later years for violent crimes.  In fact researchers are discovering that our current prisons have a very high percentage of inmates with signs of childhood lead toxicity. 

Boiling the water or letting it sit out in an open container at room temperature will not effectively get rid of the residual chloramine and this can actually increase the lead concentration in the water.  As some of the water evaporates during the boiling process, the lead concentration of the water can increase as the water is boiled. 

Filtration systems can be used to eliminate the chloramine and lead in household water.   Although more expensive than most systems, reverse osmosis systems are the most effective filtration systems on the market.  Keep in mind, however, that reverse osmosis will also remove any of the beneficial fluoridation that is added to the water for dental protection, which is important for children.  Talk to your child’s dentist if you elect to use a reverse osmosis system.

A simple blood test is available to measure the amount of lead in your blood and to estimate how much lead you have been exposed to.  Pediatricians often recommend yearly blood tests for children six and under.

via “Water-cleanup experiment caused lead poisoning”,, Janet Raloff, January 27, 2009

via EPA, Information about Chloramine in Drinking Water

This post was updated on February 4, 2009

Melamine found in U.S. baby formula and food products

Topaz Wafer Rolls were found to be contaminatedThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently reported that the industrial chemical melamine and a byproduct cyanuric acid have now been detected in four of 89 containers of infant formula made in the United States. 

In a recent article in Yahoo, Finance, “In November, The Associated Press reported previously undisclosed FDA tests, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showing that out of 77 containers of domestic infant formula tested, a can of milk-based liquid Nestle Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron contained traces of melamine while Mead Johnson’s Enfamil LIPIL with Iron had traces of cyanuric acid.

The FDA has now updated its response to the AP’s FOIA request by posting results of 89 tests on its Web site. Those results show that two additional containers of Enfamil LIPIL with Iron had traces of cyanuric acid.

Separately, a third major formula maker — Abbott Laboratories, whose brands include Similac — told AP in November that in-house tests had detected trace levels of melamine in its infant formula.”

This contamination has been found to be extremely minute, at levels safe for babies, according to federal regulators. 

The FDA has broadened its domestic and import sampling and testing of milk-derived ingredients and finished food products containing milk or milk-derived ingredients from Chinese sources. Certain foods have been found to be contaminated with melamine and consumers have been advised not to consume any of these products.   As of January 8, 2009, the list of products includes:

  • Topaz Wafer Rolls with Chocolate Flavored Cream Filling
  • New!Topaz Wafer Rolls with Hazelnut Chocolate Flavored Cream Filling New!
  • Topaz Wafer Rolls with Vanilla Flavored Cream Filling New!
  • Topaz Wafer Rolls with Mocha Cappuccino Flavored Cream Filling New!
  • G&J Hot Cocoa Stuffer Item 120144
  • G&J His and Hers Hot Cocoa Set Item 120129
  • G&J Cocoa item 120126, sold in 2 flavors: French Vanilla Cocoa and Double Chocolate Cocoa
  • Wonderfarm “Successful” Assorted Biscuits
  • Wonderfarm “Royal Flavour” Assorted Biscuits
  • Wonderfarm “Lovely Melody” Assorted Biscuits
  • Wonderfarm “Daily Life” Assorted Biscuits
  • Topaz Hazelnut Wafer Rolls with Hazelnut Chocolate Flavored Creme Filling (photo page)
  • Sweet Time Christmas Dressy Bear with Chocolate Bar
  • Fresh and Crispy Jacobina Biscuits
  • Koala’s March Crème filled Cookies
  • YILI Brand Sour Milk Drink
  • YILI Brand Pure Milk Drink
  • Blue Cat Flavored Drinks
  • White Rabbit Candies
  • Mr. Brown Mandehling Blend Instant Coffee (3-in-1)
  • Mr. Brown Arabica Instant Coffee (3-in-1)
  • Mr. Brown Blue Mountain Blend Instant Coffee (3-in-1)
  • Mr. Brown Caramel Macchiato Instant Coffee (3-in-1)
  • Mr. Brown French Vanilla Instant Coffee (3-in-1)
  • Mr. Brown Mandheling Blend instant Coffee (2-in-1)
  • Mr. Brown Milk Tea (3-in-1)
  • Infant formula manufactured in China

via FDA, January 2009,

Photo above courtesy of the FDA

Mylicon drops for infants recalled

Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief Dye Free Non-Staining Drops have been recalled due to the potential for contamination with metal fragments generated during the manufacturing process. The simethicone drops are sold in one-ounce plastic bottles with one of two lot numbers: SMF007 and SMF008.  The lot numbers are located either on the bottom of the box containing the product or on the lower left side of the label on the bottle.

The bottles were distributed throughout the U.S. after Oct. 5. The recall does not affect any Original Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief products (1/2 oz- or 1-oz size) or the half-oz size of Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief Dye Free Non-Staining Drops.

The manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals, has said the potential for adverse events is low, and those that do occur are expected to be temporary and resolve without complication. Parents who have given the product to their infant should immediately stop using the product and are advised to contact their health care provider immediately.  The company can be contacted by calling 1-800-222-9435 (Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. EST) or via the internet at 

via FDA, November 7, 2008