Health Highlights: Aug. 12, 2019

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

‘Miracle Mineral Solution’ Is No Miracle Cure, FDA Warns

Miracle Mineral Solution, which is sold online as a medical treatment, can cause serious and potentially life-threatening health problems and should not be bought or used by consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The agency has not approved the product for any use, but it’s marketed on social media as a remedy for autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, flu and other conditions.

When mixed, the solution develops into a dangerous bleach.

“Miracle Mineral Solution and similar products are not FDA-approved, and ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach. Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason,” FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said in an agency news release.

The FDA has received recent reports of people developing severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration and acute liver failure after drinking these products.

“The FDA will continue to track those selling this dangerous product and take appropriate enforcement actions against those who attempt to evade FDA regulations and market unapproved and potentially dangerous products to the American public,” Sharpless said.

Since 2010, the FDA has warned consumers about the dangers of Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol, Water Purification Solution (WPS) and other similar products.


Streets Around Notre Dame Cathedral to Undergo Lead Decontamination

Preparations are underway for lead decontamination of some streets surrounding Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Hundreds of tons of lead in the cathedral’s spire and roof melted during the April fire that severely damaged the landmark, and tests have revealed high levels of lead in some streets around the cathedral, the Associated Press reported.

Two decontamination techniques will be used, officials said. In one, a gel will be spread on public benches, street lights and other fixtures to absorb the lead. The gel will be left to dry for several days before it’s removed. The other method will use high pressure water jets with chemical agents.

On Tuesday, high fences blocked people from several streets and a bridge around the cathedral, the AP reported.


Bottled Water Offered to Residents of Newark, N.J. Due to Lead Level Concerns

Some residents of Newark, N.J. are being offered bottled water after tests found high levels of lead in drinking water despite the use of filters.

The bottled water was to be provided at four local centers beginning Monday, according to a statement from Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy, NBC News reported.

Newark has been struggling with elevated lead levels in its drinking water for nearly three years. The decision to provide bottled water comes a few days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the city that recent tests showed high levels of lead in drinking water in certain locations despite city-issued water filters.

“We are unable at this time to assure Newark residents that their health is fully protected when drinking tap water filtered through these devices,” the EPA said in a letter to the city, NBC News reported.

The agency said residents should be advised to use bottled water for drinking and cooking and urged the city to provide bottled water to residents with lead pipes “as soon as possible.”


New Ebola Drugs Highly Effective, Might Shorten Africa Outbreak

Two experimental Ebola treatments have worked so well in the Democratic Republic of Congo outbreak that they will be offered to all patients, scientists say.

The treatments — called REGN-EB3 and mAb-114 — have saved about 90% of patients who received them early in the course of Ebola infection, The New York Times reported.

It’s hoped that the treatments will end the epidemic in eastern Congo that the World Health Organization says has caused 2,800 known cases that have resulted in more than 1,800 deaths.

The treatments — both monoclonal antibodies — are infused intravenously into patient’s blood and attach themselves to the outside of the Ebola virus, preventing it from invading cells, The Times reported.

REGN-EB3 and mAb-114 were part of a four-treatment trial that’s included about 700 patients since November. Due to the high success rate of REGN-EB3 and mAb-114, a data-monitoring committee that met last Friday decided that the drugs should be offered to all patients.

The two other drugs in the trial, ZMapp and remdesivir, were much less effective and should no longer be offered, the committee decided, The Times reported.


Dole Baby Spinach Recalled

Some Dole baby spinach products have been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination.

The recall is for 6 oz Dole Baby Spinach bag, lot code W20308A (UPC code 0-71430-00964-2), and 10 oz Dole Baby Spinach clamshell, lot code W203010 (UPC code 0-71430-00016-8), both with Use-by dates of 08-05-2019.

“This product is expired and should no longer be on retail shelves,” the company noted in the news release.

No illnesses have been reported in association with the recalled products, according to the company. It advised anyone with the recalled baby spinach to throw it away.

For more information, consumers can call Dole at 1-800-356-3111.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.