Health Highlights: Feb. 5, 2014

Health Highlights: Feb. 5, 2014

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

Healthy Choice Chicken Noodle Soup Recalled

Nearly 55,000 pounds of chicken noodle soup products are being recalled by ConAgra Foods because the labels do not alert consumers that they contain wheat and eggs, which can cause allergic reactions in some people.

The recall covers 14-ounce bowls of “Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice” soup that has the establishment number “P-770” inside the USDA Mark of Inspection and a “Best By” date of “JUN092015” on the bottom of the bowl, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

The soup was produced Dec. 16, 2013 and distributed to stores across the United States and in Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. No reports of health problems linked to the recalled soup have been received by the FSIS or ConAgra.

For more information, consumers can call the company at 1-800-289-6014.


Toxic Chemical Releases Fell in 2012: EPA

Total releases of toxic chemicals in the United States were 12 percent lower in 2012 than in 2011, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report released Tuesday.

In 2012, 3.63 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the air, water or land. Between 2011 and 2012, releases of toxic chemicals into land decreased 16 percent, releases into the air fell eight percent, and releases into land declined 16 percent.

The decrease in releases into the air were primarily due to reductions in emissions of hazardous air pollutants such as mercury and hydrochloric acid, which extends a long-term trend, the EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory report noted.

“People deserve to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their backyards, and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in an agency news release.


New Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign Targets Youth

Ruined teeth and damaged skin are among the images being used in a new U.S. government anti-smoking ad campaign targeting young people.

As part of the $115 million effort, the Food and Drug Administration will begin running ads Feb. 11 in more than 200 markets nationwide for at least one year. Along with placing print ads in magazines such as Teen Vogue and on television stations such as MTV, the campaign will also use social media, the Associated Press reported.

“The Real Cost” campaign is a “compelling, provocative and somewhat graphic way” of getting the attention of more than 10 million Americans ages 12 to 17 who are at risk of, or already, smoking cigarettes, according to Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

“Our kids are the replacement customers for the addicted adult smokers who die or quit each day,” he told the AP. “And that’s why we think it’s so important to reach out to them — not to lecture them, not to throw statistics at them — but to reach them in a way that will get them to rethink their relationship with tobacco use.”

One of the TV ads depicts a cigarette-shooting ray gun that wrecks teeth. In another ad, two teens want to buy cigarettes in a corner store and the cashier tells them it will cost them more than they have. The teens then rip off a piece of their skin and pull out a tooth to pay for the cigarettes.

“While most teens understand the serious health risks associated with tobacco use, they often don’t believe the long-term consequences will ever apply to them,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the AP reported.

“We’ll highlight some of the real costs and health consequences associated with tobacco use by focusing on some of the things that really matter to teens — their outward appearance and having control and independence over their lives,” she explained.

The FDA wants to reduce the number of young cigarette smokers by at least 300,000 within three years, the AP reported.