Health Highlights: Aug. 26, 2011

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

U.S. Bans Mexican Papaya Imports

All imports of fresh Mexican papayas have been banned due to widespread salmonella contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

The decision was made after an FDA investigation between May 12 and Aug. 18 found that more than 15 percent of fresh papayas from Mexico were contaminated with salmonella, MSNBC.com reported.

The contaminated papayas came from 28 different companies and included all the major papaya-producing areas in Mexico. The FDA investigation began after a salmonella outbreak earlier this year sickened 100 people in 23 states, MSNBC.com reported.

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Carcinogens Released by Scented Laundry Products: Study

Scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets may raise cancer risk, according to a new study.

Researchers found more than 25 "volatile" air pollutants -- including the carcinogens benzene and acetaldehyde -- when they tested the dryer vent emissions from two homes after scented laundry products were used, CBS News reported.

"This is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated," lead author Anne Steinemann, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs at the University of Washington, said in a written statement, CBS News reported. "If they're coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they're regulated, but if they're coming out of a dryer vent, they're not."

The study was published in the August issue of the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health.

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Advocacy Group: Ban Mesh Used in Pelvic Surgery

A type of surgical mesh used to treat pelvic collapse in women is associated with serious risks and should be banned, the U.S. consumer advocacy group Public Citizen says in a petition to the Food and Drug Administration.

The group says pelvic surgical mesh inserted through the vagina offers no benefits over traditional surgery with stitches, the Associated Press reported.

Last month, the FDA said that complications with the mesh are higher than previously estimated and that many patients experience bleeding, pain and infection. Last year, forms of the mesh were used in about 75,000 women who had prolapse surgery, according to the agency.

"Even the FDA seriously questions the safety and effectiveness of these mesh products, so they should be removed from the market immediately," said Public Citizen's Dr. Michael Carome, the AP reported.

Posted: August 2011


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