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News stories tagged with "public-health"

Scientists raise concerns about "persistent" carcinogens

New York State's Department of Health recently published an Internet-based map of cancer data by county. (see link below)

The American Cancer Society says the maps can be misinterpreted, and that the huge amounts of information on chemicals, and cancer, need further study. But public health advocates are raising alarms over a class of chemicals we eat, drink and breath in, and that can stay in our bodies for years. On the list: dioxin, PCBs and other organic compounds. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
Organic Valley CEO George Siemon
Organic Valley CEO George Siemon

Organic milk coop bans raw milk

Yesterday, David Sommerstein reported on the raw milk wars. Advocates of unpasteurized milk say it tastes better, is better for you, and helps small family farms. Food safety and public health officials say raw milk can harbor dangerous bacteria like E Coli, and isn't worth the risk. Recently, an unlikely actor stepped into the middle of the debate. In a split 4 to 3 vote, Organic Valley dairy cooperative decided to prohibit its farmer members from selling raw milk. The vote followed nearly a year of emotional debate. Organic Valley is one of the leading brands of pasteurized organic milk. Based in Wisconsin, it has more than 1600 farmer-members. 20 of them are in the North Country. Some of those members had sold raw milk or cheese on the side to supplement their business. George Siemon is Organic Valley's CEO and one of its founders. He told David Sommerstein the decision to prohibit raw milk sales had as much to do with liability and safety concerns as business.  Go to full article
Ray Hill says the safety of raw milk depends on a farmer's integrity
Ray Hill says the safety of raw milk depends on a farmer's integrity

Raw milk debate, alive in the North Country

New restrictions on raw milk sales in Wisconsin and Massachusetts are returning one of America's fiercest food debates to the headlines. More people are seeking out unpasteurized milk. They cite a broad range of health benefits and support for local dairies. But health officials and many scientists insist drinking raw milk is too risky. Even Locavore-in-Chief Michael Pollan cautions raw milk drinkers "not to turn a blind eye to the food safety concerns." In New York, about 30 dairies are licensed to sell direct from the farm, including five in the North Country. The law requires consumers to bring their own containers and actually watch as the milk is poured from the bulk tank. David Sommerstein got an up-close look at the raw milk debate at a farm in St. Lawrence County and has our story.  Go to full article
Maj. Gen. James Terry, Fort Drum's commander
Maj. Gen. James Terry, Fort Drum's commander

Ft. Drum commander discusses strategy & mental health, in Afghanistan and on post

Fort Drum's commander says the Army post near Watertown is the busiest he's ever seen it. Major General James Terry told reporters at a media briefing Friday that the 10th Mountain Division's headquarters is training to take control of the Kandahar region of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, most Fort Drum soldiers are either in, returning from, or preparing to go to Afghanistan or Iraq. General Terry highlighted efforts to address mental health as the Army continues to struggle with combat trauma and the stress of repeat deployments. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Getting more consumers to eat local

Over the next few days, farm leaders are taking a sort of local food road show across the North Country. Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering an "Eating Local Yet?" conference tomorrow in Plattsburgh, Friday in Canton, and Saturday in Watertown.

The goal is to persuade more consumers to buy local fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. The keynote speaker is one of the pioneer's of the local food movement.

Jennifer Wilkins is nutritional science expert at Cornell University. She wrote the nation's first food guide tailored to regional eating in the 1990s. She told David Sommerstein processed foods that rely on commodity subsidies and a heavy carbon footprint dominate the supermarket and fuel America's obesity epidemic. Local produce, on the other hand, is fresh and better for you and the land.

"Eating Local Yet?" conference, which will be held tomorrow night in Plattsburgh, Friday night in Canton, and Saturday afternoon in Watertown. The event will provide contacts for local farmers, recipes to cook local produce and meat, and lessons on how to make your own sauerkraut, lard, and other foodstuffs. Pre-registration is required. Contact your local extension office to register. The fee is $10.  Go to full article
Cong. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh_ speaks to children at St. Mary's school in Canton.
Cong. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh_ speaks to children at St. Mary's school in Canton.

Owens sells health care as campaign ramps up

It's Easter recess for Congress. That means lawmakers are criss-crossing their districts, making their case to constituents that their vote on health care was the right one. For freshman Congressman Bill Owens, that was a "yes" vote.

The Democrat from Plattsburgh will face a rematch this November against Conservative Douglas Hoffman. Alexandria Bay native Matt Doheny and Franklin County legislator Paul Maroun are seeking the Republican nomination along with Hoffman.

Owens made his case for the health care reform package on the western side of the 23rd district yesterday. He visited Croghan's meat market and met with agricultural leaders in Lewis County and Boonville. In the morning, he spoke to classroom full of third through sixth graders at St. Mary's catholic school in Canton. He shook hands with teachers and some parents.

Afterwards, he told David Sommerstein he's reminding residents of the district that some provisions in the health care bill kick in later this year, things like family insurance for children up to 26 years of age, limits on lifetime expenses, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  Go to full article

Personal care products play role in behavioral disorders?

The Vermont Senate is expected to take a final vote this week on a bill that would phase out the chemical bisphenol-A in some types of packaging. The bill would ban use of the chemical in reusable food and beverage containers, as well as infant formula and baby food containers. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England says BPA has been linked to a high number of health problems, including infertility, miscarriage, and breast and prostate cancer. The American Chemistry Council, an industry group, maintains that it is safe and helps keep food safe by keeping it fresh.

There's been a rise in reports of behavioral disorders in kids over the past decade or so. Some researchers say genetics, lack of sleep, and chaotic households all contribute to things like ADHD. Now researchers say another cause could be personal care products. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article
Jeff Liberty, the next generation of Tri-Town Packing in Brasher Falls.  But there's too much paperwork and not enough skilled meat cutters.
Jeff Liberty, the next generation of Tri-Town Packing in Brasher Falls. But there's too much paperwork and not enough skilled meat cutters.

A good knifeman is hard to find

The "buy and eat local" movement continues to grow. In at least one instance, it's struggling with success. More people are eating local beef, lamb, and other meats for health, safety and economic reasons. And more farmers are raising the animals. But in between consumer and producer, there's a shortage of slaughterhouses. Local abattoirs used to dot the North Country landscape. But consolidation in the food industry and onerous USDA regulations have pushed many out of business. Another problem is a lack of skilled meat cutters. In part two of a series on the slaughterhouse shortage, David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
The rally was held outside River Hospital and its nursing home.
The rally was held outside River Hospital and its nursing home.

1000 Islanders rally for "a miracle" at nursing home

About 60 people braced the chilly winds coming off the St. Lawrence River yesterday to urge River Hospital not to close its nursing home and adult day care unit. The hospital says it can't sustain the home's financial losses. But the demonstrators believe the community can raise the money needed to keep open the place their elders call home. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Residents fight to keep nursing home open in A-Bay

The River Hospital in Alexandria Bay is closing its 27-bed nursing home, the only one in the Thousand Islands. Officials say the home has been losing money and threatened to bring down the hospital itself. 44 people will lose their jobs. Many community members say they were never given a chance to help keep the home open, like they did with the hospital several years ago. They're fighting to keep the home open for their elders, many of whom have never lived outside the Thousand Islands region. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

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