APHA Adopts New Policies on Food Safety, Global Climate Change, Multidrug-Resistant Organisms, Breastfeeding and Feminine Hygien

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Public Health Association today adopted 20 policies addressing a wide spectrum of public health issues from food safety and obesity to personal hygiene and global climate change. The...

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Public Health Association today adopted 20 policies addressing a wide spectrum of public health issues from food safety and obesity to personal hygiene and global climate change.

The following are descriptions of some of the various measures approved by the Association's Governing Council during its 135th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3-7. Full policies will be available online in January 2008 .

Address the urgent threats of global climate change. APHA strongly urges policy-makers to immediately take the necessary steps to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, to protect the health of the nation and world. Also, policies related to foreign assistance and global health should reflect the importance of global climate change and include mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce impacts on individuals, communities and ecosystems in the developing world. The Association also calls for increased education about the impacts of climate change for the public health work force and adequate resources for health agencies to support activities related to climate change.

"Global climate change will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on human health and the environment," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (Emeritus), executive director of APHA. "The public health community plays a critical role, both in advocating for mitigation and avoidance of climate change, and in assisting with adaptation to the health effects caused by climate change that cannot be prevented."

Develop public health interventions for the prevention and control of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). APHA encourages all health care facilities to enforce rigorous prevention and control practices with a focus on implementing clinically proven methodologies, including hand hygiene, active surveillance and diagnostic testing and environmental cleaning and disinfection. APHA also calls for increased funding for research into the impact of occupational MDRO exposure among health care workers and the development of a safety and health bulletin, supporting publications and enforcement guidance for the protection of health care workers with occupational exposure to MDROs.

"The fact that people seeking care for other health ailments are becoming infected with highly resistant bacteria is very disturbing," said Benjamin. "We must enforce rigorous infection and control practices in health care settings to reduce the number of these potentially life-threatening infections."

Call for global ban on lead use. Lead in paint and other consumer products has been scientifically linked to impaired intellectual and physical growth in children and continues to be used in dangerously high levels in some countries. APHA urges a worldwide ban on the continued use of lead in residential and outdoor paints, children's products and all non-essential uses in consumer products to avoid future public health problems. APHA calls on the federal government to enforce a ban on the manufacturing, import, distribution and sale of products containing non-essential lead and urges that such agencies be provided with the adequate resources to carry out this mandate. The Association also recommends that this ban be carried out through all trade agreements between U.S. and overseas corporations and all trade agreements completed by the World Trade Organization.

Address obesity and health disparities through federal nutrition and agriculture policies. APHA has historically been active on food system issues and has advocated for national policies that address obesity and health disparities. The Association furthers its efforts by advocating for access to healthier foods and a more sustainable food system by tackling longstanding challenges and addressing new and evolving demands in agricultural policy.

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