Mephiticity

Via BBC:

GlaxoSmithKline has advised doctors in Canada to stop using a batch of its swine flu vaccine, amid reports of severe side-effects in some patients.

The batch of some 170,000 doses was put on hold because of the reported higher than usual number of patients having anaphylactic reactions.

This may include breathing problems, raised heart rate and skin rashes.

The pharmaceutical company said it was investigating the reports, which could lead to the withdrawal of the batch.

The reports say one in 20,000 people suffered adverse reactions to the batch of GlaxoSmithKline’s Aperanix vaccine.

Via HSToday:

by Anthony L. Kimery

‘Argues for vaccination as the one sure way to combat this disease before it strikes’

Four patients at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, at least five persons in a hospital in Wales, and a father in Quebec, Canada have become infected with an apparently mutated strain of H1N1 that is resistant to Tamiflu (oseltamivir), the leading antiviral of choice to treat influenza in lieu of having a vaccine.

Meanwhile, Norwegian health authorities reported a potentially significant mutation in H1N1 that could be responsible for the severest symptoms in those infected by the strain – especially persons most at risk to the virus – which authorities are monitoring carefully because of concerns that it, too, might become resistant to Tamiflu, and, possibly, other antivirals if they become as widely administered as oseltamivir.

via Washington Post:

Democrats had little time to savor their weekend Senate health-care victory, as two of the lawmakers who voted to move the debate forward Saturday night indicated Sunday that they will not vote to pass the package if it includes a government-run insurance program.

Despite the success in the test vote, the fragile consensus in the Democratic caucus will face its greatest test yet as the health-care debate moves to the Senate floor and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) struggles to stave off internal schisms. The cracks in the 60-member caucus are most obvious over the public insurance option.

As somebody who has lived without health insurance for a period of time…I can’t stress the importance of the public option enough.

Via WSJ:

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule Monday aimed at reducing pollution from construction sites, saying that it will significantly improve the quality of water nationwide.

The rule will be phased in over four years, starting in February, and when it is fully in effect, the EPA estimates there will be four billion fewer pounds of sediment discharged from construction sites each year.

Nearly 82,000 home builders, commercial and industrial building contractors, and civil-engineering companies are expected to be covered by the rule, which the EPA estimates will impose about $953 million of annual costs.

Such costs could raise home prices and cause a small number of builders to go out of business, resulting in some job losses, the EPA said in a draft version of the final rule.  It said job losses may be temporary given the relatively high turnover in the construction industry, and acknowledged that the new rule is being introduced at a time when construction has fallen off sharply.

Via CSMonitor:

The US appears ready to offer emissions-reductions targets at global climate talks next month that approximate levels in the energy and climate bill working its way through the US Senate.

Among other goals, the legislation aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions across the US economy by 3 percent below 2005 levels by 2012, 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030, and 83 percent by 2050.

… Developing countries have been insisting that developed countries aim high in terms of cutting emissions – a sore point that led a group of African negotiators to briefly walk out on pre-Copenhagen talks in Barcelona earlier this month.

Via AHN:

New Delhi, India (AHN) – The Ministry of Environment and Forests announced on Wednesday the revised national ambient air quality standards. The revision came after 15 years and will provide a legal framework for the control of air pollution and subsequently improve public health.

According to a ministry statement, “The review of the previous NAAQS and inclusion of new parameters was undertaken by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. The Proposal for revision in NAAQS was deliberated upon extensively and has been notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 on 16.11.2009 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.”

These revised standards are in line with the latest advancement in technology and research and is at par with global best practices, the release informed.

Via New York Times:

Excerpt:

” One goal of the Clean Water Act of 1972 was to upgrade the nation’s sewer systems, many of them built more than a century ago, to handle growing populations and increasing runoff of rainwater and waste. During the 1970s and 1980s, Congress distributed more than $60 billion to cities to make sure that what goes into toilets, industrial drains and street grates would not endanger human health.

But despite those upgrades, many sewer systems are still frequently overwhelmed, according to a New York Times analysis of environmental data. As a result, sewage is spilling into waterways. “