CDC Says 1,500 Illnesses From Vaping, 33 Deaths
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.
Those numbers, which come from 49 states (not Alaska) plus DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands, represent nearly 200 more cases and 7 more deaths than last week when the number of report vaping-related illnesses tallied 1,299 and 26 fatalities, as CNN reported.
"This is extremely complicated and difficult. It's fatal or potentially fatal with half of the cases requiring intensive care," said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat to House lawmakers at a hearing Wednesday, as CNBC reported.
The CDC has warned in the past that almost all patients who get sick end up hospitalized, and the overwhelming number are young people. In cases where the CDC had age and gender data, 79 percent were under 35, with the median age of 23, as CNBC reported. The youngest was 13.
The CDC was able to identify the products used in 849 of the 1,479 confirmed EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury) cases, according to Fox News. From that sample, 78 percent reported using some sort of marijuana product containing THC within the three months prior to developing symptoms.
While the CDC confirmed that there are 33 vaping-related deaths, it said it is investigating other deaths to see if EVALI was the cause. The patients who died range in age from 17 to 75, as CNN reported.
Last month, New York State pinpointed vitamin E in marijuana vaping products as a possible culprit causing lung irritation, as EcoWatch reported. The CDC, however, has not adopted that stance, insisting that it still does not know the cause. "No one compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of these illnesses to date; and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak," the CDC's update reads.
In the meantime, the CDC recommends that smokers avoid THC-related products, not buy any vape material illegally, and not alter a legal product in any way. It also emphasized that smokers "consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette and vaping products," and recommended that "there is no safe tobacco product. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carry a risk."
The CDC warned that the impending flu season could exacerbate symptoms. The CDC said patients who develop EVALI might increase their risk of developing severe flu complications or other respiratory illnesses circulating during the winter, as CNBC reported.
"It's going to be a very challenging winter," Schuchat said at the House hearing.
Anticipating a ban on its product due to the young age of most EVALI patients, e-cigarette giant Juul announced that it will immediately suspend all sales of it popular fruity e-cigarette flavors—crème, mango, fruit, cucumber—that are often blamed for appealing to and addicting teenage customers to its products, as CNBC reported. However, the company will continue to sell its mint and menthol flavors on its website.
Juul's sales have soared over the past few years alongside a spike of middle school and high school students who report using e-cigarettes.
"We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers," said Juul CEO KC Crosthwaite said in a statement, according to CNBC.
The move did not pass muster with the company's critics though.
"Juul's announcement today that it is leaving mint and menthol flavors on the market shows that it hasn't changed one bit under its new leadership and isn't serious about preventing youth use," said Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in a statement, as CNBC reported.
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
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By Andrea Germanos
A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."
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