"Published Occasionally at Irregular Intervals"
Arthur L. Craigmill ~
Vol. 24 No. 1 -- March
"IN THIS ISSUE"
During 1998-2002, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) received reports from state health departments
infections in persons who had contact with
reptiles (e.g., lizards, snakes, and turtles). Salmonella
usually cause gastroenteritis but can result in invasive illness (e.g.,
septicemia and meningitis), especially in infants and immunocompromised
persons. For decades, reptiles have been known as a source for
salmonellosis; however, numerous reptile owners remain unaware that
reptile contact places them and other household members, including
children, at greater risk for salmonellosis. Increasing evidence
suggests that amphibians (e.g., frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders)
also can pose risks for salmonellosis in humans. This report
describes cases of reptile-associated salmonellosis in six states*,
offers recommendations on preventing transmission of Salmonella
reptiles and amphibians to humans, and provides an update on state
regulations mandating education at pet stores about salmonellosis.
*(California, Connecticut, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio
and Wisconsin. At least six other states (Kansas, Maine, Maryland,
Oklahoma, Washington, and Wyoming) reported similar cases.)
2001, an infant aged 3 months was taken to
an emergency department (ED) after 1 day of bloody diarrhea and fever.
The infant was sent home with no therapy and recovered in 2 days; a
stool specimen yielded Salmonella
Nima. Although no reptiles
lived in the home, the infant's father was a high school biology
teacher who handled reptiles in the classroom, including a large snake
(i.e., a boa) that he often draped over his shoulders. A stool culture
from the snake grew S
When interviewed, the father indicated
that he knew reptiles carry Salmonella
and was careful to wash his
hands after handling them or their containers. However, he did not
change clothing when he came home from work before holding his child.
During June 2002,
a child aged 21 months was admitted to a
hospital with fever, abdominal cramps, and bloody diarrhea. The child
received no antibiotic therapy and was discharged the next day. Blood
and stool cultures yielded Salmonella
serotype Poona. A sibling aged 6
years also had fever and bloody diarrhea and a stool culture that
Poona. The family
had purchased an iguana approximately 1
month earlier. The children had cleaned the iguana's cage and handled
the iguana 2 days before their illness onsets. A stool culture from the
iguana grew S
During January 2000,
an infant aged 1 month visited a clinic
with fever and diarrhea; the infant was not hospitalized. A stool
specimen yielded Salmonella
Tennessee. One week before illness
onset, the infant's family moved into a household that contained a
bearded dragon (i.e., Pogona
). The pet reptile's cage had
been washed in the kitchen near the infant's bottle nipples. A stool
culture from the bearded dragon yielded S
. Tennessee. An adult
in the house reported being aware that turtles and iguanas are
reservoirs for Salmonella
unaware that all reptiles can carry
The bearded dragon
was placed outside the home and later
donated to a zoo.
1998, twin infants aged 2 weeks were
admitted to a hospital after 1 day of poor feeding, diarrhea, and
fever. They were treated intravenously with ampicillin for 6 days. The
infants' mother and a child aged 3 years in the home also had diarrhea.
Stool specimens from one of the twins, the mother, and the older child
partial serotype O group 44, 45, 47, 48, or
50, H antigen G complex. The family recently had acquired an iguana,
which was not allowed out of its cage. Only the mother handled the
reptile and cleaned the cage. When the family learned that the iguana
was the probable source of Salmonella
infections, the iguana was
euthanized. Culture of intestinal contents from the iguana yielded
with the same
partial serotype as the patients' isolates.
2000, local health departments reported
seven gastrointestinal illnesses associated with iguanas or turtles
acquired at county fairs. In one incident, two siblings aged 11 and 13
years with diarrhea and abdominal cramping visited an ED. No stool
specimens were collected from the children. However, stool specimens
from a turtle that the siblings received at a county fair yielded
During the same period, a stool specimen
from a man aged 20 years with diarrhea also yielded S.
recently had won a turtle at a county fair.
. During November
2002, an infant aged 24 days was admitted to
a hospital after 1 day of bloody diarrhea. The infant was hospitalized
for 3 days and received intravenous fluids and supportive care. A stool
culture yielded Salmonella
serotype IV 44:z4z23:-. The infant was
treated for 14 days with oral amoxicillin. An iguana was reported
living in the home of the infant's father; however, attempts to collect
stool samples from the iguana were unsuccessful.
Two weeks later, an infant aged 4 months in a neighboring county
visited a hospital after 8 days of fever of 100.3° F (37.9° C)
and 3 days of decreased range of motion in the left hip. Salmonella
serotype IV 44:z4z23:- was isolated from both left hip aspirate and
blood cultures. The infant was hospitalized for 6 days and treated
intravenously with cefotaxime and gentamicin. An iguana was reported
living in the infant's home, but the reptile was removed before it
could be tested. Both iguanas associated with the infants were traced
back by the state health department to the same distributor in Florida.
associated with reptiles is a continuing public health
concern. During the 1970s, small pet turtles were a major source
the United States. In 1975, the Food
and Drug Administration banned commercial distribution of small
(i.e.,<4 in. long) turtles; the majority of states prohibited the
such turtles. These measures prevented an estimated 100,000 cases of
salmonellosis among children each year. However, reptiles remain
popular pets in the United States; during 1991-2001, the estimated
number of households with reptiles doubled from approximately 850,000
to 1.7 million. The increase in pet reptile popularity has been
paralleled by an increase in the number of reptile-related Salmonella
serotypes isolated from humans.
Reptiles are commonly colonized with Salmonella
and shed the organism
intermittently in their feces. Attempts to treat reptiles with
antibiotics to eliminate Salmonella
have been unsuccessful and
might lead to increased antibiotic resistance. Salmonella
well in the environment and can be isolated for prolonged periods from
surfaces contaminated by reptile feces. For this reason, even
minimal indirect contact with reptiles can result in illness.
Increasing evidence suggests that amphibians also are a source for
salmonellosis. Frogs and toads are frequent carriers of
and have been
linked by epidemiologic evidence to outbreaks.
reptile and amphibian contacts are estimated to account for 74,000 (6%)
of the approximately 1.2 million sporadic Salmonella
occur each year in the United States.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of mandated point-of-sale education in
reducing amphibian- and reptile-associated salmonellosis could help
guide future prevention efforts. In the meantime, areas such as NYC
have adopted restrictions on the sale of certain reptiles similar to
those for small turtles.
and Mortality Weekly Report, 52(49), December 12, 2003.
USDA PESTICIDE DATA PROGRAM RELEASES 2002 DATA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service
announced that the Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary, Calendar
Year 2002 data are available via the Internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/science/pdp/download.htm.
The Pesticide Data Program (PDP) provides statistically reliable data
on pesticide residues detected in selected foods. Since the program was
initiated in 1991, PDP has tested 60 commodities including fresh and
processed fruit and vegetables, grains, milk, butter, beef and poultry.
Testing of finished drinking water began in 2001 and untreated drinking
water was added in 2003.
During 2002, PDP tested fresh and processed fruit and
vegetables, barley, rice, beef tissues and drinking water for various
insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and growth regulators. Of the
12,899 samples collected and analyzed, 10,056 were fruit and vegetable
commodities including, apple juice, apple sauce, canned and frozen
sweet peas, sweet corn, as well as fresh apples, asparagus, bananas,
broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, peaches,
pineapples, potatoes, spinach and sweet bell peppers. PDP also tested
725 samples of barley, 495 rice samples, 924 beef samples, and 699
drinking water samples.
Approximately 78 percent of all samples were
domestic and 20 percent were imported. Approximately 1 percent of the
samples were of mixed origin and less than 1 percent was of unknown
origin. Asparagus, bananas, cucumbers, peaches, and pineapples
accounted for most of the imported commodities.
percent of the fruit and vegetable samples, 15 percent of barley
samples, 18 percent of rice samples, and 15 percent of the beef tissue
samples had detectable residues. Residues detected in beef samples
resulted almost entirely from detections of persistent chemicals and
their metabolites, most of which have been canceled for agricultural
use for a number of years.
Overall, approximately 58 percent of all samples
detectable residues, 19 percent contained 1 residue, and 23 percent
contained more than 1 residue. Generally, fewer residues were found in
processed products and grains than in fresh commodities. Low levels of
environmental contaminants were detected in carrots, celery, potatoes,
spinach, and beef adipose tissues. However, the concentrations detected
were below levels that trigger regulatory actions.
In finished drinking
water, PDP detected low levels (measured in parts per trillion) of some
pesticides, primarily widely used herbicides. None of the detections
exceeded established EPA Maximum Contaminant
Levels (MCL) or Health Advisory (HA) levels.
A tolerance is the maximum amount of a pesticide
residue allowable on a raw agricultural commodity. Established
tolerances are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title
40, Part 180. In 2002, PDP testing found residues exceeding an
established tolerance in 0.3 percent of the 12,200 samples (excluding
drinking water). Residues with no established tolerance were found in
2.7 percent of all samples (excluding drinking water). These residues
were detected at very low concentrations and may be due to spray drift,
crop rotations, or the use of sanitizers in food handling
establishments. PDP reports these findings to FDA when they are
reported by testing laboratories.
REF: Agricultural Marketing Service News Release, 025-04.
This report is also available on the PDP Web site at
DPR RELEASES DATA ON
The California Department of Pesticide
Regulation (DPR) has released its 2002 summary of pesticide illness
information. DPR investigated 1,859 potential cases of pesticide
illness in 2002, compared to 979 cases in 2001. Pesticides were found
to be at least a possible factor in 1,316 cases in 2002, compared to
616 cases the previous year (each case represents a person).
Two factors accounted for the
increase. First, DPR
identified more suspected illnesses through a contract with the
California Poison Control System. Second, DPR received a significant
number of cases (373 suspected or confirmed illnesses) based on just
two incidents. Both involved drift from agricultural field applications
of the fumigant metam-sodium.
DPR has taken several enforcement
actions aimed at preventing pesticide drift and other hazards. Last
December, DPR reached a $60,000 civil settlement on the largest drift
incident in 2002. Other DPR initiatives involving fumigants and drift:
- New methyl bromide regulations, now
pending, will limit "seasonal" exposures that primarily involve workers.
- New restrictions will be proposed this year
for MITC, the chemical breakdown product of metam-sodium. Some County
Agricultural Commissioners have used their authority to impose local
restrictions -- such as buffer zones -- for metam-sodium and other
- DPR's Enforcement Branch advised County
Agricultural Commissioners that drift incident reduction and fumigant
application inspections are high priorities for local enforcement this
DPR also uses its pesticide
illness data as part of
an ongoing effort to detect and prevent injury and illness. Some recent
- DPR issued formal guidelines to help County
Agricultural Commissioners better investigate drift incidents and other
pesticide episodes. The guidelines, released last December, will help
local authorities survey potential victims and pursue investigations.
- DPR recently revised and simplified worker
safety leaflets, printed in English and Spanish, to more clearly
communicate field safety requirements for laborers.
- DPR expects to propose new hazard
communication ("right to know") regulations to help protect workers
this year. DPR has been actively consulting with farm worker advocates
and industry representatives on rules to improve the worker
notification process for pesticide applications.
Meanwhile, DPR's work with the
Control System (CPCS) to improve illness reporting produced significant
results in 2002. The collaborative effort prompted more than 500
investigations. Some 317 were deemed at least possibly related to
pesticide exposure. About two-thirds of these cases were
For example, CPCS detected
attempted suicides that
might not have been reported to DPR. One such case in 2002 involved a
39-year-old man in San Diego County who ate gopher bait. He was taken
to an emergency room, kept overnight, and then referred for psychiatric
Other cases provided by CPCS
referrals: An asthmatic
woman in Los Angeles County set off an insect fogger in a closed room,
then returned to rescue her cat. The woman suffered immediate
respiratory symptoms but did not seek medical treatment until the
following day; the cat was unharmed. In Yolo County, a woman cleaning
her bathroom mixed household chemicals and suffered respiratory
problems. And in Imperial County, a youngster who found an insect
repellent spray can in a dumpster sprayed the pesticide into the eyes
of a playmate. The victim's grandmother immediately flushed the child's
eyes with water and sought medical aid.
On average, DPR learned of a
suspected illness from
CPCS within five days after it occurred. DPR investigators have found
that prompt notification is often a crucial factor in successful
investigations, and CPCS data proved to be an important source of
information on non-agricultural and non-occupational illnesses. The
collaboration between DPR and CPCS began in 2001 and ended in November
2002, when a $100,000 grant from U.S. EPA ran out. DPR plans to resume
working with CPCS if funding becomes available.
Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program, run by the Worker Health and
Safety Branch, does not produce a "census" of pesticide injuries, since
there is no way to document illnesses that go unreported. Therefore, an
increase or decrease in illness statistics in a single year does not
indicate the overall success of pesticide regulatory programs.
the illness surveillance program focuses on assuring that no type of
illness is overlooked, and DPR scientists analyze illness data to
determine trends and identify potential problem areas. Worker Health
and Safety Branch studies have shown that pesticide-related injuries at
work, or cases related to agricultural activities, are more likely to
be reported than pesticide illnesses at home. Pesticide illness studies
-- supported by hospital records -- also show that DPR's program is
very effective at detecting any incident involving multiple victims.
physicians are required by law to report any suspected pesticide
illness, compliance is low. DPR has developed other sources of illness
data, and County Agricultural Commissioners investigate every report
they receive from physicians, DPR, or other sources. DPR's Worker
Health and Safety Branch then reviews county investigations and
determines whether cases are pesticide-related.
The second largest drift incident in 2002 occurred
in Kern County in June, when 138 vineyard workers arrived on the job
just as a metam-sodium application was ending in an adjacent field.
While only one worker sought medical care, DPR determined that 123 of
the workers developed exposure symptoms such as eye and respiratory
irritation, and headaches. (No information was available on the
remaining 15 workers.) Enforcement action is pending in that case.
Other data from the 2002 illness
- Incidents totaled 656 in 2002, compared to
539 the previous year. (An incident involves one or more suspected
cases. The number of incidents has generally declined in the past
decade; during the early 1990s, the total number of incidents exceeded
1,000 annually. In the same time period, DPR also undertook substantial
efforts to improve reporting.)
- About 60 percent of the reported illnesses
involved occupational exposures. Slightly more than half of them (53
percent) involved use of pesticides for agricultural purposes.
- Of the 1,316 suspected cases, a definite
connection to pesticide exposure was established in 105 cases. Another
920 were classified as probable, and 291 as possible.
- Some 240 cases involved field workers.
Fumigations were implicated in 160 of these (including the 123 in the
Kern County vineyard incident described above). Some 78 worker
illnesses involved exposure to residues, and early reentry was a
- DPR investigated five deaths in 2002, and
found three definitely related to pesticide exposure. An 88-year-old
Alzheimer's disease patient in San Bernardino County mistook a
sanitizer for apple juice. An 88-year-old farmer in Stanislaus County
using bleach bottles to store an organophosphate pesticide and water
drank from the wrong bottle and sought medical aid, but died in the
hospital. In the third fatality, a man broke into his San Diego County
home during a fumigation.
For an online summary of the 2002
data, see www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/whs/2002pisp.htm.
(For a county-by-county breakdown
of suspected pesticide illnesses, see www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pressrls/2002illnesstable.pdf.)
REF: DPR Online Bulletin,February 26, 2003.
of Health Services website,
March 18, 2004. ~~ New
pesticide safety and integrated pest management materials available
The EPA Office of Pesticide Programs announced the
of several new documents providing valuable information on pesticide
safety and integrated pest management.
- 1) “Help Yourself to a Healthy
Home: Protect you Children’s
This popular booklet was a “best seller” last year and contains 56
pages of helpful information for parents, grandparents and other care
givers. It tells you what you need to know about environmental
contaminants found in many American homes and how to protect your
family from risks posed by carbon monoxide, unhealthy drinking waters,
poor indoor air quality, lead poisoning, hazardous household products,
pesticides, and much more. It has “Questions to Ask” that will help you
learn if you home has hidden safety and health dangers, and suggests a
wide range of action steps you can take to protect your children’s
health – and make your home a Healthy Home. This booklet is also
available in Spanish as “Contribuya a Tener un Hogar Sano.” To order,
call Kathy Seikel at 703-308-8272, or email email@example.com.
- 2) “Join our Pest Patrol: A
Backyard Activity Book for Kids on
Integrated Pest Management.” This brand new publication is
elementary school children in grades 3-5. Originally developed by the
Minnesota Department of Agriculture under an EPA grant, “Join our Pest
Patrol” proved to be such a success with educators that we have now
adapted it for nationwide use. Join our Pest Patrol contains 29 pages
of fun activities that can easily be incorporated into reading,
science, or even math and art classes. It provides kids - and teachers
- with important information about pest identity and biology, and
ecology. Even more important, it helps children understand the impact
our personal choices – like whether or not to use chemicals to control
pests – can have on the environment. To order, call Kathy Seikel at
703-308-8272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bulk orders accepted.
Environmental Protection Agency, January 12, 2003.
- 3) Pesticide safety promotional items and pamphlets. EPA’s
Labeling Initiative (CLI) offers a wealth of information and free
promotional items to raise awareness about the importance of reading
pesticide products labels. Promotional items available free of charge
to the public include rulers, bag clips, and jar openers. CLI has also
developed a number of popular brochures including “Read the Label
First! Protect your Household,” “Read the Label First! Protect your
Garden,” “Read the Label First! Protect your Children,” and “Read the
Label First! Protect your Pets.” To order, call 703-305-5017 or
email request to email@example.com.
~~ Preventing Listeria Contamination in
Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes)
is a harmful
bacterium that can be found in a variety of foods. In pregnant women, L.
monocytogenes-caused illness can result in miscarriage, fetal
death, or severe illness or death of a newborn infant. The elderly and
those with weakened immune systems are also at risk for severe illness
or death from L. monocytogenes-contaminated food.
Keeping ready-to-eat foods cold is key to
reducing listeriosis, a
serious infection in humans. That's one of the conclusions of a recent
Food and Drug Administration risk assessment on the relationship
between foodborne listeriosis and human health.
Link to http://www.fda.gov/
for the full article.
Consumer, January-February, 2004.
~~ Food safety and fresh produce
Recent outbreaks of food-related illnesses have
increased many people’s
concerns about the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables — regardless
whether the cause is hepatitis A, Escherichia
other foodborne microorganism. These concerns already had increased
during the past decade when, due primarily to an increased awareness of
the health benefits fresh produce provides, people in the United States
were eating more of these foods. When mom told us to eat fresh fruits
and vegetables, she knew what she was talking about: these foods
contain compounds that help decrease the risk of many illnesses,
including cancer and macular degeneration. In addition, consumers in
the United States expect to have a multitude of fresh produce available
year round. To supply this demand, the produce industry has developed a
distribution system to move both domestic
and foreign produce to the dinner table.
For the full report link to: http://www.cast-science.org
REF: CAST (Council for Agricultural Science and
Technology) Commentary, December 2003
~~ 10th Edition of Report on Carcinogens
The Department of Health and Human Services has
published its biennial
Report on Carcinogens, adding steroidal estrogens used in estrogen
replacement therapy and oral contraceptives to its official list of
"known" human carcinogens. This and 15 other new listings bring the
total of substances in the report, "known" or "reasonably anticipated"
to pose a cancer risk, to 228.
The tenth report newly lists the group of hormones
steroidal estrogens as "known human carcinogens." A number of the
individual steroidal estrogens were already listed as "reasonably
anticipated carcinogens" in past editions, but this is the first report
to so list all these hormones, as a group. As with all the other
medications listed, the Report on Carcinogens does not address or
attempt to balance potential benefits of use of these products.
Also newly listed as "known" causes of cancer in
humans are broad
spectrum ultraviolet radiation, whether generated by the sun or by
artificial sources; wood dust created in cutting and shaping wood;
nickel compounds and beryllium and its compounds commonly used in
industry. Beryllium and beryllium compounds are not new to the list but
were previously listed as "reasonably anticipated to be a human
The report is accessible at http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov
Release, NIEHS (National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences), Dec. 11, 2002.
~~ GRAS: Time-Tested, and Trusted, Food
If Marco Polo were to attempt to bring back
spices from the Orient today, he would have more to worry about than
pirates. The 13th century explorer now would be required to prove that
his cargo is not toxic, does not cause birth defects, and will not
interfere with nutrition or affect individuals with allergies--unless
the flavorings already are "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) by the
Food and Drug Administration.
GRAS is one of four legal categories set up by
Congress under the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food,
Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). At the time, knowledge about
food science and the potential long-term harmful effects of food
chemicals on health were beginning to surface. Congress decided it was
not necessary for the food industry to prove the safety of substances
such as salt, sugar, and spices intentionally added to foods if they
were already generally regarded as safe by qualified scientists.
A GRAS substance, therefore, is one that has a
long, safe history of common use in foods, or that is determined to be
safe based on proven science. If, however, new evidence suggests that a
GRAS substance may no longer be safe, the FDA can prohibit its use or
require further studies to determine its safety.
Some substances may be GRAS for one use, but not
for others. For example, some uses of a food substance are intended for
a narrowly defined population, such as newborn infants who consume
infant formula as the sole item of the diet. In this case, there may be
special considerations associated with that population, but not with
general use of the food substance.
Manufacturers add substances to foods to prevent
spoilage or to enhance appearance, taste, texture, or nutritive value.
Without them, cakes wouldn't rise, salt would lump, bread would mold
more easily, ice cream would separate into ice crystals, and
marshmallows would harden into bite-sized rocks. Food additives allow
us to enjoy a variety of safe, wholesome, and tasty foods all year
round. They also help make convenience foods readily available.
New Food Additives
The FDA approves new ingredients for use in the
food supply based on reviews of extensive scientific research on
safety. To market a new food additive, a manufacturer must first
petition the FDA for its approval. The petition must provide convincing
evidence that the proposed additive performs as it is intended. Animal
studies using large doses of the additive for long periods often are
needed to show that the substance would not cause harmful effects in
people when eaten in expected amounts. Studies of the additive in
humans also may be submitted to the FDA.
If an additive is approved, the FDA issues a
regulation that may include the types of foods in which it can be used,
maximum amounts to be used, and how it should be identified on food
labels. To further assure safety, the FDA may require the manufacturer
to monitor its use. All additives are subject to ongoing safety reviews
as scientific understanding and methods of testing continue to improve.
If ingredients such as new sweeteners are added
to conventional foods without being approved by the FDA, the food may
be considered adulterated or misbranded. The FD&C Act prohibits
marketing conventional foods containing ingredients that are not either
GRAS or newly approved by the FDA, as well as health claims made about
their use on the product's labeling.
For More Information
GRAS or prior-sanctioned status does not guarantee a
substance's safety. Sometimes new evidence shows that a substance may
not be as safe as it was commonly thought to be. If new data suggests
that a substance under either of these categories may be unsafe, the
FDA may take action to remove the substance from food products or
require the manufacturer to conduct studies to evaluate the newly
REF: FDA Consumer magazine
~~ BSE and the Safety of Pets
The same safeguards in place to protect the U.S.
food supply from the agent that causes Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
(BSE) are also protecting pet foods.
Shortly after government officials first announced
that a cow in the U.S. had tested positive for BSE, pet owners began
contacting the Center for Veterinary Medicine to ask if their pets
would be safe. In response, CVM issued this statement: With the
exception of cats, no pets (companion animals) are known to be
susceptible to the infectious agent that causes BSE in cattle. No
evidence of BSE has ever been found in dogs, horses, birds, or
reptiles. However, cats are susceptible. Approximately 90 cats in the
UK and several cats in other European countries have been diagnosed
with the feline version of BSE, or FSE. Before it was recognized that
they were susceptible to the BSE agent, cats were exposed to the
infectious agent through commercial cat food or through meat scraps
provided by butchers. The number of reported cases of FSE in the UK and
Europe has been declining annually since 1994 after implementation of
feed bans in those countries.
Currently in the U.S., animal products that are
prohibited from cattle feed are acceptable for use in pet
food. Such products include meat and bone meal, for example. However,
FDA believes that the safeguards it has put into place (specifically,
the 1997 rule banning the use of mammalian tissue in ruminant feeds) to
prevent BSE in the U.S. have also protected cats. To date, no case of
FSE has been found in the U.S. Material from the BSE positive cow in
Washington State (discovered December 23, 2003) did not pose a risk to
cats in the U.S. because none of it was released into distribution. All
firms involved with the incident in Washington State were found to be
in compliance with the BSE rules.
In addition, when the BSE positive cow was found in
Canada in May 2003, the FDA stopped imports of all pet foods made from
material derived from mammalian sources, and the pet food manufacturer
recalled the food it had manufactured that was thought to contain
material from the infected cow.
FDA continues to review these safeguards to be sure
they are adequate, especially in light of the first BSE case
found in the U.S. FDA announced additional measures on January 26 to
further safeguard the U.S. food supply against BSE. These actions will
diminish the risks of BSE’s spread even further, thus better protecting
REF: FDA Veterinarian, January-February, 2004.
FIFRA SAP Releases Report on
The FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) has
report on EPA’s preliminary probabilistic exposure and risk assessment
for children who are exposed to chromated copper arsenate-treated wood.
According to the draft assessment, children who play on CCA-treated
decks and play sets have an increased risk of developing cancer over
their lifetime. At a December meeting, the FIFRA SAP examined the draft
and the most recent version of the Stochastic Human Exposure and Dose
Simulation (SHEDS) Model, which was designed to predict children’s
CCA-treated lumber and was used to develop the assessment. The SAP’s
report resulted from that meeting and includes the panel’s response to
EPA’s questions about the adequacy of the data and the assumptions used
in the SHEDS model, uncertainties related to the assessment, and the
use of new data.
Generally, the SAP was supportive of the agency’s
efforts to improve SHEDS, an earlier version of which was reviewed by
the panel in 2001. However, panel members said that certain aspects of
the model and of EPA’s use of it need work. For example, the panel
recommended that the agency refine model variables relating to human
behavior, such as the average number of days per year a child plays on
CCA-treated play sets.
The panel also recommended that EPA further develop its description of
the uncertainties inherent in the data used for modeling and the
influence those uncertainties have on interpretation of modeling
results. The panel said it’s “likely the overall uncertainties are
understated” in the agency’s assessment.
Unrelated to EPA’s efforts, the panel was asked to
review a biomonitoring study proposed by the Wood Preservative Science
Council (WPSC). In the report, the SAP said it has determined that the
proposed study is “deficient” in many ways and would provide little
useful data to address the uncertainties surrounding children exposed
to CCA-treated wood.
In the 2001 SAP meeting, the panel recommended that
a biomonitoring study be performed on children who are normally exposed
to CCA-treated wood to resolve the issue of whether such children are
substantially exposed to arsenic residues. In response, WPSC proposed
conducting a study on whether significant differences in urinary
arsenic can be discerned when a group of children switch from arsenic
containing tap water to arsenic-free drinking water.
The panel said that if the study was implemented as
proposed, “results are unlikely to be reliable, meaningful or useful
with respect to improving an understanding of factors affecting
CCA-related [arsenic] exposure and absorption.” It also noted that any
study seeking to meet the 2001 SAP request would need to involve
children exposed to CCA-treated wood. (Pesticide &
Toxic Chemical News, February 16, 2004, Volume 32, Number 17)
REF: Pesticide Reports, March 2004
A San Diego, CA family nearly blew their home apart
last month by setting off 19 “bug bomb” foggers to control cockroach
and rat infestations. SignOnSanDiego.com reports that no one was
injured by the blast, which blew the back door off its hinges, rent
gaping holes in the ceiling, spewed bits of wall, insulation, nails and
glass about like confetti and sent Christmas decorations out into the
street. The family had just exited the house for their car when the
Investigators believe the bug bombs were ignited by
a pilot light on a wall heater. Damage is estimated at $150,000, and
city authorities believe the 470-square-foot rental will have to be
entirely rebuilt. The incident prompted authorities to remind residents
that all appliances should be shut
off when bug bombs are used and that one can is plenty for a
These warning were reportedly printed on
the products that exploded; however, the family is not fluent in
English. (Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News, Vol. 32,
No. 12, January 12, 2004)
REF: Pesticide Reports, March 2004
~~ State Health
Department Warns Consumers Not to
Eat Chaca Chaca, Lead-Contaminated Candy From Mexico
Consumers, particularly infants,
young children and
should avoid eating Chaca Chaca, an imported chili-based candy from
Mexico, because this product may contain excessively high levels of
lead that could cause serious health problems, Dr. Gilberto Chavez,
associate director and state epidemiologist of the California
Department of Health Services (CDHS), warned.
"Lead is toxic to humans, especially infants, young
developing fetuses, in both short- and long-term exposures, and can
result in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders that could
last a lifetime," Chavez said.
Recent analysis of Chaca Chaca by the U.S. Food and
(FDA) identified that the candy may contain as much as 0.3 to 0.4
micrograms of lead per gram of product. FDA has recommended that
children under age 6 should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of
lead each day from all food sources. Because of the large size of these
candies, which are more than 30 grams in weight per piece, a young
child eating one of these contaminated candies could ingest nearly
twice the recommended level. FDA has placed the Chaca Chaca product on
"Import Alert" to detain future shipments of the candy and prevent its
importation into the United States.
Chaca Chaca is a brownish-red colored fruit pulp bar
that is coated
with salt and chili powder. The candy is sold in packages of several
small individually wrapped strips that often include a picture of a
locomotive on the wrapper. The candy can be found in small markets
Pregnant women and parents of children who may have
Chaca should consult with their physician or health care provider to
determine if further medical testing is warranted. For more information
about lead poisoning, parents and caretakers should contact their local
childhood lead poisoning prevention program or local public health
department. Additional information and a list of local childhood lead
prevention programs are available at CDHS' Web site at http://www.dhs.cahwnet.gov/childlead/.
The California Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch can also be
reached at (510) 622-5000 for a list of these programs.
Consumers in possession of Chaca Chaca candy should
dispose of the
product or return it to the place of purchase for a refund. The public
is encouraged to report any sellers of the candy by calling CDHS'
Services Complaint Hotline at 1-800-495-3232.
Guidance on Animal
Drugs and Antimicrobial Resistance
The FDA has released new guidance that outlines a
approach to preventing the antimicrobial resistance that may result
from the use of antimicrobial drugs in animals.
Antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, are
medicines often used
to treat bacterial infections in both humans and animals. Their use has
been one of the great advances in modern medicine--helping to prevent
many of the illnesses that were leading causes of death for most of
human history. When bacteria develop resistance, human and animal
health is at risk because the medicines that we depend on to treat
infections become ineffective.
The guidance provides a risk assessment process
for animal drug
sponsors to determine the likelihood that an antimicrobial drug used to
treat an animal may cause an antimicrobial resistance problem in humans
who consume meat or other products from that animal. This process can
help prevent antimicrobial drugs with a high risk of causing
antimicrobial resistance problems in humans from being improperly used
in food-producing animals. Food-producing animals include cows, pigs,
chickens, turkeys, sheep, and fish.
If the assessments show that the risks are
significant, the FDA
could deny the application to market the drug, which would prevent the
use of the drug in food-producing animals, or the FDA could approve the
drug, but place conditions on its use to ensure it would not pose a
human health risk.
For more information, see www.fda.gov/oc/antimicrobial/questions.html.
REF: FDA Consumer, January-February 2004.
New Law to Improve Animal Drug Review
President Bush has signed legislation that
provides user fees to the
FDA for animal drug reviews. Known as the Animal Drug User Fee Act
(ADUFA), the law, passed in November 2003, establishes a funding system
for the new animal drug review process that is similar to that
established for the human drug review process more than a decade ago.
The fees collected for these services will be
directed toward the
FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and will be used to provide
additional resources for its animal drug review program. The goal is to
achieve shorter, more predictable review times by increasing the review
staff at CVM and by building better management systems. As a result,
the FDA anticipates substantial savings to the industry in regulatory
review and developmental expenses without compromising the agency's
high standards for safe and effective products.
The FDA is authorized to collect $5 million in
fees in fiscal year
2004, which began Oct. 1, 2003; $8 million in fiscal year 2005; and $10
million in fiscal years 2006 through 2008. The law provides for
specific waivers or reductions of fees, including for small businesses
and where the fees would present a significant barrier to innovation.
"The resources provided by this law will help CVM
pace with the rapid advances in science and medicine that drive the
quality of health care for our animals," says CVM Director Stephen
Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D. "We view this legislation as a vital component
in our commitment to promote and protect public and animal health."
REF: FDA Consumer, January-February 2004.
of Food Animal Clones
The FDA has undertaken a process to assess the
safety of food
products derived from cloned animals and the risks to animals involved
The process began two years ago, when the FDA
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to consider scientific information
on animal biotechnology. The NAS concluded that although food from
animal clones posed only a low level of food safety concern, it would
be prudent to have more data in order to minimize further safety
The FDA decided that before it could address any
policy issues on
animal cloning, it needed to conduct a risk assessment, followed by
development of risk management options, in an open and transparent
Cloning is a process that allows livestock
breeders and others to
replicate their best animals, which are then used for breeding stock.
Cloning can also be used to expand populations of endangered species.
The FDA previewed a risk assessment on animal
cloning in November
2003 at a public Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee meeting held in
The draft risk assessment builds on findings of
the NAS and
indicates that food products derived from animal clones and their
offspring are likely to be as safe to eat as food from their non-clone
counterparts, based on all the evidence available. These scientific
findings also showed that healthy adult clones are virtually
indistinguishable from their conventional counterparts.
Pending a final decision on cloned animals, the
agency will continue
to request that producers withhold from the market animal clones, their
progeny, or products derived from them, with the full expectation that
firms will comply with this request as they have willingly done in the
Following the close of a public comment period on
assessment, the FDA will review the comments in preparing a final risk
assessment and draft risk management options.
REF: FDA Consumer, January-February 2004.
BSE Cow in U.S. Triggers FDA, USDA
Response, New Rules Announced
This article provides an overview of the events that
started when the
presumptive positive cow was first discovered, and a description of the
responsibilities and functions of FDA and USDA—how they work together
to ensure the safety of public health.
Link to: FDA
!! CLICK ON THE PIG !!