Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2012

POSTED: Sunday, March 4, 2012, 6:30 AM
Filed Under: Michael Yudell | Poverty
((AP Photo/Mike Winthroat))

“As a nation, we don't talk about it much but there is a dental crisis in America," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vermont) said Wednesday at a meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. The occasion was the release of a report-- Dental Crisis in America – that calls attention to the millions of Americans “unable to get even the basic dental care they need.”

Among the report’s more alarming findings are that “more than 47 million people live in places where it is difficult to access dental care,” “17 million low-income children received no dental care in 2009,” 25 percent of adults 65 and older in the U.S. have lost all of their teeth, and lower income adults in the U.S. “are almost twice as likely as higher-income adults to have gone without a dental checkup in the previous year.”

The report also found that Americans are increasingly visiting emergency rooms for preventable dental conditions and that this problem is being driven, in part, by a significant shortage of dentists. It is estimated that 9,500 new dentists are needed to meet American’s oral health needs – a problem that is compounded every year when more dentists retire than new dentists join the fold.

POSTED: Thursday, March 1, 2012, 6:30 AM
Filed Under: Environment | Jonathan Purtle
A worker cleans and lubricates the head of the machine, after the stimulation hydraulic fracturing of one segment of the well is finished, at Southwestern Energy Co.'s natural gas production site at the Marcellus Shale formation in Camptown, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011. The Marcellus Shale, located in the U.S. Northeast, contains natural gas, which is obtained through hydraulic fracturing, a technique in which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock. Photographer: Julia Schmalz (Bloomberg)

What do 17 dead cows, seven stillborn puppies, an anorexic horse, and a delirious child have in common?

Unfortunately, there’s no punch line to this one.  According to research published recently in New Solutions, a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on environmental and occupational health policy, they’re all suspected casualties of drilling for natural gas. 

As we described in previous posts, a range of health risks have been associated with hydraulic fracturing and other parts of the extraction process, such as the chemicals that are injected deep underground and the natural, but toxic, compounds that rise to the surface.  Industry-friendly policies, however, have prevented high-quality public health studies that are needed to accurately measure the impact. The missing research, in turn, stymies regulatory policies to protect the public’s health. 

About this blog

What is public health — and why does it matter?

Through prevention, education, and intervention, public health practitioners - epidemiologists, health policy experts, municipal workers, environmental health scientists - work to keep us healthy.

It’s not always easy. Michael Yudell, Jonathan Purtle, and other contributors tell you why.

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Jonathan Purtle, MPH Doctoral candidate and Research Associate, Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice, Drexel University
Janet Golden, PhD Professor of history, Rutgers University-Camden
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