Consumer Health Digest #15-15
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 12, 2015
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.
Australia tightening vaccine exemption rules. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Scott Morrison have announced that the Australian Government will stop giving child-care subsidies to most families whose parents refuse to vaccinate their children. [No jab – no play and no pay for child care. Media release, April 12, 2015] As of January 1, 2016, "conscientious objection" will be removed as an exemption category for three types of payments: Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate, and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement. Existing exemptions on medical or religious grounds will continue. However, a religious objection will only be available for families affiliated with a religious group that has a formally registered objection approved by the Government. The Ministers' release noted:
- While vaccination rates in Australia have increased since the Childhood Immunization Register was established in 1996, vaccine objection rates for children under the age of seven have increased steadily, especially under the conscientious objector category.
- More than 39,000 children aged under seven are not vaccinated because their parents are vaccine objectors. This is an increase of more than 24,000 children over 10 years. The Government is extremely concerned at the risk this poses to other young children and the broader community.
- Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to child care without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness because of the conscientious objections of others.
New York State budget supports fluoridation. The New York State Assembly has voted to approve Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2016 New York State's Executive Budget, which contains two provisions related to fluoridation:
- $5 million in grants will be available to provide assistance to community water systems incurring costs for the installation, repair, and upgrade of drinking water fluoridation systems.
- Public officials in any fluoridated community cannot take a final vote to cease fluoridation without first providing the state Department of Health at least 90 days advance notice of their intention. This measure will make it harder for anti-fluoride activists to operate in a stealth manner and push for a final vote before local medical and dental professionals have a chance to weigh in.
NutriMost Fat Loss System blasted. Chirobase has posted a detailed report on the NutriMost Ultimate Fat Loss System, which is being marketed through chiropractic offices. [Barrett S. A critical look at the NutriMost Fat Loss System. Chirobase, April 10, 2015] The system is centered around use of a Zyto device that is said to detect "stresses" and "imbalances" and recommend corrective formulas and foods. The recommended diet is low in carbohydrates and aims for about 500 calories per day. Diets this low in calories are not much different from total starvation and are dangerous. The program, which costs about $2,000, is claimed to produce "typical results" of 25 to 45 pounds of fat loss in 40 days without exercise, strenuous dieting, or radical changes in life style. The Federal Trade Commission has determined that the claim that a product "safely enables consumers to lose more than 3 pounds a week for more than 4 weeks" cannot be true because that rate of loss can result in gallstones and other health complications. The Zyto device has FDA 510(k) clearance for measuring skin resistance to low-voltage currents but is not cleared for any diagnostic or therapeutic purpose.
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This page was posted on April 12, 2015.