Health VP – Mary Patterson
AB 1110 (Burke D) – Requires, a pupil’s eyes and vision to be examined by a physician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist during the kindergarten year or upon first enrollment or entry at an elementary school, including a charter school, in accordance with specified provisions, unless the pupil’s parent or guardian submits a written waiver to the school or charter school. Two year bill.
August is Children’s Eye & Safety Month. Vision impairments and eye disorders are the 3rd leading chronic condition among children; however, most common childhood eye disorders and vision impairments are easily treatable if caught early. Access to early detection and cost-effective treatments are critical in ensuring that a child’s development and learning ability are not jeopardized due to an undetected vision impairment or eye disorder.
With the first total solar eclipse in the US in 37 years, millions of Americans were looking up at the sky. Viewing the sun directly, even for brief periods, can cause permanent damage to the retina, and in some cases, result in blindness. The optical system of the eye is about the same in terms of total concentration as that magnifying lens. And so if you stare straight at the sun, you’re basically focusing that much energy right on the center of the retina—in the fovea—and it’s enough that within a few seconds you start to cause photochemical damage to the retina and specifically to the areas around the fovea.
In May, National Prevent Blindness sent a letter, signed by 101 vision and eye health organizations, to the United States Senate asking that the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s definition of “essential health benefits (EHBs),” which include coverage for children’s vision services (including eye examinations and glasses) as well as preventive health services which includes vision screenings.
AB 746 (Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego) – Requires all school districts to test their water for lead and fix or cap any contaminated water source. This is considered crucial because children are more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults.
August is National Water Quality Month. Half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coastline where runoff flows quickly to the ocean. Individual household may not produce enough pollution to force a beach closing or cause a fish kill, but the combined output of all the homes in a community can be severe.
In the wake of toxic lead contamination of water in Flint, Michigan. California legislators are anxious that children exposed to lead may go undiagnosed. A free and new California Water Boards program—will test a school or school districts water. Less than 10 percent of schools have taken advantage of the free program; 507 out of 1,259 schools tested statewide have been in San Diego County. The new state mandate requires water agencies to test five drinking fountains or other water fixtures at each campus, but San Diego Unified decided last week that it will test all fixtures going forward and cover the added costs itself. The district also decided to raise the standard of what’s considered a dangerous level of lead from 15 parts per billion to 5 parts per billion. That will make the district’s standard the same as U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s standard for lead in bottled drinking water.
AB 725 (Levine – D, San Rafael) SB 386 (Glazer – D, Orinda) – Creates an infraction for a person to smoke on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system or to dispose of used cigar or cigarette waste on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system; Department of Parks and Recreation post signs. FYI – It is already an infraction for a person to smoke within 25 feet of a playground or tot lot sandbox area.
AB 62 (Wood – D, Healdsburg) – Requires all public housing agencies to prohibit the smoking of tobacco products in public housing living units, interior areas, and outdoor areas within 25 feet of public housing and administrative buildings, except in designated smoking area Two year bill.
World Heart Day is September 29, and October is Healthy Lung Month.
Cigarette smoking causes about 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States each year. It’s the main preventable cause of death and illness in the United States. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, eyes, mouth, reproductive organs, bones, bladder, and digestive organs.
From The American Physiological Society August 2017: A new study suggests that a single exposure to e-cigarette (e-cig) vapor may be enough to impair vascular function. The researchers studied artery diameter, the blood vessels’ ability to widen (vasodilation) and aortic stiffness after short- and long-term exposure to flavored e-cig vapor. Aortic stiffness can be an indicator of cardiovascular disease. They found that within an hour of the five-minute e-cig exposure, the short-term group’s arteries narrowed by approximately 30 percent. Vasodilation decreased as well.
Long-term exposure to e-cig vapor (20 hours per week over a period of eight months) also produced negative effects of chronic e-cig use, including aortic stiffness, which was more than twice as high as control groups exposed to normal room air. “These data indicate that e-cigs should not be considered safe and that they induce significant deleterious effects” on blood vessel function, wrote the authors.
SB 277 and AB 2109 REVISITED re Immunization and the elimination of the Personal Belief Exemption.
September is National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunization plays an important role in keeping your family and community healthy. Vaccination helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those who are most likely to suffer serious complications, such as infants and young children, elders, and those with chronic illness or weakened immune systems.
The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board on 8.17.17 entitled ‘Kindergarten vaccinations scarily scarce at 57 San Diego County schools’ reported “A state health officials’ report last month that vaccination rates for California 7th graders had reached record highs was great to see, especially after an April report that vaccination rates for kindergartners had hit a 15-year high. A state law that took effect last year and ended the practice of allowing parents to cite personal beliefs and refuse to vaccinate their school-age children is paying off. It’s crucial that nearly all children be vaccinated to build up “herd immunity” to communicable diseases. And now a Los Angeles Times analysis shows that kindergarten vaccination rates were 90 percent or less — an unsafe level — at nearly 750 California schools. The database shows San Diego County has 57 such schools …” Judi’s note – actually only two public school within the 57 schools.
SB 384 (Wiener and Joel Anderson – R, San Diego) – Allows bars to stay open until 4 a.m. Public health advocates and MADD are concerned that 40 years of peer-reviewed evidence shows that increasing alcohol sales by two or more hours will increase vehicle crash injuries, emergency room admissions, and alcohol-related assault and injury, violence and suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16). This year’s theme is “Take a Minute, Save Life.,” and will focus on raising awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. In the United States, one person dies by suicide every 11.9 minutes, with 44,193 deaths by suicide in our country during 2015. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds, and is the 10th leading cause of death for people of all ages. Each person’s death by suicide intimately affects at least six other people, with over 250,000 newly bereaved each year.
**San Diego Crisis Line – 888.724.7240; live chat Monday – Friday, 4pm – 10pm.**