Local advocates highlight value of prevention and public health; pesticides especially harmful to children plague exposure; a measure to add fluoridation to drinking water in Wichita sparks controversy. Read these and more public health stories for Oct. 10, 2012.

The Bismarck Tribune– Prevention is at risk in budget
A letter to the editor by Wanda Agnew, President of the North Dakota Public Health Association, advocates public health funding and prevention.

The Wichita Eagle– Fluoridation foes object to county information sheet on issue
Anti-fluoridation forces in Kansas are objecting to a Sedgwick County Health Department fact sheet that they say is little more than a commercial urging Wichitans to vote yes when fluoridated water comes up for a public vote next month.

The San Francisco Gate– Pesticides blamed by report for illnesses
A report released Tuesday by the Pesticide Action Network North America found that the one billion pounds of pesticides used annually nationwide have contributed to youth health problems such as autism, asthma, birth defects and diabetes.  The Oakland, CA-based environmental group’s findings highlight children’s higher vulnerability to pesticide exposure, which can disrupt brain development in the womb and throughout childhood.

CNN– California squirrel tests positive for plague exposure
Yesterday a ground squirrel tested positive for exposure to fleas infected with the bacteria that can cause plague, according to authorities in Riverside, CA.  It is the country’s first positive test in over a decade according to the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health.

Modern Healthcare– Healthcare and the election
Obama also has fueled some concerns by the provider cuts suggested in both his proposed budgets and during the 2011 debt-reduction negotiations with Congress. Those have included his last budget’s proposed $4.5 billion cut from the healthcare law’s $18.75 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund.
“We thought it was a bad strategic decision because when he did it, everyone who does not support the law then thought of it as fair game,” says Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

ABC News– Study links prenatal mercury exposure to ADHD symptoms
A new study led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA found that higher mercury exposure in pregnant women leads to a higher incidence of ADHD symptoms in their children, but not to the disorder itself.  The study also found that more fish consumption—the main source of mercury exposure—leads to a decreased risk.

Yahoo News– Scientists develop amazing new cancer detection technique: Breathing
Medical researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute are running tests using electronic noses to detect lung cancer based on breath sampling.  One of the sensors is able to detect lung cancer with 80 percent accuracy, according to a study published last December.