Hurricane Sandy cleanup has led to an increase in injuries and illnesses; new report finds that many toys are still hazardous to children; and panel suggests that everyone should be tested for HIV, not just those that are high risk.  Read these and more public health news stories for Nov. 21, 2012.

New York Times – Storm victims, in cleanup, face rise in injuries and illness
Day and night, victims of Hurricane Sandy have been streaming into ad hoc emergency rooms and relief centers, like the MASH-type medical unit on an athletic field in Long Beach, and the warming tent in the Rockaways the size of a small high school gym.
They complain of rashes, asthma and coughing. They need tetanus shots because — house-proud and armed with survivalist instincts — they have been ripping out waterlogged boards and getting poked by rusty nails. Those with back pain from sifting through debris receive muscle relaxants; those with chest pain from overexertion are hooked up to cardiac monitors

San Francisco Chronicle – NY Gov: Fracking regs likely delayed into 201 3
A health impact review of shale gas drilling by national experts will make it impossible to meet a looming deadline for new fracking regulations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, pushing a much-delayed decision on the contentious issue into 2013.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has been doing an environmental impact study and drafting new regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, since 2008. Shale drilling has been on hold since then amid health and environmental worries surrounding fracking, which stimulates a well’s production by injecting huge volumes of chemical-laced water to crack deep, gas-rich shale deposits.

CBS News – “Trouble in Toyland” report shows health hazards in kids’ toys persist
The 27th Annual “Trouble in Toyland” report has revealed that there are still toys on our shelves that may be hazardous to our children.
The report is put out each year by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). The consumer watchdog tests toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates, materials which have been known to interfere with the development of young children. They also tested toys to see if they pose a choking hazard, may damage a child’s hearing or may have magnetic parts that may pose serious injury risks.

Chicago Tribune – School lunches and obesity: New study cites value of strong regulations
With all the discussion swirling about healthier school lunches, I thought I’d share with you some details from an interesting article in last month’s edition of Pediatrics related to regulations on school snacks.
While the nutrition standards for school meals changed for the 2012-2013 school year, the new guidelines do not affect foods in vending machines, snack bars, or other venues within the school that are not a part of the regular school meal program. These foods (typically snacks and drinks) are termed “competitive foods,” as they compete with school breakfasts and lunches.

USA Today – Panel recommends routine HIV tests for teens, adults
In a broad new expansion of HIV screening, an influential government panel now says everyone ages 15 to 65 should be tested for the virus that causes AIDS.
The draft recommendation, issued Monday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, is far broader than its last recommendation in 2005, which called for screening only those at high risk.