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Last month to switch to 'green' asthma inhalers

Bad mayor I: The paramour pleads

Christine Beatty, the former aide to Kwame Kilpatrick whose relationship with him led to Kilpatrick becoming the former mayor of Detroit, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and accepted a four-month jail sentence. Kilpatrick and Beatty had exchanged explicit text messages, then lied to cover up their relationship.

Bad mayor II: Bribes in Birmingham

Mayor Larry Langford of Birmingham, Ala., was arrested on charges of steering millions of dollars of bond work to a friend in exchange for more than $230,000 in bribes that paid his debts for flashy clothes, jewelry and Rolex watches. The bond deals — which funded years of work on a substandard county sewer system — went sour and have helped push surrounding Jefferson County to the brink of filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. A Democrat, Langford has said he expected to be indicted in what he referred to as a witchhunt by Republican prosecutors.

Bruni joins global fight against AIDS

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, France's glamorous first lady, threw her star power behind the fight against AIDS, becoming a goodwill ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Bruni-Sarkozy, who lost her brother to AIDS two years ago, said her work will focus on helping infected women and children. At a ceremony marking World AIDS Day, she pledged to fight the stigma that is still attached to AIDS.

This is the last warning: Asthma inhalers go "green" on Dec. 31, forcing patients still using the old-fashioned kind to make a pricey and even confusing switch. The medicine inside these rescue inhalers — the albuterol that quickly opens airways during an asthma attack — isn't changing. But the chemicals used to puff that drug into your lungs are. No more chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, that damage Earth's protective ozone layer. By year's end, all albuterol inhalers must be powered by the more eco-friendly chemical HFA, or hydrofluoroalkane. The down side: The new inhalers cost more, $30 to $60 compared to as little as $5 or $10 for the disappearing generic CFC inhalers.

How much plastic-packaged food should babies get?

Products marketed for infants or billed as "microwave safe" release toxic doses of the chemical bisphenol A when heated, an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found. Studies have shown that at 25 and 250 parts per trillion, bisphenol A (BPA) can harm laboratory animals. Several products tested by the Journal Sentinel would potentially expose babies to dangerous levels.

Amounts of BPA a baby may be exposed to, based on CDC and a nutritionist's estimates

One-month-old boy

(Weighs 6 Ibs., 13 oz.)


(Weighs 9 lbs., 7 ounces)

Liquid formula 27.5 oz. (5.5 feedings at 5 oz.) 27.5 oz.
BPA exposure from formula Around 304 parts per trillion Around 214 parts per trillion
With polycarbonate bottle Around 335 parts per trillion Around 236 parts per trillion


(Weighs 18 Ibs., 5 oz.)


(Weighs 24 lbs., 5 ounces)

Formula 27 oz. 24 oz.
BPA exposure from formula Around 98 parts per trillion Around 74 parts per trillion
With polycarbonate bottle Around 108 parts per trillion Around 81 parts per trillion
Breakfast: Munchkin bowl filled with warm oatmeal cereal and pureed frozen strawberries warmed up in Rubbermaid container Around 70 parts per trillion Around 53 parts per trillion
Lunch: Gerber pasta and warmed Hawaiian Delight Around 0.30 parts per trillion Around 0.24 parts per trillion
Dinner: Canned chili warmed in Munchkin bowl and warmed applesauce in Munchkin bowl Around 16 parts per trillion Around 12 parts per trillion
Total BPA exposure Around 194 parts per trillion Around 146 parts per trillion

One-year-old boy

Source: XeroAnalytical LLC

What do patients need to know as they switch?

• Expect a softer puff instead of the CFC version's cold blast of air in the back of the throat.

• The medicine feels and tastes different.

• The new inhalers clog more often because HFA makes the drug stickier. Clean the hole weekly, following instructions.

• Never get the whole device wet.

Last month to switch to 'green' asthma inhalers 12/01/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:07am]
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