Sunday, February 18, 2018
Health

Homes in southeastern Hernando County part of arsenic levels study

Because the phrase "urine test" might alarm some residents, the Hernando County Health Department wants to reassure recipients of letters it will start sending out next week.

It is a chance for select members of the public to assist in scientific research, said Al Gray, the department's environmental manager.

It's also an opportunity for residents with wells contaminated by arsenic to learn how well filter systems are protecting their bodies and the bodies of their children.

The Health Department will send the letters to 520 homeowners in southeastern Hernando County as part of a study fully funded with a $60,000 grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Half of the letters will go to homes with wells that are not contaminated by arsenic, which started showing up in large numbers of wells in 2007. Though scientists aren't sure of the source, a likely culprit is the historic use of arsenic-based pesticides when the area was prime agricultural land.

The other half of the letters will go to homes with levels of contamination between 10 and 50 parts per billion.

The letters will ask residents to allow a scientist to come by to take samples of water from wells or filters as well as urine samples from an adult and, if available, one child.

The arsenic levels in the urine of people with contaminated wells will be compared to the levels in people with uncontaminated wells.

The main goal, Gray said, is to determine the effectiveness of the state's main solution to low levels of contamination: a small filter, usually installed next to the kitchen sink, that provides water for drinking and cooking.

The study will also include a survey about what residents eat and their other habits — for example, whether people use filtered water to brush their teeth and for all types of cooking.

This should allow scientists to determine whether residents are getting arsenic from foods such as apple juice and rice, which have been shown, in some cases, to contain arsenic.

Wells contaminated with more than 50 parts per billion of arsenic are not included in the study because they are considered seriously contaminated and are usually fitted with filters that purify the entire home's water supply.

The letters will go out in batches over the next several months, and the study is due to be completed by July 1.

Comments
Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

70 percent of cardiac arrests outside hospitals happen at home. American Heart Association 3 a.m. Jan. 4, 2016. Lisa Peters of St. Petersburg is awakened by her husband, Rick, making strange gasping sounds. She can’t wake him. He feels cold. Only 46...
Published: 02/16/18

Step by step, ramp up your daily activity

Jae Bermanhe Washington Post There are many reasons that people avoid exercise. Time is an obvious one. Our lives are already busy — who has time to work out? Money is another common excuse. Gym memberships and equipment can get pricey.People often w...
Published: 02/16/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

Emma Seppalahe Washington PostDan Harris is co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. His first book, 10% Happier, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He later launched the 10% Happier podcast and an app called...
Published: 02/15/18

Mayo Clinic Q&A: exercise stress tests; breast self-awareness versus self-exams

DON’T SWEAT THE EXERCISE STRESS TESTI have a treadmill stress test scheduled to look for heart disease. I know this involves exercising, and I’m worried that I’m not physically up to it. Is there another way to gather this information?Yes. There’s an...
Published: 02/15/18
Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Three years ago, Dr. Philip J. Cheng, a urology resident at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, nicked himself while preparing an HIV-positive patient for surgery.Following hospital protocol, he took a one-month course of Truvada, a cocktail of t...
Published: 02/15/18
Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

TAMPA — Nothing seemed wrong or out of place when it was time for Sam Cordero to make an appointment for a routine eye exam.The 57-year-old man from Tampa occasionally saw a few bright or foggy spots in his left eye, but thought it was just "floaters...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18
A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

LARGO — Keshava Persaud entered the room inside Largo Medical Center, his wife at his side. His eyes went right to the couple across the room. They looked so young, he thought. Tears welled as he handed the woman, April Scott, 49, potted white silk f...
Published: 02/14/18
Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health has hired a new executive position to oversee the six regional hospitals it operates along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Joseph Mullany has been appointed regional president and chief executive officer of Bayfront Health, and will overse...
Published: 02/13/18