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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

School safe room projects on hold during fed shutdown

Monday, 14 October 2013 03:47 Published in Local News

   NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - Several southwest Missouri school districts that have planned new safe rooms since a deadly May 2011 tornado destroyed much of Joplin say their projects could be delayed by the federal shutdown.

   In Neosho that means more than $10 million in projects are on hold because there's nobody at the Federal Emergency Management Agency that can approve the work. Similar projects in Webb City, Avilla and Joplin also are in limbo because of the shutdown.

   The Joplin Globe reports school officials believe a delay in awarding contracts could mean construction on the safe rooms might have to be pushed back until next year.

   An architect for several of the projects says it takes six to eight weeks to complete the bid process after FEMA approves of the designs.

 

Study ties chemical to possible miscarriage risk

Monday, 14 October 2013 03:06 Published in Health & Fitness

   BOSTON (AP) — New research suggests that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might raise the risk of miscarriage in women prone to that problem or having trouble getting pregnant.

   The work is not nearly enough to prove a link, but it adds to "the biological plausibility" that BPA might affect fertility and other aspects of health, said Dr. Linda Giudice, a California biochemist who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The study was to be presented Monday at the group's annual conference in Boston. Last month, ASRM and an obstetricians group urged more attention to environmental chemicals and their potential hazards for pregnant women.

   BPA, short for bisphenol-A, and certain other environmental chemicals can have very weak, hormone-like effects. Tests show BPA in nearly everyone's urine, though the chemical has been removed from baby bottles and many reusable drink containers in recent years. The federal Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe as used now in other food containers.

   Most miscarriages are due to egg or chromosome problems, and a study in mice suggested BPA might influence that risk, said Dr. Ruth Lathi, a Stanford University reproductive endocrinologist.

   With a federal grant, she and other researchers studied 115 newly pregnant women with a history of infertility or miscarriage; 68 wound up having miscarriages and 47 had live births.

   Researchers analyzed blood samples from when the women were discovered to be pregnant and divided them into four groups based on BPA levels. Women in the top quarter had an 80 percent greater risk of miscarriage compared to those in the bottom group even though they were similar in age and other factors. However, because the study is relatively small, there was a big range of possible risk — from only slightly elevated to as much as 10 times higher.

   "It may be that women with higher BPA levels do have other risk factors" for miscarriage that might be amplified by BPA, Lathi said.

   The study is not cause for alarm, but "it's far from reassuring that BPA is safe" for such women, she said.

   To minimize BPA exposure, avoid cooking or warming food in plastic because heat helps the chemical leak out, she said. Don't leave water bottles in the sun, limit use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contain BPA.

   "It's impossible to avoid it completely," Lathi said.

   ___

   Online:

   BPA info: http://1.usa.gov/QHrkfN

   Infertility info: http://www.sart.org and

   http://www.asrm.org

Most transfer students are still attending new schools

Monday, 14 October 2013 03:01 Published in Local News

   Most of the students who were given the chance to transfer out of the struggling Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts are still attending their new schools.  

   Nearly 2300 transfer students were attending classes in 24 districts across the St. Louis metro area, according to numbers compiled by Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis last month.  

   About 500 students who could have transferred, opted to stay in their home districts.  Don Senti, executive director of Cooperating School Districts told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that transportation is a problem.  Senti says it's too difficult for some students to get to school in districts where transportation isn't provided.

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