Bedbugs found at Poughkeepsie firehouse

, Poughkeepsie Journal

Dead bedbugs were found in Poughkeepsie Fire Station 1 on Clover Street, according to city Fire Chief Mark Johnson.

Johnson said that, although the exterminator didn’t find live bugs, the situation was being treated as if live bugs were found.

“We’re just being cautious, cleaning everything out and treating the room to make sure there’s no other issues,” he said.

He said every year the city, under contract, pays for inspections at every firehouse for this type of issue. He said firefighters go to a variety of locations and can bring back material, like bed bugs, without knowing.

Ryan Santistevan: rsantistev@poughkeepsiejournal.com; 845-437-4809; Twitter: @SantistevanRyan

DDT repeal would do nothing to combat bed bugs, experts say

‘DDT is going to have zero effect. All it’s going to do is a lot of damage’

 

bed-bugs-852
Local bed bug and environmental experts say DDT would do little to curb the infestation.

DDT or no DDT, there is no magic chemical that will rid Hamilton of its bed bug problem.

That’s the take from a local pest control operator who says a repeal on the DDT ban — suggested by a new councillor-elect — wouldn’t make a difference.

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And a local environmentalist and chemical scientist say thinking about bringing back powerful and banned chemicals is a bad idea.

Hamilton is in the midst of a bed bug epidemic. Since 2006, public health officials say, calls to the city have increased about 600 per cent. CityHousing Hamilton will spend $1 million this year alone battling the problem.

But going back to old pesticides won’t fix it, particularly DDT, said Roger Burley, president of Aanteater Pest Control in Hamilton. Bed bugs are resistant to DDT and most other pesticides that used to treat it.

“DDT is really dangerous, and it’s really not effective against bed bugs anyway,” he said.

“I’d love to have a silver bullet that would wipe them right out, but it’s not DDT.”

Councillor-elect Matthew Green of Ward 3 suggested looking at previously used chemicals after hearing from distressed residents during the campaign

In some apartment buildings and seniors facilities in his ward, 70 per cent of residents have dealt with bed bugs, he said. He’d like the city and province to look at the evidence and see if DDT, which the federal government outlawed in 1972, or another banned substance would eradicate the pests.

“I need to take a closer look at the science, but there are chemical solutions and I’d like to revisit that,” he said.

But every chemical that used to kill bed bugs wouldn’t work anymore, Burley said. It wasn’t DDT that took them to near extinction, but a chemical complex called organophosphates. And bed bugs are immune to that too now, he said.

“Every 10 years, we have to find something new to kill them,” he said.

“They’ve mutated so much. The chemicals we use now are not even related to those chemicals, and we’re actually having some success.”

DDT was a widely used pesticide until about 40 years ago. The federal government banned it because of its impact on wildlife, particularly bird populations.

‘We’re fighting a pretty good fight’

Little research appears to exist on the toxicology of DDT in limited doses, indoors, to combat bed bugs. American organizations such as the Public Health Institute have come out against its use to combat malaria in third-world countries.

The current chemicals are working, Burley said. The bed bug population has exploded in Hamilton, but anecdotally, it seems to be leveling off, he said. Modern defecants can kill them in 24 hours.

“We’re fighting a pretty good fight,” he said.

Bed bugs aren’t as resistant as they once were because of the pesticides humans have thrown at them, he said. “They’re getting weaker and weaker.”

But “DDT is going to have zero effect. All it’s going to do is a lot of damage.”

‘Does some not-so-nice things’

Lynda Lukasik, executive director of Environment Hamilton, agrees. Research shows that bed bugs are immune to DDT, which is “persistent and it bioaccumulates, and it does some not-so-nice things.”

There have been long debates about the use of DDT in third world countries combatting malaria. Those in favour of it say the health risks are a worthwhile trade off compared to malaria deaths. Those against say authorities should focus on other methods.

As for using it on bed bugs, it wouldn’t be effective, and Lukasik wants to stay away from it.

“On one hand, I can’t imagine (bed bugs) are a nice thing to go through, and I know it’s a huge pressure. But I think we need to figure out more effective ways to manage bed bugs.”

Coun. Sam Merulla of Ward 4 said the notion “needs to be assessed by public health officials, who can separate politics from science and conclude the best practices accordingly.”

Pearson open to ‘forwarding a motion’

Coun. Maria Pearson of Ward 10 in Stoney Creek would be open to forwarding a motion to the province.

“The province needs to understand the severity of this problem, and if we keep hammering away with what we should be doing and what we can try, they might have to take a look at that,” she said.

Coun. Tom Jackson of Ward 6 is also a CityHousing Hamilton board member. He’s not a fan of the DDT option, but he admires Green’s commitment to the issue.

“I welcome councillor-elect Green to this very important discussion table,” he said.
“His advocacy is welcomed.”

Fred Capretta, a McMaster University chemistry professor, calls DDT “some really nasty stuff,” linked to breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments.

“If you ask for my personal opinion, (repealing the ban) would be a little heavy handed.”

Calling for a pesticide ban repeal is “not something our committee has discussed,” said Donna Eaton, a community legal worker with the Hamilton Legal Clinic and member of the city’s bed bug committee.

3 more abuse claims lead to charges at Harbor Oaks Hospital

 

NEW BALTIMORE, Mich. (WXYZ) – In less than 30 days, three different allegations of abuse at Harbor Oaks Hospital have led to charges filed by Macomb County’s prosecutor.

The charges come at the same time officials with the State of Michigan give the hospital a clean bill of health.

For more than a year, 7 Action News has investigated claims by hospital nurses that the facility has insufficient staffing and training to keep patients—or themselves—safe from harm.

In May, the father of a 15-year-old autistic boy who cannot speak brought his son home after weeks of treatment. When he gave him a shower that night, he found what he called “claw marks” on his back, bruises and open flesh on his thighs.

“Something serious happened over there, we need to find out,” he said. “My son doesn’t have a voice.”

7 Action News is not naming the father, nor his son.

When he called Harbor Oaks to ask about the marks, bruises and open wounds, he says a nurse told him that they may have been caused by bed bugs.

“The way she was talking,” the father said,“ it seemed like she was just making things up.”

A family doctor later examined the young man and said the wounds were “more consistent with trauma.”  A file was opened with Child Protective Services.

Even today, it is still unclear what caused those wounds or why Harbor Oaks failed to tell the young man’s father about them. The hospital says they’re investigating, according to the boy’s father.

But he wasn’t the only patient requiring medical attention that month.

Two days after he was discharged from Harbor Oaks, two other patients say they were assaulted inside Harbor Oaks.   

“The first patient was punched,” said a staffer in her recorded call to New Baltimore police. “The second patient was body slammed.”

According to police records, both patients were punched in the face, while one was thrown to the ground, causing a seizure. 

New Baltimore Police investigated, and this month, the patient responsible was charged with assault and battery and assault with intent to do great bodily harm by strangulation. He is awaiting trial.

But police would return to Harbor Oaks very soon.  Only a few weeks later, they’d be back after a patient claimed he was the victim of a sexual assault.

On June 3, a 17-year-old patient at Harbor Oaks said before he went to bed, his roommate asked him to perform oral sex. The teen said no. Then, according to police records, the roommate put his hands down the victim’s pants, molesting him for ten minutes.

Mark Reinstein, President of the Mental Health Association in Michigan, has long advocated for state watchdogs to take action.

“The old saying, where there’s smoke, there’s fire?” he said.  “There’s been an incredible amount of smoke coming out of this facility.”

In February, his and four other mental health organizations asked state officials to launch an investigation into Harbor Oaks. The state declined.

“I’ve been doing this work for 35 years; I know when bureaucrats don’t want to deal with something,” Reinstein said. “And that’s what we got.”

State officials with LARA say they’ve conducted inspections at Harbor Oaks as recently as May, finding the facility was “compliant with all federal laws,” adding that inspections like this “ensure that patients are protected.”

Three charges in less than 30 days, Reinstein says, suggests otherwise.

How they can let this just go on is beyond me,” he said. “Is this going to finally help push the state to do something? Or will they continue to do nothing?”

A mum claims she has been left covered in bed bug bites after her holiday turned into a nightmare.

Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 4:00 pm

Leesa Deen and her friends paid £1277 to stay in a chalet at Pontins’ Prestatyn Sands Holiday Park in Wales in May.

But when they arrived they were met by mouse droppings, rotten leftover food and mould on the windows, the 43-year-old said.

Online usage fee ?75 per photo. Print fee ?150. Pontins holidaymaker 'ravaged by bed bugs' in 'filthy' chalet 'leaving her with red sores and blood infection.' Mum Leesa Dean, 43, claims the chalet hadn't been cleaned before she arrived and was covered in mouse droppings. Pics of the dirty Pontins apartment Leesa McConnell got bed bugs from. They show mouse dropping on floor, rotten food, mould on windowsill and dirty floors and mattress.
Leesa Deen has been left with scarring after her holiday in Wales (Picture: Daily Record)
Online usage fee ?75 per photo. Print fee ?150. Pontins holidaymaker 'ravaged by bed bugs' in 'filthy' chalet 'leaving her with red sores and blood infection.' Mum Leesa Dean, 43, claims the chalet hadn't been cleaned before she arrived and was covered in mouse droppings. Pics of the dirty Pontins apartment Leesa McConnell got bed bugs from. They show mouse dropping on floor, rotten food, mould on windowsill and dirty floors and mattress.
This photo of her back was taken as she suffered in pain from the bites (Picture: Daily Record)
Online usage fee ?75 per photo. Print fee ?150. Pontins holidaymaker 'ravaged by bed bugs' in 'filthy' chalet 'leaving her with red sores and blood infection.' Mum Leesa Dean, 43, claims the chalet hadn't been cleaned before she arrived and was covered in mouse droppings. Pics of the dirty Pontins apartment Leesa McConnell got bed bugs from. They show mouse dropping on floor, rotten food, mould on windowsill and dirty floors and mattress.
Leesa made some extraordinary claims about her holiday park trip (Picture: Daily Record)

Even worse was to come – Leesa says the beds were infested with bed bugs, leaving her in pain all over her body.

She told the Daily Record: ‘I was shocked at the state of the place and it was pretty clear it hadn’t been cleaned for our arrival.

‘It was absolutely disgusting. I complained to reception but was told there would be no cleaners on the site until the following day.’

Leesa, from Ayrshire in Scotland, made a number of shocking complaints about her holiday.

They include that the guests had to buy their own cleaning products as cleaners didn’t arrive until the next day.

Online usage fee ?75 per photo. Print fee ?150. Pontins holidaymaker 'ravaged by bed bugs' in 'filthy' chalet 'leaving her with red sores and blood infection.' Mum Leesa Dean, 43, claims the chalet hadn't been cleaned before she arrived and was covered in mouse droppings. Pics of the dirty Pontins apartment Leesa McConnell got bed bugs from. They show mouse dropping on floor, rotten food, mould on windowsill and dirty floors and mattress.
A mattress in the chalet where Leesa stayed (Picture: Daily Record)
Online usage fee ?75 per photo. Print fee ?150. Pontins holidaymaker 'ravaged by bed bugs' in 'filthy' chalet 'leaving her with red sores and blood infection.' Mum Leesa Dean, 43, claims the chalet hadn't been cleaned before she arrived and was covered in mouse droppings. Pics of the dirty Pontins apartment Leesa McConnell got bed bugs from. They show mouse dropping on floor, rotten food, mould on windowsill and dirty floors and mattress.
She also claimed that they arrived to rotting food on the worktops (Picture: Daily Record)
Online usage fee ?75 per photo. Print fee ?150. Pontins holidaymaker 'ravaged by bed bugs' in 'filthy' chalet 'leaving her with red sores and blood infection.' Mum Leesa Dean, 43, claims the chalet hadn't been cleaned before she arrived and was covered in mouse droppings. Pics of the dirty Pontins apartment Leesa McConnell got bed bugs from. They show mouse dropping on floor, rotten food, mould on windowsill and dirty floors and mattress.
Leesa’s doctor singled out bed bugs as the likely explanation (Picture: Daily Record)

She also said that she soon began to feel ill and was being sick in the car as her skin burned from the bites.

When she returned home, her doctor said the only explanation is that she came into contact with bed bugs at the holiday park.

She added: ‘This has taken over my life for the last few months and I’d hate to think of a kid going through the same horrible experience.’

Leesa claims to have been left with scarring from the bites.

She complained to Pontins and was told the company investigated, but were unable to prove her bed bugs claim.

Pontins has not responded to requests for comment.

Fire, toxic bombs: Kentucky man’s attempts to kill bed bugs put him in jail, police say

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Jackie Abbott

A Wayne County man has been arrested and charged with arson after he allegedly lit a fire inside his apartment in his latest attempt to rid his mattress of bed bugs.

According to court records and police, Jackie Abbott, 59, intentionally set fire last week to the mattress in his downtown Monticello apartment on North Main Street. Four people occupied the adjacent apartments, and Abbott said he knew the that the fire could have hurt or killed another tenant.

In a previous attempt to get rid of the bugs, Abbott filled his apartment with toxic fumes after he set off too many bug bombs in his apartment, LEX18 reported. Abbott left his apartment and complained of shortness of breath in calls to emergency crews.

Four emergency responders had to be sent the hospital after inhaling too much of the fumes.

“They got outside. They started vomiting and so forth so we had to send extra crews to take care of them also,” Sherwin Corder, the Wayne County Emergency Management Director, told the TV station in May.

Abbott was arrested in his apartment on Thursday, and is currently being held in the Wayne County Detention Center.

This City Has the Worst Bed Bug Infestation in America

By: Bridget McCusker

© Akos Nagy/Shutterstock This is one superlative no one wants their city to win. Pest control company Orkin recently released its Top 50 Bed Bug Cities list, compiled with data of the places where Orkin performed the most treatments for bed bugs from December of 2016 to November of 2017. The reality is that bed bugs have shown up in cities and towns all across America, from mansions to cramped apartments. They’ve been increasing in number in the United States since the turn of the century due to increased travel and limitations on certain insecticides, but numbers have been especially high in these cities. There’s not too much you can do to stop them; early detection is critical since there is no foolproof way to keep them out of your home. Here are the warning signs you’re about to have a bed bug problem.

Taking first place on the list for the second year in a row was Baltimore, followed closely by neighboring Washington, D.C. Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, and Dallas all made the top ten. New York, infamous for bed bugs, dropped four spots to eighth place, while Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Dallas all rose in the ranking, as well as Atlanta, where Orkin is based. New Orleans and Flint, Michigan made the list for the first time.

So if you live in or are visiting any of these cities, it’s wise to be a little more vigilant about your susceptibility to bed bugs. According to the CDC, bed bugs often come into contact with people by way of luggage, bags, clothes, bedding, furniture, or anywhere they can easily hide and hitch a ride. Always inspect hotel rooms or any place you might be staying—here’s a guide to how to do so properly. Now, check out these secrets that bed bugs don’t want you to know.

 

 

The Forgotten Era: When Bed Bugs Were Tested for Combat in Vietnam

In 2004, Brooke Borel got bed bugs in New York. Then she experienced them again in 2009—twice in two different apartments. Because of those experiences, which were part of a widespread bed bug resurgence in the US, Borel, a science journalist, decided to explore why the bugs were back. This excerpt is one of many stories from her new book: Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World.


In 1965 at the Limited War Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland, army entomologists were testing bed bugs for combat. The Vietnam War had escalated on the other side of the world, and the Vietcong were putting up a more impressive fight than the Americans and their allies had expected. The enemy’s familiarity with the jungle made it easy to ambush US soldiers; the army was thus desperate to flush the guerillas out.

The Americans stripped the leafy jungle greens with Agent Orange and other defoliants so that the trees could no longer conceal an attack, and they trained German shepherds to sniff out hidden enemies sneaking through the ruined forest remains. But the researchers at Aberdeen thought that the bed bug might be a more versatile lookout. Compared to dogs, insects were easier to transport, required less care and attention, and needed no training.

Bed bugs are also naturally attracted to humans. The scientists wanted to exploit this tendency, whether in this species or a short list of other bloodsuckers, to see if they could detect the heat coming off of an enemy’s body or the carbon dioxide from his breath. In addition to the bed bug, the contenders included an unnamed species of lice; Xenopsylla cheopis, the Oriental rat flea; Amblyomma americanum, the lone star tick; three mosquito species; and Triatoma infestans, the kissing bug and most infamous carrier of Chagas disease.

The scientists put each species through a series of tests to observe how the insects acted when a person was nearby and to see whether that action could be converted into a warning signal. Lice were ruled out early because their aimless crawls didn’t change when a person was nearby. The fleas did notice the presence of a person, but they became so excited when they smelled a potential meal that they tapped like kernels of popcorn against a metal detection chamber and took too long to settle back down, which meant they were sensors that couldn’t reset. The soft feet of the tick made no discernible noise even after the researchers hung weights from the arthropods’ legs in hopes that the additional heft might audibly scrape across a detector’s surface.

In tests on one species of mosquito, the insects responded by probing a screened, skin-like membrane, thinking it was food whenever the researchers wafted in a human scent. A phonograph pickup, the same device that captures the vibration from the strum of an electric guitar and converts it to an electrical signal, connected to the membrane and converted the action of each wishful bite so it resonated like a plucked guitar string. And the kissing bug, a distant cousin of the bed bug, made a raucous noise with each of its footsteps, which was promising.

Both adult and nymph bed bugs sprung to attention when a meal was nearby, but only the younger bugs reacted strongly enough in initial tests to warrant the construction of a complex sensor. The researchers made one from a coiled spring of piano wire connected to a phono pickup. Just as the mosquitoes bit the fake skin in their detector, the bed bug nymphs shimmied across the piano wire, triggered it, and produced a sound. But when the wires, the bugs, and the pickup were put in a portable container—a small mesh envelope—the sound was too muffled to hear. The intrepid scientists built a chamber of fine steel wool and put the bugs and the detector inside. This helped, but the device still was not good enough to be useful on the battlefield. None of the other insect finalists that the army entomologists tested worked out, either, and the project was abandoned.

That the bed bug was included in the Aberdeen research in the sixties was unusual— as the bed bug faded from homes and our collective memory, it also became less common in the laboratory. In the decades leading up to World War II, scientists had mainly tried to understand the bugs’ basic biology, whether they were a health threat, and how to kill them. Both during and directly after the war, the research slanted toward pest control through experiments using DDT and other poisons.

Illustration of proposed insect ambush detector from the US Army. Credit: Clyde Barnhart, courtesy of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

By the late fifties, just after DDT’s initial deluge, the scientists’ interest dipped for about a decade, corresponding with the decimation of the bug. In the years that followed, what little research there was came from the developing world, where the pest was still a problem: countries in Africa and Asia, or institutions including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which often operated in those regions. Just a handful of studies were published each year. Many looked at the tropical bed bug rather than the common one, and most of the work focused on public health, pesticide effectiveness, or, as bed bugs evolved to withstand DDT and its cousins, pesticide resistance. The research on the latter grew in the decades following the war, for even DDT couldn’t completely destroy what nature had perfected over millennia, and thus bed bugs hadn’t disappeared entirely.

Four years after the Americans and the Brits added DDT to their wartime supply lists, scientists found bed bugs resistant to the insecticide in Pearl Harbor barracks. More resistant bed bugs soon showed up in Japan, Korea, Iran, Israel, French Guiana, and Columbus, Ohio. In 1958 James Busvine of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed DDT resistance in bed bugs as well as cross- resistance to several similar pesticides, including a tenfold increase in resistance to a common organic one called pyrethrin. In 1964 scientists tested bed bugs that had proven resistant five years prior but had not been exposed to any insecticides since. The bugs still defied the DDT.

Soon there was a long list of other insect and arachnid with an increasing immunity to DDT: lice, mosquitoes, house flies, fruit flies, cockroaches, ticks, and the tropical bed bug. In 1969 one entomology professor would write of the trend: “The events of the past 25 years have taught us that virtually any chemical control method we have devised for insects is eventually destined to become obsolete, and that insect control can never be static but must be in a dynamic state of constant evolution.” In other words, in the race between chemical and insect, the insects always pull ahead.

Top image: AP

Chagas Disease in the United States: A Growing Public Health Concern

 Each month, The Clinical Advisor makes one new clinical feature available ahead of print. Don’t forget to take the poll. The results will be published in the next month’s issue.

Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T cruzi).  T cruzi infection can be acquired through the vector-borne route, transplacentally, through transfusion of contaminated blood products, from a transplanted organ of an infected donor, or rarely from contaminated food or laboratory accidents.1 A majority of infections are transmitted via the vector-borne route, which occurs only in the Americas. The vector for T cruzi is the triatomine bug, also known as the “kissing bug.” Infection is acquired through contact with the feces of an infected triatomine bug. The triatomine bug has been found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America — as far south as Argentina. Chagas disease is endemic in Latin American countries, including Mexico and most countries in Central and South America.2 Although the triatomine bug survives in the southern United States, the vast majority of persons infected with T cruzi living in the United States acquired the infection while living in Latin American countries.

The United States is considered a nonendemic country for Chagas disease.  As of 2009, more than 300,000 persons living in the United States were believed to be infected with the T cruzi parasite.3 Although a 2016 review places this number closer to 240,000, this estimate does not include undocumented immigrants, who could account for more than 100,000 cases.4 If left untreated, the parasitic infection can lead to chronic disease with severe and life-threatening manifestations.  In approximately 20% to 30% of T cruzi infections, the disease progresses to Chagas cardiomyopathy and/or gastrointestinal Chagas disease.1 Practitioners serving communities with large populations of Latin American immigrants need to be aware of the disease prevalence in this population.

Which of the following statements regarding Chagas infection is true?

 

Epidemiology

An estimated 8 million people worldwide are infected with T cruzi, and the United States has the seventh highest prevalence of Chagas infections. Of the estimated 300,000 US individuals infected with the parasite, 30,000 to 45,000 will develop Chagas heart disease.5 Chagas infections represents a growing public health concern in the Western hemisphere, particularly in communities with high populations of Latin American immigrants.  The majority of cases of T cruzi infections in the United States are among immigrants from Latin American countries where T cruzi infections are endemic; few actual vector-borne cases of infection have been reported in the United States. According to Bern and Montgomery, only 7 cases of US vector-borne infections have been reported since 1955 despite the presence of the triatomine bug in the southern states.3

The kissing bug can be found in the southern half of the continental United States and large parts of Central and South America.1 The climate in the northern portions of North America and the southernmost portions of South America are not compatible for triatomine bug survival. Vector-borne transmission is prevalent in endemic countries where housing is poorly constructed as the bugs like to nest in cracks and holes in substandard housing.  Improved housing and less-efficient vectors may explain the low risk of vectorial transmission in the United States.1,2 Plastered walls and sealed entryways help to prevent bug infestations.

Risk Factors

Persons at highest risk of contracting T cruzi infection are those living or who have lived in poorly constructed, triatomine bug-infested houses in endemic countries.1 Other persons at risk are those who have received blood transfusions, transplant recipients, and offspring of infected mothers.  Since 2012, donated blood at all US blood centers undergoes screening for T cruzi infection; therefore, US blood transfusion recipients since 2012 are not considered high risk.1 Transplant recipients who receive an organ from a donor infected with T cruzi and children born to infected mothers are at risk of developing Chagas disease.1

Public Transportation Seats Might Have Bed Bugs On Them

It’s no secret that public transportation is an ideal way to combat gridlock and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars. However, if you sit down on the bus or subway on the regular, the gross things on public transportation seats might make you vow to never put your butt on a seat again. This is especially true if you live in Los Angeles or Chicago where metro and el trains sport seats made of fabric, which are more difficult to keep clean.

If you’d rather live in denial, I totally support that, and you should stop reading right now because the Los Angeles Times reported that these seats are home to bed bugs, lice, urine, food, and dangerous bacteria. Despite being cleaned daily, and dry cleaned often, with more than a million trips a day, fabric seats are almost impossible to keep germ free.

In fact, one regular Los Angeles Metro rider told the Times that he hasn’t sat down on the train since a bed bug crawled from a seat onto his lap. “Sometimes you’re tired, or you don’t feel good, and you just want to sit down,” perfume designer and visual artist Chris Rusak said. “But you know what? It isn’t worth it.”

Giphy

He’s right. If standing on the train can reduce your chances of bringing home bed bugs, do it. After all, 20 minutes of standing is a small price to pay to avoid months of anxiety and expensive pest-control treatments because a bed bug hitched a ride on your belt loop.

Another metro rider told the Times that she got lice after her hair long hair touched a seat. The story also noted that one rider reported witnessing a Metro employee place a paper towel on a seat before sitting down. It’s kind of like when the employees of a restaurant won’t eat the food. Obviously they know something you don’t, and it’s probably best to follow their lead.

Throwback psychedelic-looking fabric-covered seats are designed to disguise dirt and stains, which is why they look like the carpet used in Las Vegas casinos. And while fabric seats are certainly the grossest, germs and pests can cling to plastic and vinyl seats too.

A study from Travelmath found that the New York City Subways system is home to more mold and dangerous bacteria, which can cause skin infections and pneumonia, than any other city in the U.S. This makes sense because New Yorkers take public transport more often than residents of other cities. And more people equals more germs.

In the study of several cities, New York was the most bacteria ridden, San Francisco came in second, Chicago third, and Washington, D.C. fourth. (If you’ve ever ridden the metro in D.C. then you know it’s the unicorn of public transportation and has strict rules about what you can bring on board, which might account for its low levels of bacteria.)

In another study, a global team of scientists launched an initiative to get a snapshot of the bacterial ecosystem aboard public transportation, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. While they concluded that most of the bacteria is harmless, that doesn’t mean it isn’t gross. The study found that 20 percent of bacteria present in the New York City Subway system came from genitals — the result of improper hand washing and farting. Seriously.

Giphy

Other bacteria came from the human gastrointestinal tract and human skin. Because subway trains tend to be jerky, it’s pretty difficult to stand the entire time without holding onto the handrail, which is why proper hand washing is so important. What’s more, you should also clean your phone after riding public transportation because it’s pretty likely that you touched something gross on the train and then started scrolling through social media thus transferring those germs to your digital bestie.

Other germ ridden forms of transport include buses, taxis, and airplanes. Specifically airplane tray tables, which probably aren’t wiped down after every flight. If you’re super grossed out, Travelmath said that common sense is the best defense against germs on public transportation.

“Avoid touching surfaces if you can help it, keep your hands away from your face and out of your pockets to avoid spreading germs, and wash your hands as soon as you arrive at your destination.” Additionally, it’s a good idea to carry alcohol wipes with you when flying so you can wipe down the tray table and the touch screen before choosing your in-flight movie. Because, the germs on public transportation are sick AF, and not in a good way.

Judge allows lawsuits claiming Monsanto weed killer Roundup causes cancer to go forward

The company that makes Roundup, Monsanto, has strongly denied that there is any connection between their product and cancer.
by Associated Press /  / Updated 
Image: US-ENVIRONMENT-HEALTH-AGRICULTURE-CHEMICALS

Hundreds of lawsuits have alleged that Roundup causes cancer.Josh Edelson / AFP – Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of lawsuits alleging Roundup weed killer causes cancer cleared a big hurdle this week when a federal judge ruled that cancer victims and their families could present expert testimony linking the herbicide to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said evidence that the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — can cause the disease seemed “rather weak.” Still, the opinions of three experts linking glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were not “junk science” that should be excluded from a trial, the judge ruled on Tuesday.

The lawsuits say agrochemical giant Monsanto, which makes Roundup, long knew about the cancer risk but failed to warn people. The ruling allows the claims to move forward, though the judge warned it could be a “daunting challenge” to convince him to allow a jury to hear testimony that glyphosate was responsible for individual cancer diagnoses.

Many government regulators have rejected a link between cancer and glyphosate. Monsanto has vehemently denied such a connection, saying hundreds of studies have established that the chemical is safe.

The company is facing hundreds of lawsuits in state and federal courts that claim otherwise. Chhabria is presiding over more than 400 of them.

A separate trial is under way in San Francisco in a lawsuit by a school groundskeeper dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the first case a jury has heard alleging Roundup caused cancer.

In response to Chhabria’s ruling, Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge noted the judge excluded some of the plaintiffs’ experts and called the opinions of those he is allowing to testify “shaky.”

“Moving forward, we will continue to defend these lawsuits with robust evidence that proves there is absolutely no connection between glyphosate and cancer,” Partridge said in a statement. “We have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer, but the science clearly shows that glyphosate was not the cause.”

Michael Baum, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he was still reviewing the ruling but was pleased the judge rejected Monsanto’s effort to have the lawsuits thrown out.

“We look forward to taking the next step — getting our clients their day in court,” he said in a statement.

The judge wanted to determine whether the science behind the claim that glyphosate can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had been properly tested and met other requirements to be considered valid.

Chhabria spent a week in March hearing dueling testimony from epidemiologists. He peppered them with questions about potential strengths and weaknesses of research on the cancer risk of glyphosate.

Beate Ritz, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, testified for the plaintiffs that her review of scientific literature led her to conclude that glyphosate and glyphosate-based compounds such as Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Ritz said a 2017 National Institutes of Health study that found no association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had major flaws.

Monsanto brought in its own expert, Lorelei Mucci, a cancer epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who praised the 2017 study.

“When you look at the body of epidemiological literature on this topic, there’s no evidence of a positive association between glyphosate and NHL risk,” she said of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In his ruling Tuesday, the judge said Ritz and Mucci could both testify before a jury.

Monsanto developed glyphosate in the 1970s, and the weed killer is now sold in more than 160 countries. Farmers in California, the most agriculturally productive state in the U.S., use it on more than 200 types of crops. Homeowners use it on their lawns and gardens.

The herbicide came under increasing scrutiny after the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015.

A flurry of lawsuits against Monsanto followed, and California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer. Monsanto has attacked the international research agency’s opinion as an outlier.

The Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

A federal judge in Sacramento has blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because almost all regulators have concluded that there is no evidence glyphosate is carcinogenic.

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