Andy Miller

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Smyrna and Cobb County officials released the first results of independent tests of air quality near the Sterigenics facility. 

The results, released at Monday’s meeting of the community’s Air Quality Oversight Committee, revealed 80 percent of the samples collected showed non-detectable levles of the carcinogenic gas ethylene oxide.


The first round of independent test results are due out this week for the Sterigenics plant in Smyrna, and the community’s Air Quality Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet Monday.  Get an update on the story from Georgia Health News’ Andy Miller, and Web MD Brenda Goodman. Plus, take a look at what’s happening on the political side of it from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ’s Greg Bluestein.


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Georgia residents in Smyrna and Covington are just now learning that their neighborhoods have an elevated cancer risk because of exposure to airborne toxins.

In August 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency published a report showing 109 census tracts with high concentrations of ethylene oxide, a gas used to sterilize medical equipment. Two use before, the agency placed the chemical on a list of those that “definitely cause cancer.”

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Last year, U.S. retail sales of essential oils topped $133 million. That number doesn’t include sales from multi-level marketers, who sell directly to buyers. While the market booms with promises of improved health and pain relief, there are some safety concerns.

Georgia Health News reporting found essential oils contributed to two calls per day on average to the Georgia Poison Center. Those cases usually involved children who are poisoned.


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Healthcare costs make up almost a fifth of spending in the U.S. economy, and they’re the number one cause of personal bankruptcies. It’s well known that doctor’s visits and medical procedures are expensive, but it turns out they can be especially pricey in some parts of Georgia. 


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The Patients First Act is now Georgia law.  It allows Gov. Brian Kemp’s office to request a Medicaid waiver from the federal government. Both proponents and opponents of the move are making it clear a waiver isn’t the same as full Medicaid expansion, which is what then-President Obama envisioned for states when crafting the Affordable Care Act. 

Democrats say a waiver doesn’t go far enough while some conservatives say even a partial expansion is too costly.


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Georgia has the seventh highest rate of uninsured children in the country. The problem is especially severe in low-income communities. The report from Voices of Georgia's Children shows 80 percent of Georgia children who were eligible for medicaid or Peachcare in 2016 weren't enrolled.

In the year since President Trump took office, a new wave of social movements has rippled across the country. March for Science Atlanta brings together scientists, data geeks and average citizens to push for policies that support and reflect research. The group will hold its annual Rally for Science April 14. The Rally for Science keynote speaker is Emory University professor Linda DeGutis. She previously served as director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. DeGutis will speak on the importance of gun violence research. We spoke with DeGutis and March for Science organizers Louis Kiphen and Allison Halterman.

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Atlanta-based hospital chain Piedmont Healthcare and health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia are at loggerheads.

 

The two failed to reach a contract agreement by their April 1 deadline. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has called both sides back to the negotiating table, but the two organizations still haven't found a way out of the dispute that's left about 500,000 Georgia patients in limbo.

On Second Thought For Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mar 22, 2018

Opioid addiction is a major problem in Georgia. Several years ago, Governor Nathan Deal signed the "Good Samaritan" bill. The bill was created to prevent opioid overdose deaths by giving amnesty to anyone who reports drug-related emergencies. The measure also equips law enforcement and first responders with Naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses if given right away.

Foter

The rate of suicide in rural America is climbing. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds those in rural counties are about six percent more likely to die by suicide than those in cities. We talk about this troubling trend with Andy Miller, Editor for Georgia Health News. Asha Ivey-Stephenson, Behavioral Scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also joins us. 

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Lead was banned from plumbing decades ago, but as the crisis in Flint, Michigan shows, lead contamination lasts a long time. A new investigation into Georgia’s water systems finds they are not immune from lead contamination. We talked about the story with reporters Andy Miller of Georgia Health News and Brenda Goodman of WebMD.

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Repealing the Affordable Care Act could cost Georgia more than $20 million a year. It would also cost the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly $900 million—12 percent of the agency’s budget.

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It's been a few weeks since Hurricane Matthew and crews along the coast are still cleaning up.  The storm caused more than a million gallons of partially treated wastewater to flow into the Savannah River.

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Something horrible is happening in Waycross, Georgia. Four area children were diagnosed with rare forms of cancer last year.