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February 4, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants teenagers to know the “real cost” of smoking - and it's not measured in dollars. Teens who pick up a cigarette habit will wind up paying with their skin, their teeth and even their freedom, a new ad campaign warns. Other government agencies and public health groups have produced commercials about the dangers of smoking. The $54-million “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prompted about 100,000 smokers to quit after airing for just 12 weeks, according to a 2013 study in the journal Lancet.
January 23, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of caramel colorings used in a variety of foods, including colas and other dark soft drinks, to determine whether the agency should act to limit consumers' exposure to a chemical created during the manufacturing process. The agency's announcement Thursday came in response to a Consumer Report investigation that prompted the watchdog group Consumers Union to call for limits on 4-methyliminazole, or 4-Mel, an impurity produced in the production of some caramel colorings, as well as for labeling of products containing caramel coloring.
January 15, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
The Food and Drug Administration has asked doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to stop giving patients high-dose acetaminophen, the active ingredient in the popular pain-reliever Tylenol. Pills, capsules, tablets, syrups and other formulations that contain more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen have not been shown to reduce pain better than lower doses of the medication; however, such high levels of the drug can cause liver damage, the FDA explained in a recommendation issued Tuesday.
January 8, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved U.S. marketing of the drug dapagliflozin, the second of a new class of medications that aim to improve glycemic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The drug will be marketed under the name Farxiga. Dapagliflozin is a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, a drug that blocks the reabsorption of glucose by the kidney, increases the excretion of glucose in urine and lowers glucose levels in the blood. It will join -- and is likely to be prescribed in conjunction with -- a wide range of diabetes medications, including metformin, pioglitazone, glimepiride, sitagliptin and insulin.
January 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Contrary to what many consumers assume, a "natural" label on foods doesn't necessarily mean much. The Food and Drug Administration has never defined the term, though it says it doesn't object to its use to describe foods without added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances. Now the FDA is being asked to broaden the term "natural" into meaninglessness by allowing genetically engineered food to be labeled natural. A letter sent to the FDA by the Grocery Manufacturers Assn.
December 19, 2013 | By David Pierson
Sweeping new federal food safety regulations proposed this year will be revised because of an outcry of concern by farmers, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. In an agency blog post , Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, said rules addressing food-borne illness in production sites and farms included in the Food Safety Modernization Act will be revised and reviewed by early summer. A public comment period, which had ended in November, will be reopened.
December 16, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a new rule that would force companies that make antibacterial soaps to prove that their products are effective and safe. Federal regulators said that the two most common active ingredients in antibacterial soaps - triclosan and triclocarban - are no more effective at preventing the spread of illnesses than washing with plain soap and water. Furthermore, the FDA said that regular use of these soap products may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics and may also have unanticipated hormonal effects.
December 16, 2013 | By Karin Klein
Antibacterial soap is great stuff - if you're talking about just plain old regular soap. Because all soap combats bacteria. It doesn't need germ-killing chemicals added to do that. The difference is that regular soap doesn't act so much to “kill” bacteria as it binds to it, removing it from our hands or whatever we're washing. But Americans have been sold in recent years on these so-called antibacterial soaps, despite the lack of evidence that they do anything to keep people healthier than plain soap, and might in fact have the opposite effect.
December 16, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
The makers of antibacterial soaps and bodywashes will have to demonstrate that their products are safe, effective, and prevent the spread of illness better than good old-fashioned soap and water, or they'll have to conform to new rules, the Food & Drug Administration said Monday. Just days after unveiling new proposals to limit the use of antibiotic medications in livestock raised for human consumption, the FDA's new measure takes aim at soaps suspected of promoting the development of bacteria resistant to eradication and of exposing consumers to hormone- disrupting chemicals.
December 15, 2013 | MICHAEL HILTZIK
Cutting-edge companies often walk a tightrope between regulators trying to keep their technologies under control and marketers trying to push them out to consumers as fast as possible. That's where a Silicon Valley company named 23andMe is today. The Mountain View, Calif., firm has been hawking genetic tests for you to take at home. You spit into a receptacle and ship your saliva back to the company so it can analyze your DNA for a mere $99. Eventually you get a readout detailing your genetic susceptibility to hundreds of diseases.
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