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Josh McCormack

Digital Content Curator, Salud America! Josh McCormack joined Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health​ San Antonio, in February 2019. Graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in English Literature, he has previously worked in journalism and publishing. Josh enjoys reading; some of his favorite authors include Stephen King, Omar El Akkad and J.R.R. Tolkien.​


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Articles by Josh McCormack

Salud America! Network Speaks Up for Safe Sunscreen!


Sunscreen FDA Rule

In February, the FDA announced its plan to review sunscreen product chemicals, many of which can harm people and the environment. The agency spent the past five months seeking public opinion on its plans, and 19,256 people and groups─including members of Salud America!’s network─submitted comments with a clear message: Ensure our sunscreen is safe! Still, the FDA has made only 1,577 comments available to the public. Of the listed messages, 345 came from Salud America! advocates, for 21.8% of all comments! Are There Serious Risks? Research on sunscreen has shown that certain chemicals, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylene, can enter a user’s bloodstream and cause potential harm. These substances have also caused environmental damage to coral reefs. Still, ...

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Roundup Aims to Find Toxic Weedkiller Alternatives with $5.6 Billion Investment


Bayer Chemicals Research

Roundup manufacturer, Bayer, has faced countless lawsuits over their products’ toxic link to cancer development — now, they’ve begun a $5.6 billion research project to find safer alternatives. The company announced this 10-year plan last week, urging they have heard consumer concerns and vow to make concrete changes going forward. The statement comes as Bayer fights over 13,000 court cases and large payouts to families who claim they got cancer from exposure to Roundup. “We are now starting to implement a series of measures to drive transparency and sustainability across our business,” Bayer’s CEO, Werner Baumann, said in a statement. Plans for the Future The company aims to find safe alternatives to harmful chemicals, such as glyphosate, and promote honesty, ...

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Salud America! Network Sends 2,028 Emails to Protect Groundwater!


Pollution Groundwater

As part of their more significant trend of weakening environmental rules, the EPA announced a reduction in groundwater protections on April 15. Yet, 24,088 people and organizations submitted a public comment to the agency — including 2,028 emails, about 10% of all comments, from SaludAmerica! network members. Many of these statements urge government officials to rethink the act of allowing corporations more flexibility to eliminate toxic waste by polluting groundwater. Other groups, such as Clean Water Action, also sent data and expert opinion to show how EPA’s plans could continue to harm our waters and climate. "This is a reckless departure from past practice and agency precedent. It’s a senseless handout to polluting industries, at the expense of our water and health," ...

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Report: 35 U.S. Communities Could be Under Water Soon


Climate change floods

The impacts of climate change will significantly affect the lives of Latinos and all Americans — including drowning their cities. By 2100, 35 towns and cities in the U.S. could experience such extreme flooding that those places could become inhabitable, according to an in-depth news report published in USA Today from 24/7 Wallstreet. Latinos, who make up between 23% to 67.7% of the population in 10 of these areas, face substantial risks if climate-change trends continue. “The steady rise in global surface temperatures is largely attributed to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions,” writes report authors Michael B. Sauter and Thomas C. Frohlich. “With rising temperatures, the world’s ice has been melting and sea levels have been rising. As a result, barring major ...

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Tell USGS: Don’t Ignore Long-Term Climate Change Projections


Climate Change 2040

In a seemingly coordinated effort to minimize climate change concerns, the Trump administration is reducing environmental protection rules. Now, they want to diminish scientific data that demonstrates its potential harms. Last month, James Reilly, director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), ordered his agency’s scientists to limit climate change estimations to only predict effects until 2040. Up to now, models would assess climate change repercussions through 2100. Scientists are concerned because the worst climate harm could come after 2050, according to The New York Times. This is bad news for Latinos, who are especially impacted by pollution. “Failing to look beyond 2040 [on climate science] is like pretending a baby born today won’t live past 21,” ...

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Study: New Coats of Paint Aggravate Asthma in Kids


Painting VOCs kids

Freshly painted walls are linked to up to a 10-times higher risk of exacerbating asthma in children, according to a recent study by the University of Miami. The research also showed even greater danger for asthma complications if these children took asthma medication and came in contact with second-hand smoke. Researchers say this data indicates a direct line between environmental exposure and worsened symptoms. “Paint exposure is a significant risk factor of an asthma attack while other environmental exposures including second-hand smoke further intensify this effect,” said Dr. Nadia Saif, a study author who conducted the research at the University of Miami but is now at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, according to Medpage Today. “Airway remodeling is a ...

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International Doctors: Chemical Products Need Warning Labels


Chemical Labels U.K.

Would you still buy your favorite fragrance spray if its package had a “hazard” sticker on the front? That’s what researchers from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in the United Kingdom hope to see, according to The Times of London. Their recent study of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in products prompted the call for such warnings. “Liberally going around spraying chemicals around your house that are complex and react with other chemicals — you’ve got to weigh up the benefits of that,” said Stephen Holgate, a professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton and one of the review authors. “Are there not other things you can do, like buy a nice bunch of flowers?” Issues in Products Similar to ...

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Dangerous ‘Forever Chemicals’ Contaminate Food Across the U.S


FDA PFAS Contamination Food

Hazardous firefighting substances are tainting a wide range of foods, exposing numerous Latinos and Americans to harmful materials that do not break down in the body over time. The FDA confirmed widespread per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contamination this week. Their findings show high levels of the substance in meat, seafood, dairy, vegetable, and dessert products, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “Measuring PFAS concentrations in food, estimating dietary exposure and determining the associated health effects is an emerging area of science,” the FDA writes in a statement. Additionally, FDA spokesperson Tara Rabin told the Associated Press that most contamination levels were “not likely to be a human health concern.” Investigation Findings and ...

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Minnesota Bans Dangerous PFAS in Many Consumer Goods, Elevates Firefighter Safety


Minnesota PFAS Ban

When alarmingly high levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminated Bemidji, Minnesota’s (5.4% Latino) water, the city shut down two of its five wells. The city is planning to build a new $2 million well to ensure clean water. State lawmakers saw the harm PFAS, which are used as flame retardants, pose. So, the Minnesota (1.5% Latino) legislators passed a bill that bans those health-harming substances in many products used by consumers. Even worse, when those items catch fire, they release noxious fumes into the air, which harms firefighters throughout the country. “What we've learned over time is that those chemicals actually don't do much as far as fire protection,” Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, one of the bill's authors, told Minnesota Public Radio ...

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