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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

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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#SaludTues Tweetchat 6/11: Air Quality and Pollution


Air Quality and Pollution Chat

Air quality impacts a lot more than what you might think. Noxious gasses and fumes contaminate the atmosphere every day, and the problem is getting worse — especially for Latinos and other minorities. Current government policies are also making the problem worse through roll-back initiatives. This year, the EPA is taking steps to reduce air pollution rules. These regulation reductions would give companies more room to emit higher levels of harmful substances. If enacted, those policies could expose more Americans to harm, causing greater long-term health impacts. Let’s use #SaludTues on Twitter on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, to discuss why our air quality is so important and what everyone can do to make a difference in this issue: WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Air ...

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Is Roadway Air Pollution Slowing Your Child’s Brain Development?


Roadway Air Pollution

Childhood brain development is a sensitive process, and researchers now say air pollution from highways and streets could harm or hinder that progression. Worse, kids who live close to major roadways can face significant adverse effects from the air, according to a recently published study in Environmental Research. The data showed that these children scored lower on communications tests as well as other cognitive functions. This is alarming data for Latinos, who are already exposed to greater levels of air pollution. What Does the Study Show? Researchers collected data from 5,800 children (5.8% Latino) living throughout New York state (19.2% Latino). They excluded New York City (29.1% Latino) from their study group. They began gathering prenatal levels of particulate matter ...

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You’ll No Longer Find Asbestos in Products in New Jersey


New Jersey Asbestos Ban

Once, asbestos was a major health concern — it exposed millions of Americans to harmful toxins through construction materials, home insulation, and talcum powder-based items. Now, despite a reduction in its reach and impact over the years, the mineral is making headlines again. EPA rollbacks and discoveries of asbestos in consumer products have brought asbestos back on the minds of citizens and lawmakers. New Jersey (20.4% Latino) state legislators took steps to protect their constituents through bill A 4416, which bans the sale or distribution of products containing asbestos. “There is absolutely no reason why any New Jerseyans should be at risk of asbestos exposure,” state assembly member Lisa Swain told TAPinto. “While the current Administration in Washington may be ...

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Toledo Mom Fights for Clean Drinking Water for Her Own, All Children


Toledo Safe Water Action

Crystal Jankowski ran the faucet in her hospital room for 12 hours straight the day she gave birth — all in hopes that the tap water would come out clean for Amelia, her newborn girl. Just days before her delivery in August 2014, the city of Toledo, Ohio (8.3% Latino) told residents not to drink the municipal water. High levels of health-threatening toxins contaminated the public water supply sourced from Lake Erie. Jankowski, a Toledo-native, wanted to do something for her two children and all kids. So, she became an organizer for Toledoans for Safe Water (TSW), a group with an idea for a controversial Lake Erie Bill of Rights to enable residents to sue lake polluters. “When you fight for clean water you are fighting for people of the reservations, you’re fighting for ...

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What’s that Weird Smell on Your Airplane Flight?


airplane scents harm

Fragrance sprays are used to diffuse scents across the country in public bathrooms, office buildings, private residences, and now airline carriers. While in-flight air fresheners can reduce strong smells, they also can trigger problematic side effects in people who are sensitive to certain chemicals found in those products. Individuals who undergo symptoms from fragrance exposure could be experiencing Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT). Worse, those who are TILTed could experience a range of health effects during their flights now that more planes will use air fresheners. “Fragrances are to varying degrees toxic, and they are in fact one of the biggest triggers of irritability, mental confusion, and difficulties with concentration or learning,” writes Dr. Claudia ...

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Apple Promises to Think Different about Hazardous Chemicals in Products


Apple chemicals of concern

One of America’s largest corporations is reassessing the way they handle potentially health-harming substances in their products. Last month, Apple released its “Environmental Responsibility Report,” which provides insights into their overall climate-conscious. Specifically, the report illustrates the ways Apple is changing their mindset and practices concerning hazardous substances — something they hope will change the way the electronics industry functions as a whole. “Prioritizing potentially problematic chemical substances is key to effectively focusing green chemistry efforts in electronics manufacturing,” Apple writes in their 2018 Chemicals of Concern report. “Existing scientific tools and policy frameworks, however, do not provide immediately applicable and ...

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