Nov 28, 2017

Fewer babies born underweight after phase out of common chemical, study suggests

Hoosick Falls, NY, had contaminated water supply by the chemical PFOA. Photo: Mike Groll / AP

The Environmental Protection Agency worked with U.S. manufacturers to begin phasing out synthetic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in 2006, which has prevented between 10,000 and 17,000 babies being born underweight, according to a new study per The Washington Post.

Why it matters: The chemical, used in things like pizza boxes and stain-resistant carpets, was found in general population blood serum tests 99% of the time from 1999 to 2012, per WaPo. By cutting the chemical's use, and therefore reducing the number of babies born underweight, the head of the study Leonardo Trasande said there are also "billions of avoided societal costs," since low-weight newborns required additional medical care.

But: PFOA, and a similar chemical PFOS, are still found in millions of products used in the U.S., per the Post.

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Trump forces fateful choices on Twitter and Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's war with Twitter is confronting social media platforms with a hard dilemma: whether to take fuller responsibility for what people say on their services, or to step back and assume a more quasi-governmental role.

The big picture: Facebook is trying to be more like a government committing to impartiality and protecting free speech and building mechanisms for arbitration. Twitter, pushed by Trump's inflammatory messages, is opting to more aggressively enforce conduct rules on its private property, like a mall owner enforcing rules inside the gates.

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Obama on George Floyd's death: "This shouldn't be 'normal'"

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former President Obama said in a statement Friday that the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, "shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America."

What he's saying: "[W]e have to remember that for millions of Americans being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or watching birds in a park."