Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Alabama boycott builds as states retaliate against abortion law
A movement to boycott Alabama over its near-ban on abortion gained momentum Thursday as officials in Maryland and Colorado called for economic retaliation and online flyers urged people not to buy anything in, or from Alabama. A day after the southern state passed the country's most restrictive abortion law, Maryland's Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot said he would advise his state's $52 billion pension fund to divest from Alabama, and urged other states to follow suit.
Bayer bets on 'silver bullet' defence in Roundup litigation; experts see hurdles
Bayer AG plans to argue that a $2 billion jury award and thousands of U.S. lawsuits claiming its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer should be tossed because a U.S. regulatory agency said the herbicide is not a public health risk. Some legal experts believe Bayer will have a tough time convincing appellate courts to throw out verdicts and lawsuits on those grounds. Bayer has a better shot if a business-friendly U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case, experts said. But that could take years. The U.S. to begin testing sick, dead pigs for fatal hog virus ravaging China
The U.S. Department of Agriculture within weeks will begin testing sick and dead pigs for a hog virus that has killed herds across Asia in an effort to minimize devastation if the disease enters the United States, the agency said on Thursday. Increased testing aims to help U.S. officials detect cases of African swine fever quickly so they can contain the disease.
Missouri Senate passes a bill to ban abortions after eight weeks
Missouri's Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill early on Thursday that would ban abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. The vote came a day after Alabama's governor signed into law a ban on abortions at any time absent a medical emergency.
Charcoal toothpaste may do harm and not much good
Charcoal toothpaste may be having a moment as a go-to brightening and whitening tool, but some dentists say these products might actually damage tooth enamel and make cavities more likely. At a minimum, any claims charcoal toothpaste marketers make have no scientific evidence behind them, the authors of a paper in the British Dental Journal warn.
Opioids crisis has spread beyond the United States: OECD
Opioid use has reached crisis proportions not only in the United States but also in Canada and some European countries, as prescription opioid painkillers have become much more common, the OECD club of wealthy nations said on Thursday. So far the opioid epidemic has focused largely on the United States, where the OECD said nearly 400,000 people died of overdoses between 1999 and 2017, resulting in the lowering of overall life expectancy for the first in more than 60 years.
Bullied kids more likely to use painkillers
Children and teens who are bullied are more than twice as likely as peers who are not victimized to take painkillers, a study of school kids in Iceland suggests. "We found a high frequency of pain medication use among both non-bullied and bullied students," said lead study author Pernilla Garmy of Kristianstad University in Sweden. Ultra-processed foods lead to higher calorie consumption and weight gain
People who eat a lot of ultra-processed foods - such as frozen entrees, white bread and canned side dishes - tend to consume more calories than those who eat foods that aren't processed, a new study suggests. Government researchers found that people ate about 500 calories more when offered meals that contained ultra-processed items, according to the results in Cell Metabolism.
Factbox: Alabama abortion ban triggers Twitter reaction storm
Celebrities, activists and politicians swarmed social media to air their opinions on a new law, signed on Wednesday, that almost totally bans abortion in Alabama. Singer Lady Gaga led the chorus of outraged voices with many women tweeting under the hashtag #YouKnowMe to declare they had abortions and were unashamed.
Five more U.S. states sue OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic
Five U.S. states on Thursday filed lawsuits accusing Purdue Pharma LP of illegally marketing and selling opioids, escalating the wave of litigation over a nationwide abuse epidemic. Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin joined 39 states to file lawsuits targeting Purdue Pharma and its leaders, including former president Richard Sackler and his family.
(With inputs from agencies.)