Education

Health Column

April 18, 1990 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Centers for Disease Control has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of mercury in indoor latex paint, saying the substance “presents an unnecessary hazard to human health.”

The cdc estimates that between one-fifth and one-third of all water-based indoor paint contains mercury, which is added to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in stored paint.

Dr. Mary Agocs, a medical epidemiologist in the agency’s center for environmental health and injury control, said officials first became concerned about the mercury content in paint after a Michigan boy was hospitalized for four months last year with acrodynia, a type of mercury poisoning.

The rare case of early-childhood mercury poisoning was attributed to the parents’ use of a latex paint containing mercury to paint their house.

Exposure to mercury in vapors can lead to tremors, insomnia, anorexia, memory loss, and kidney damage. Dr. Agocs said health officials do not know what level of mercury exposure, if any, is safe for children.

The epa is currently surveying paint manufacturers about their use of lead.

Teenagers who use drugs are three times as likely to attempt suicide as their drug-free peers, a study by Washington-area researchers has found.

The research, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Children, suggests that drugs may play an important role in a large number of youthful suicides.

“Both the wish to hurt oneself and actual suicide attempts were found to increase significantly after the initiation of substance use,” the study says.

Nearly 300 teenagers enrolled in substance-abuse clinics in three areas of the country were surveyed for the study, which found that 30 percent of the youths had attempted suicide. In contrast, other studies have found that between 7 and 9 percent of “normal” adolescents try to kill themselves.

Study findings also showed that 40 percent of those who had attempted suicide had used drugs within eight hours of the attempt.

More than 90 percent of those studied were white; two-thirds were male. The most commonly used drug was marijuana.

Teenagers who have had three or more bad sunburns or have worked outdoors for three or more summers have significantly increased chances of developing melanoma, the most common type of skin cancer, according to a study by New York University researchers.

Its results suggest that sunburns are most dangerous before the age of 20. Teenagers should avoid excessive sun exposure, the report says, and should always use sunscreen lotions.--ef

A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 1990 edition of Education Week as Health Column

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
Education Opinion The Top 10 Rick Hess Straight Up Columns of 2022
NAEP, pre-K, who decides what gets taught. Those are among the most popular or impactful posts of the year.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty