CDPH in the News, June 2017

CDPH in the News

Judge Trashes California’s $567,000 Medical Waste Fine

from Courthouse News

A federal judge Tuesday found that it a simple call that the California Department of Public Health unlawfully fined a medical-waste disposal company $567,000 for disposing of biohazardous materials out of state.
“The case presents a clear violation of the extraterritorial doctrine that requires little analysis,” U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill wrote, in granting Daniels Sharpsmart an injunction against California Department of Public Health Director Karen Smith. O’Neill found the DPH Medical Waste Management Program violated the Commerce Clause when it threatened Daniels Sharpsmart with penalties if it continued disposing of wastes that originated in California by any method not authorized under California law.

Diner claims restaurant served a dead frog in her salad

from New York Post

A woman from San Dimas, Calif., tells Fox News she was “beyond grossed out” after finding a dead frog in a salad she ordered from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Shawna Cepeda and her family were dining at the BJ’s in West Covina when she claims she noticed something off about her salad – but only after she took several bites and tasted something “a little sour,” reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The case has also been referred to the California Department of Public Health, an investigator for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health confirmed to the San Gabriel Valley Times.

Baby chicks may be cute, but they can make you sick

from Fresno Bee

Public health officials say that as more people keep backyard flocks of chickens, they are seeing more outbreaks of Salmonella bacteria infections linked to the feathery pets. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says between January and May, 372 people in 47 states became ill from infection, with several Salmonella strains that have been linked to contact with live poultry. In California, 21 people in 15 counties, including in the central San Joaquin Valley, have become ill. Health officials with the California Department of Public Health said live poultry, especially baby chicks and ducklings, may have Salmonella in their feces and on their feathers, feet and beaks – even when they appear healthy and clean. The contamination can get on hands, shoes and clothing. Salmonella also can be on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, bedding, plants, and soil.

Stockton SJ, fire district sue drug companies over opioid crisis

from Recordnet

The city, county and a local fire district recently sued several major pharmaceutical companies and a medical distribution firm, charging them with damaging the local economy by promoting the use of opioid painkillers they knew to be dangerous and extremely addictive. The 52-page complaint was filed in Superior Court late last month by two private law firms on behalf of Stockton, San Joaquin County and the Montezuma Fire Protection District, which serves unincorporated portions of southeast Stockton. Data from the California Department of Public Health is startling. According to the CDPH, there were slightly more than 600,000 opioid prescriptions in San Joaquin County in 2015. The county has about 700,000 residents. That same year, there were 45 deaths, 106 emergency-room visits and 114 overdose hospitalizations in the county attributable to opioids, according to the CDPH. Statewide, the data says there were more than 24 million opioid prescriptions and nearly 2,000 overdose deaths in California.

Promise Breakers: Introduction to a Public Health Scandal

from Huffington Post

A Capital & Main investigation has confirmed five cases of lead poisoning that were linked to Sacramento’s James Mangan Rifle and Pistol Range. As we reported last December, the 54-year-old gun range was padlocked in January 2015, after tests showed toxic levels of lead dust in nearly every corner of the building. The recent indictments of state officials in Michigan for involuntary manslaughter related to the lead contamination of the city of Flint’s water supply shows what can happen when there is resolve across the political spectrum to hold officials accountable for environmental crimes. But what happens when the spotlight is dimmer – or, in the case of Sacramento, nonexistent?
Documents obtained as part of our investigation show that officials in California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) knew as far back as 2002 that workers at the range had levels of lead in their blood so high they could lead to organ shutdown and death. A federal directive on lead hazards in the workplace says that such extreme cases are “high-gravity, serious” and “must be handled by inspection.” Because hazards inside the range required millions of dollars in fixes to bring it up to safe federal standards, an inspection would have almost certainly led to the facility’s permanent closure. Instead of referring the case for inspection, CDPH decided to trust city assurances that Sacramento would do better.