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Sunday, Dec 21st

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That Takeout Coffee Cup May Be Messing With Your Hormones

BPA free plastic also toxicMost people know that some plastics additives, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may be harmful to their health. But an upcoming study in the journal Environmental Health finds that entire classes of plastics—including the type commonly referred to as styrofoam and a type used in many baby products—may wreak havoc on your hormones regardless of what additives are in them.

The study's authors tested 14 different BPA-free plastic resins, the raw materials used to make plastic products, and found that four of them released chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen. That's not surprising.

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In GMO labeling fight, all eyes on Vermont as suit could set precedent

gmo labelingFood activists and the industry are looking to a court case between Vermont and a major food distribution association as a bellwether for the future of genetically modified foods.

In May, the state legislature voted to require food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such. If the law goes into effect in 2016, Vermont will become the first state to require such labeling. But first it will have to stand up in federal court: the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which is funded by a coalition of companies including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Starbucks and Monsanto, along with three other industry groups, sued the state shortly after the law passed.

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World AIDS Day to be marked around world

World Aid DayPeople around the world on Monday will join forces to show their support for those living with HIV, as well as those who have died from the virus, when the 26th World Aids Day is marked.

An estimated 34 million people are living with HIV and more than 35 million have died from the disease.  This year's theme is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation."

Ahead of World Aids Day, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) urged for more investment and access to treatment for children. The group said that 1.1 million infections among children under 15 have been averted, but that more needs to be done.

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Pennsylvania launches Medicaid expansion, overhaul

MedicaidHundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents left out of coverage under the 2010 federal health care law now have a chance to get insurance as the state undertakes a massive overhaul to health care for the poor.

On Monday, enrollment begins in the Healthy Pennsylvania program, the name given to Pennsylvania's Medicaid expansion by outgoing Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Coverage will begin Jan. 1, and state officials say some 600,000 people — primarily low-income, single working adults — are newly eligible for coverage under guidelines set by the 2010 law.

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U.S. CEOs threaten to pull tacit Obamacare support over 'wellness' spat

CEO wellness plansLeading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration's challenge to certain "workplace wellness" programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter.

Major U.S. corporations have broadly supported President Barack Obama's healthcare reform despite concerns over several of its elements, largely because it included provisions encouraging the wellness programs.

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Indoor smoking ban coming to Beijing

Beijing smoking banSmokers in China's capital city will not be allowed to light up in all indoor public places, at work or on public transit under new legislation passed by the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

Initially limited only to Beijing, the new restrictions will start in June, according to Chinese state media. Among those affected will be teachers, who are forbidden from smoking in front of students in primary and secondary grades. Schools themselves will be required to educate students about the dangers of smoking.

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Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test

Ebola vaccineAn experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, scientists reported on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The trial, which began on Sept. 2 and will monitor the volunteers for 48 weeks, is primarily aimed at assessing how safe the vaccine is. But the immune response offered hope that it would also be effective.

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