Why Mattel’s New Gender-Neutral Dolls Matter



By Vivian Welch, 15, Staff Writer


October 10, 2019

It can seem like the gender binary is everywhere. The bathrooms we use, the clothes we wear, the toys we play with—they can all make us choose: boy or girl. But what happens if you don’t fit in with either? The toy manufacturer Mattel created an opportunity for children to be flexible with how they play and express themselves, beyond just boy or girl. So, they released the Creatable World line, which includes six gender-neutral doll kits. You can create looks that are masculine, feminine, both, neither or anywhere in between.

Even though I’m 15, and some might say I’m too old, I was excited when I heard about this! I mean, each doll kit has over 100 possible styles! But I wasn’t only excited about the endless opportunities for fun, this doll is also a huge step toward a more gender-inclusive world. Gender-neutral toy options are often limited. The Creatable World line lets kids determine the doll’s look, instead of restricting them to just traditional female or male outfits.

“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels,” says Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, in a press release. The Creatable World line is inclusive in terms of gender and also race, featuring dolls with a range of skin tones. Kids seeing themselves represented in the toys available to them is so important. It shows them that they don’t have to be white or skinny or blond to be beautiful.

In the end, any way you want to express yourself is perfect, and your sex assigned at birth should not dictate how you do that. Limits are often put on gender expression. And in some places, it might not be safe for people to express themselves in ways outside of traditional gender norms. That is why the Creatable World line of dolls is so important. It can help normalize gender fluidity, so that in the future, hopefully those limits on gender expression can be a thing of the past.



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Newark phasing out bottled water in wake of filter tests


New Jersey’s largest city is distributing less bottled water after tests showed city-issued filters are reducing lead levels.

Starting next week, recreation centers in Newark will stop giving out water, though families with pregnant women and children under 6 can still get it.

The centers will distribute water filters and replacement cartridges.

Residents of about 14,000 homes with lead pipes began receiving bottled water in August after lead levels tested high at a few homes using the filters. More than 100,000 cases of water have been distributed.

Subsequent testing of more than 300 homes showed 97% to 99% of the filters were working.

The city began giving out filters last year after tests showed the chemicals used to prevent lead leaching from pipes into drinking water weren’t effective.



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Body Shaming, Sexism and Competitive Swimming



By Anne-Charlotte Gillard, 16, Contributor


October 4, 2019

Recently, 17-year-old Alaska high school swim champion, Breckynn Willis, won a 100-meter freestyle race, something common for the teen. What was uncommon, however, was her immediate disqualification. A referee accused Breckynn of violating the sport’s so-called modesty rules, which outline “appropriate” swimsuit coverage. Despite wearing the same swimsuit as her teammates, the biracial teen was the only one singled out. According to a statement released by the Anchorage School District, Willis “was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body.”

Willis’s race adds complexity to the situation. Lauren Langford, a swim coach at another school in Anchorage, noted in a blog post she wrote on Medium that officials have acknowledged “that white athletes are baring too much skin as well, yet they’ve never been disqualified for a similar violation.” This body policing promotes an environment that heightens body insecurities among teens and can be especially harmful if curvier teens or young women of color are being targeted. Furthermore, this distracts from the athletic achievements of young female swimmers.

As a water athlete who has spent hundreds of hours in body-hugging swimsuits, which naturally tend to ride up with movement, the idea that anyone—no less a referee—would reduce my effort and athletic achievements to a sexual attention-seeking stunt is demeaning. My internal dialogue before a competition is not, How can I show off my body?, but rather, How can I stay mentally stronger than my competition?

Similar to the spandex and sports bras that female track sprinters wear, the tightness of a swimsuit can mean the difference between first and sixth place, as it reduces drag (the force of air or water, which causes you to move slower). Enforcing a swimsuit code that penalizes fuller-figured teens would require them to purchase larger swimsuits, which could hurt their race times. It can also intensify any body-related insecurities a young athlete has. By sexualizing the teen’s body, Willis was body shamed, and her achievement was erased. While the disqualification was eventually reversed, the harm was done.

Sexualizing female athletes is nothing new. The barrier-breaking tennis champion, Billie Jean King, tweeted in response to the incident: “The constant policing of women’s bodies is offensive, sexist and wrong.” It’s not OK to tell girls and teens that their bodies are “disqualifying,” whether in a swimsuit, leotard, school uniform or anything else they wear.

Judging swimmers based on physical features, including complexion, instead of their ability can promote a culture of body shaming and sexism, with potentially racist undertones. Breckynn Willis’s story offers us a chance to pause and reconsider the framework in which we look at women’s sports and how some young athletes are being held to different standards.



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Bayer using AI to improve disease diagnosis, drug design


Drugmakers have embraced artificial intelligence — using computers to analyze reams of data and then make predictions or recommendations.

Germany’s Bayer has been testing how the technology can help diagnose complex or rare conditions, hasten drug development and more.

The aspirin-creator has partnered with startups and other tech companies to develop software and apps to speed diagnosis and guide treatment. The company is working with hospitals, academic researchers and others to compile everything the AI software needs to “learn” before it analyzes a patient’s condition. That includes information on disease causes, symptoms and progression, plus many past patients’ test results, doctor reports and scanned images.

The Associated Press recently interviewed Angeli Moeller, who heads artificial intelligence projects across Bayer’s pharmaceutical business. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: Why use partners for developing AI software and apps?

A: These areas are so new and so exploratory that you just wouldn’t get there on time alone. We partner with companies that have that expertise and can accelerate development. We believe we will save a couple years.

Q: How is Bayer using AI?

A: We’re looking at cardiovascular disease, oncology and women’s health. Our focus is on diagnosis but also on digital therapeutics, where you’re using the technology to recommend a patient make a change in behavior to improve their health, or you’re recommending medication changes.

Q: How would Bayer and other drugmakers working on AI software get hospitals or insurers to pay for using it?

A: We would show that the software does what it says. It becomes cost effective and attractive for them when we can prove the improved outcomes with our app.

Q: How are you using AI to improve design and patient testing of experimental drugs?

A: When developing a new drug, we can model how it will behave in a cell in combination with other drugs the patients might be taking. We’re looking at how we can identify the right patients and sites to run our clinical trials. We would be able to run shorter studies and show where the medication is the right one for those patients earlier.

Q: How might this eventually affect doctors and patients?

A: Everything we’re doing in our artificial intelligence program is for decision support, because we want the doctor to make the decision on treatment. In the doctor’s office, you would have a computer dashboard showing recommendations, but the really high-powered computing would happen somewhere else. What’s most important for patients is that they’re still in control of their treatment.

Q: How long will it be before this is helping average patients?

A: It’s probably going to take two years before it really hits mainstream medical practice. Getting the technology to the patient is still the hard part.



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After rural hospital's closure, county seeks other options


About two years ago, a rural, mountainous Virginia county lost its only hospital, and local officials have now all but given up trying to bring it back.

Community leaders in Patrick County said in recent interviews that reopening the hospital has proven financially unworkable, in large part because of the deteriorating building’s $5 million price tag.

Patrick County isn’t alone in its struggle. Rural hospitals across the country are closing, advocates say many more are at risk, and it’s rare for one to reopen after a shutdown.

“There’s a lot of despair, to be frank with you, about the fact that the hospital closed. There’s a lot of despair about health care in general,” said Michael Farley, executive director of a coalition that provides health care to mainly low-income patients in an area that includes Patrick County.

Local officials said they have moved on to looking for other ways to improve health care services in the rural, aging county where state figures show the population is expected to continue declining.

“At this point in time there is no active discussion around reopening the hospital. … That’s not to say it could never reopen. But the sun, the stars and the moon would have to align pretty closely to get it reopened,” said Bill Clark, vice chair of the Patrick County Economic Development Authority.

While rural hospitals across America are stressed, the closure of this particular 25-bed hospital in September 2017 caught community members off guard. The hospital’s owner, Mississippi-based Pioneer Health Services, had filed for bankruptcy a year earlier but had been negotiating with another buyer who planned to take over the facility.

That deal fell apart at the last minute.

Over 100 people lost their jobs when the hospital in Stuart closed. In addition to that direct hit, the shutdown has also made it difficult to lure new residents or new businesses to the area, said Bryce Simmons, the county’s economic development director.

It has also meant longer trips for rescue squads, which sometimes must take patients across the state line to North Carolina. Calls to 911 sometimes get response times of up to an hour, Simmons said.

Lawmakers passed bipartisan emergency legislation aimed at paving the way for the hospital to reopen by extending an important license. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist who campaigned as a pragmatic problem solver, wrangled some members of his own party to revive the bill — the first he would sign — after it became part of a bitter partisan dispute over Medicaid expansion.

Multiple factors including complex licensing issues have hampered efforts to reopen the facility, but the biggest issue, officials involved in the efforts say, was the expected cost.

The building is now owned by the nonprofit Virginia Community Capital, which has it listed for sale with an asking price of $5 million.

Many in the community think that price is too high for a 1960s-era building, the contents of which were recently sold at auction. The hospital has also deteriorated since it closed and deferred maintenance problems there now “run the gamut,” Clark said.

But Edward Chin, senior credit officer at Virginia Community Capital, said the nonprofit has an appraisal that supports the asking price.

“I think at this point we just want to find someone who’s interested. It’s been sitting on our books for a long time,” said Chin.

The Pioneer hospital was the second rural hospital in Virginia to close since 2013, according to the N.C. Rural Health Research Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where researchers have been closely tracking closures. The first Virginia closure, a hospital in Pennington Gap, left Lee County, Virginia’s westernmost, without a hospital .

Nationwide, 155 rural hospitals have closed since January 2005, according to the research program’s latest figures. Experts say a variety of factors are driving the closures, including the fact that the hospitals are generally located in areas with declining populations of people more likely than their urban counterparts to be older, more sick, uninsured and living in poverty.

Nancy Bell, the Virginia Department of Health’s population health manager for the district that includes Patrick County, leads a team of community leaders studying the hospital issue and health care access more broadly.

“We’re not pursuing any solutions that involve rebuilding or reopening the hospital,” Bell said.

Instead, the group recently secured a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to hire an expert who can advise the county about other solutions.

Some of the ideas under consideration include adding medical personnel at fire and rescue stations or expanding the use of telemedicine, she said.

Since the hospital closed, a local doctor who ran the only family medical practice in the county has opened a new urgent care center, helping fill the service gap. And the county has started a paid EMS service to supplement the volunteer squads previously in place.

Republican State Sen. Bill Stanley sponsored the bill that aimed to help keep the hospital open. He said that while so far “the mountain has been too high,” he hasn’t totally given up hope.

“Nothing’s over till it’s over,” he said. “For me, it’s not over because the need is great.”



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New York moves to enact statewide flavored e-cig ban


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping, especially among young people.

The Democrat announced Sunday that the state health commissioner would be making a recommendation this week to the state Public Health and Health Planning Council. The council can issue emergency regulations that would go into effect as soon as they are voted on and start being enforced in as soon as two weeks, following a short grace period for retailers, officials said.

In announcing the action, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors that are for sale, like bubble gum and cotton candy.

“These are obviously targeted to young people and highly effective at targeting young people,” he said.

Officials pointed to a significant increase of e-cigarettes by young people, which they said was driven by the flavors.

According to data from the state health department, nearly 40% of high school seniors and 27% of high school students overall in the state use e-cigarettes. High school use went from 10.5% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.

Nationwide, the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed traditional cigarette usage continuing to fall for students in 6th to 12th grade but vaping continuing to surge higher.

The biggest player in the industry, Juul Labs Inc., said it was reviewing the announcement, but agreed with the need for action.

The ban would not impact tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, but Cuomo said the Department of Health would continue evaluating and that could change.

Not including menthol brought criticism for Cuomo from some quarters.

Cuomo “had the opportunity to take decisive action, but instead left menthol e-cigarettes on the marketplace,” said Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, in an email statement. “While today’s announcement was well-intentioned, it will drive our youth to use menthol flavored products in even greater numbers.”

Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year raising the statewide smoking age to 21, and earlier this month signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to also include vaping.

Vaping is also under a federal spotlight , as health authorities look into hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

In his first public comments on vaping, President Donald Trump proposed a similar federal ban last week.

The FDA has been able to ban vaping flavors since 2016, but hasn’t taken the step, with officials looking into whether flavors could help cigarette smokers to quit.

The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion. The industry has spent a lot of money in states around the country to lobby against state-level flavored e-cigarette bans, in states including Hawaii, California, Maine and Connecticut.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month ordered that state’s health department to come out with emergency rules to prohibit flavored e-cigarette sales.

Juul reiterated Sunday the agreeable stance it had taken following Trump’s proposal.

In an emailed statement, spokesman Austin Finan said, “We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products,” and “will fully comply with local laws and the final FDA policy when effective.”



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Women facing restrictions seek abortions out of state


Thousands of women in the U.S. have crossed state lines for an abortion in recent years as states have passed ever stricter laws and the number of clinics has declined.

Although abortion opponents say the laws are intended to reduce abortions and not send people to other states, at least 276,000 women terminated their pregnancies outside their home state between 2012 and 2017, according to an Associated Press analysis of data collected from state reports and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New Mexico, the number of women from out of state who had abortions more than doubled in that period, while Missouri women received nearly half the abortions performed in neighboring Kansas.

While abortions across the U.S. are down, the share of women who had abortions out of state rose slightly, by half a percentage point, and certain states had notable increases over the six-year period, according to AP’s analysis.

In pockets of the Midwest, South and Mountain West, the number of women terminating a pregnancy in another state rose considerably, particularly where a lack of clinics means the closest provider is in another state or where less restrictive policies in a neighboring state make it easier and quicker to terminate a pregnancy there.

“In many places, the right to abortion exists on paper, but the ability to access it is almost impossible,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Women’s Health, which operates seven abortion clinics in Maryland, Indiana, Texas, Virginia and Minnesota. “We see people’s access to care depend on their ZIP code.”

Thirteen states saw a rise in the number of out-of-state women having abortions between 2012 and 2017, according to the analysis of data from 41 states. Counts from nine states, including highly populated California and Florida, and the District Columbia were not included either because they were not collected or reported across the full six-year period.

New Mexico’s share of abortions performed on women from out of state more than doubled from 11% to roughly 25%. One likely reason is that a clinic in Albuquerque is one of only a few independent facilities in the country that performs abortions close to the third trimester without conditions.

In Illinois, the percentage of abortions performed on non-residents more than doubled to 16.5% of all reported abortions in 2017. That is being driven in large part by women from Missouri, one of six states with only a single abortion provider.

Even that provider, in St. Louis, has been under threat of closing after the state health department refused to renew its license. Missouri lawmakers also passed a law this year that would ban almost all abortions past eight weeks of a pregnancy, although it faces a legal challenge.

It was one of 58 abortion restrictions passed by lawmakers this year primarily in the Midwest, Plains and South — almost half of which would ban all, most or some abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.

Abortion opponents say the intent of laws limiting the procedure is not to push women to another state but to build more time for them to consider their options and reduce the overall number of abortions.

“I have been insistent in telling my pro-life colleagues that’s all well and good if the last abortion clinic shuts down, but it’s no victory if women end up driving 10 minutes across the river to Granite City, Illinois, or to Fairview Heights,” said Sam Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri and a longtime anti-abortion lobbyist.

Before the recent wave of legislation focused on limiting when an abortion can be performed, opponents largely worked to regulate clinics. Critics say these regulations contributed to more clinics closing in recent years, reducing access to abortion in parts of the country and pushing women farther for care.

Nationwide, 168 independent abortion clinics have closed since 2012, and just a handful opened over that time, according to the Abortion Care Network, a clinic advocacy group. But not all closures are tied to restrictive laws. Some result from provider retirements and an overall decline in unplanned pregnancies.

Advocates say that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the latest restrictive laws, it will become more common for women to seek an abortion in another state.

“The intent of these lawmakers is to completely outlaw abortion and force people not to have abortions. But in reality, it pushes people farther and wider to access the care they want and need,” said Quita Tinsley, deputy director of Access Reproductive Care Southeast, a group that supports women seeking abortions in six states.

A third of women calling the group’s hotline for assistance end up traveling out of state for abortions, Tinsley said.

Georgia’s share of abortions involving out-of-state women rose from 11.5% to 15%, while North Carolina saw its share increase from 16.6% to 18.5%. North Carolina had one of the highest shares of out-of-state abortions in 2017. While both states have passed restrictive laws, experts and advocates say they are slightly more accessible than some of their surrounding states.

Hevan Lunsford, a nurse in Alabama, was five months pregnant when a doctor told her that her fetus was severely underdeveloped and had only half of a heart. She was told the boy, whom she and her husband decided to name Sebastian, would need care to ease his pain and several surgeries. He may not live long, they were told.

Lunsford, devastated, asked about ending the pregnancy. But the doctor said Alabama law prohibits abortions after five months. He handed Lunsford a piece of paper with information for a clinic in Atlanta, a roughly 180-mile (290-kilometer) drive east.

“The procedure itself was probably the least traumatic part of it,” Lunsford said. “Most of the laws I navigated, there was no reason for them. None of them prevented my abortion. It just made it where I had to travel out of state.”

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Associated Press Data Editor Meghan Hoyer contributed to this report. Also contributing were AP writers John D. Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, and Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Follow Christina Almeida Cassidy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AP—Christina



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Back to School: Checking the Boxes



By Parth Thakkar, 16, Staff Writer


September 5, 2019

Could summer have gone by any quicker?

Yep, it’s time to go back to school, and we all know what that means: shopping for books and clothes, signing up for courses and making sure that all of the boxes are checked before that first bell rings on the first day. We all want to make sure that everything is in order; we know how exciting (and nerve-racking) back-to-school time can be.

But as you head back to school just remember that when it comes to relationships, coming out and exploring sexual orientation or gender identity (whatever it may be), nothing has to be “in order” and no boxes have to be checked. Heading back to school is a wonderful opportunity to check in with yourself (see what I did there?).

Is this the year when you start a new relationship? Have your first kiss? Are you ready to think more about how you identify in terms of sexual orientation or whether it’s the right time to come out? Going back to school can be a perfect time to explore these possibilities. What’s even better is that you’re not alone when it comes to this exploration. There are classmates, teachers, counselors and even clubs that can support you. It’s important to find people you feel like you can trust.

And again, remember: nothing has to be certain. While parents and teachers may be advising you to identify the colleges you’re applying to or the courses you’re taking, nothing has to be a clear-cut decision when it comes to how you identify or what you’re ready and not ready for. So try not to be flustered if you see people around you who seem to have their lives in order. You’re just fine. You can take your time, and use the beginning of the school year to think about yourself and what makes you tick!

Reading sexual health stories on Sexetc.org. from teens just like you might help you figure out what’s right for you.



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Mumps sickens hundreds of detained migrants in 19 states


Mumps has swept through 57 immigration detention facilities in 19 states since September, according to the first U.S. government report on the outbreaks in the overloaded immigration system.

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The virus sickened 898 adult migrants and 33 detention center staffers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report Thursday.

New cases continue as migrants are taken into custody or transferred between facilities, the report said. As of last week, outbreaks were happening in 15 facilities in seven states.

In response to the report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said medical professionals at detention facilities screen all new detainees within 24 hours of their arrival to ensure that highly contagious diseases are not spread.

Cox said some detainees come from countries where communicable diseases are less controlled than in the U.S. and carry with them the risk of spreading infection.

The CDC report said more than 80% of patients were exposed while in custody. Mumps is a contagious virus that causes swollen glands, puffy cheeks, fever, headaches and, in severe cases, hearing loss and meningitis.

In the U.S., vaccines have drastically reduced the number of mumps cases. Only a few hundred cases are reported most years, with periodic outbreaks involving colleges or other places where people are in close contact.

In the migrant center outbreaks, at least 13 people were hospitalized, the CDC reported.

A large portion of the cases have been in Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services raised the alarm in December, followed by six other state health departments in early January, prompting what the CDC report calls “a coordinated national outbreak response.”

ICE has given more than 25,000 doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in the affected facilities.

The CDC did not identify detention facilities, but said 34 of them are operated by private companies. The report said migrants were being held in 315 facilities in mid-August.

Nashville immigration attorney R. Andrew Free has been tracking facilities with mumps outbreaks from reports of advocates and lawyers representing detainees.

“This has all the makings of a public health crisis,” Free said. “ICE has demonstrated itself incapable of ensuring the health and safety of people inside these facilities.”

An influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year has taxed the immigration system. The CDC report dealt only with mumps, not other health problems in detention facilities. At least two migrant children have died of complications of the flu after being detained by U.S. Border Patrol.

The CDC report said detention facilities should follow guidance from state and local health departments when responding to mumps.

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Follow AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson on Twitter: @CarlaKJohnson

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.



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Illinois patient's death may be first in US tied to vaping


Health officials said Friday that an Illinois patient who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping has died and that they consider it the first death in the United States linked to the smoking alternative that has become popular with teens and young adults.

The Illinois Department of Public Health the adult patient was hospitalized after falling ill following vaping, though it didn’t give other information about the person, including the patient’s name, age, hometown or date of death.

The state received the report of the death Thursday, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, the Illinois agency’s chief medical officer.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 193 people in 22 states have contracted severe respiratory illnesses after vaping. However, they said a clear-cut common cause of the illnesses hasn’t been identified and that they are being called “potential cases” that are still under investigation.

All of the sickened have been teens or adults who had used an electronic cigarette or some other kind of vaping device. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. So far, infectious diseases have been ruled out.

The illnesses have been reported since late June, but the total count has risen quickly in the past week. That may be partly because cases that weren’t initially being linked to vaping have begun to be grouped that way.

Among the newest reports are two in Connecticut, four in Iowa and six in Ohio. Health officials are asking doctors and hospitals to tell state health officials about any possible vaping-related lung disease cases they encounter.

In its news release, the Illinois agency said the number of people who contracted a respiratory illness after vaping had doubled in the past week, to 22.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the release.

Electronic cigarettes have been described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but health officials have been worried about kids using them. Most of the concern has focused on nicotine, which health officials say is harmful to developing brains and might make kids more likely to take up cigarettes.

But some vaping products have been found to contain other potentially harmful substances, including flavoring chemicals and oils used for vaping marijuana, experts say.

A number of the people who got sick had vaped products containing THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. CDC officials said they do not have a breakdown of how many of the sick people vaped THC.

The American Vaping Association, an advocacy group, issued a statement arguing that “tainted, black market THC products” are to blame. The group called on federal officials to clear nicotine vaping products of suspicion.

Matthew Myers, the head of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the illnesses underscore why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be looking into e-cigarettes and their impact on health before they can be sold to the public.

Health officials said they need to gather more information.

“Investigators haven’t identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all of the cases,” Ileana Arias, a CDC official who oversees non-infectious disease, said during a Friday call with reporters. She also said the sickened might be dealing with different illnesses that have similar symptoms.

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AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe reported from New York.



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