Each day at the Connecticut Poison Control Center (CPCC) brings calls about someone suffering the adverse effects of cannabis poisoning. Most often, those calls involve children, said Dr. Suzanne Doyon, medical director of the CPCC. “We get calls about this daily. Absolutely,” Doyon said. “There was even a day two weeks ago, where we had five children in different hospitals in the state of Connecticut, all with edible marijuana exposures.
The state’s failure to pass a ban on flavored tobacco products may have put it in a better strategic position to prevent and combat teen tobacco use. Legislators could not agree on the ban in June, but a new—albeit small—study by Abigail Friedman, assistant professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health, found that after San Francisco banned flavored tobacco products in 2018, including flavored e-cigarettes, cigarette smoking increased among the city’s high school students. In comparatively similar school districts across the country with no flavor ban, cigarette smoking continued to decline, according to Friedman’s study, published in May in JAMA Pediatrics. “This raises concerns that reducing access to flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems may motivate youths who would otherwise vape to substitute smoking,” Friedman wrote. The results of the Yale study may be a case of correlation rather than causation.
Isolated from friends and the LGBTQ community, University of Connecticut senior Megan Graham at times found herself questioning her queer identity during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I felt a bit more insecure about my identity being away from my friends who are within the community,” Graham said. “I didn’t have the same outlet as I did to be myself without judgment. I questioned myself more and wished I had more people to talk to about it.”
At UConn, Graham is the president of the Queer Collective, an LGBTQ discussion-based support organization that is run through the Rainbow Center, the heart of UConn’s LGBTQ community. Graham said that some of her self-doubts stemmed from losing these LGBTQ affirming spaces as the pandemic shut down campus and moved classes online.
As Connecticut pools and shoreline beaches open up and hot summer days start to set in, you may be reaching for a bottle of SPF to protect against UVA and UVB rays, but before you slather on the lotion, do you really know what’s inside that bottle? According to a new study, a cancer-causing chemical may be lurking in your go-to brand of sunblock. Valisure, a New Haven pharmaceutical testing lab, found concentrations of benzene, designated a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 27% of the nearly 300 sunscreen and after-sun products tested. Those findings have prompted U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to demand more Food and Drug Administration oversight of sunscreens, calling for the FDA to issue an administrative order before September to address the issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, benzene is formed in nature and manufactured by humans.