06/21/15 7:00am
06/21/2015 7:00 AM
Raw milk at Ty Llwyd Farm in Northville costs $6 a half-gallon. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Raw milk at Ty Llwyd Farm in Northville costs $6 a half-gallon. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo, file)

Last week, when my coworker posted a picture to Facebook of a bottle of raw milk she had just purchased from Ty Llwyd Farm in Northville, I was intrigued — and a little unnerved.

After all, Louis Pasteur, who discovered the principles of pasteurization in the 19th century, was revered in my elementary school science classes. It was there that I learned how lucky I was that Pasteur had figured out how to prevent dangerous bacteria from contaminating the chocolate milk I loved so much. Why would anyone choose to seemingly go back in time and drink it raw? And is the practice dangerous? (more…)

06/18/15 3:00pm
06/18/2015 3:00 PM

For those who may be swimming in the Peconic River or eating fish caught in area waters in the wake of a pair of fish kills that have led to the death of thousands of bunker, the Suffolk County Department of Health has issued a Peconic River recreation advisory, reminding residents to “follow some common-sense recommendations.” (more…)

06/14/15 5:59am
06/14/2015 5:59 AM
(Credit: Caroline, Flickr)

(Credit: Caroline, Flickr)

A new bill passed unanimously last week by the Suffolk County Legislature will help keep kids healthy by blocking the sale of toys containing potentially unsafe levels of lead and other chemicals linked to serious health conditions.

The Toxin Free Toys Act aims to protect children from toys that contain “potentially unsafe levels of six hazardous chemicals” and known carcinogens, according to a press release. If the proposal is signed into law by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the county Department of Health will begin notifying retailers in January. Beginning December 2016, inspectors would conduct random checks for unsafe toys at stores using an X-ray fluorescence analyzer, which evaluates the items’ chemical composition.

“As a mother, I am outraged that children’s toys contain these toxic chemicals that can cause cancer, learning and developmental disabilities and respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders,” said county Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), who sponsored the bill.

Similar anti-toxin measures were recently signed into law in Albany and Westchester counties.

Under the proposal, toys sold in Suffolk County would only be allowed to contain strictly regulated amounts of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead and mercury.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to give anything bad or toxic to a child,” said Kathy Halliwell, owner of Goldsmith’s Toys and Electronics in Greenport. “We carry all quality toys here.”

Suffolk County’s initiative was introduced in response to a report issued by the New York League of Conservation Voters and Clean & Healthy New York that found “several products” containing toxic components on Long Island store shelves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead paint was banned by the United States in 1978 but is still widely used by other countries in manufacturing toys. Because lead is odorless and invisible to the naked eye, young children can inadvertently expose themselves to it when they put toys that contain lead in their mouths.

While the use of lead paint is prohibited, the use of lead in plastic toys hasn’t been banned in the U.S. According to the CDC, lead softens plastic and makes it more flexible.

Only a certified laboratory can accurately test a toy for lead, the CDC said, and a blood test is the only way a child’s lead levels can be measured.

For a list of recalled toys, visit cpsc.gov.

Have a health column idea or question for Rachel Young? Email her at ryoung@timesreview.com

06/07/15 5:58am
06/07/2015 5:58 AM
Aside from being delicious, strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. What's not to love? (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Aside from being delicious, strawberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. What’s not to love? (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

“Popeye” character J. Wellington Wimpy famously promised that he’d “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” but I’d rather have a cup of fresh strawberries. And, like Wimpy, I want them right now.

Aside from being delicious, strawberries are fat-free, rich in dietary fiber and packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Combined, these attributes make my favorite fruit “nutritional jewels,” said dietitian Lara McNeil of East End Nutrition in Riverhead.  (more…)

05/24/15 7:00am
05/24/2015 7:00 AM

Growing up, I always knew that osteoarthritis ran in my family. My mother and grandmother struggled with the disease and one of my earliest memories is of my great-grandmother confined to a wheelchair because of her OA. I was too young to do the math and now realize that she was only in her early 60s. To me, arthritis was just an “old person’s disease.”  (more…)

05/17/15 7:00am
05/17/2015 7:00 AM

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Don’t sit too close to the TV or you’ll need glasses. Put down that spicy chili dog or you’ll give yourself an ulcer. These are health claims so pervasive that it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. What should you believe? We asked local medical professionals to weigh in on some of the most popular myths.