Category Archives: Post prompts

Kiwis and Eagles and Prescription Medication

The United States and New Zealand are unique in a very particular way: you’ll be able to see advertisements on television for different prescription drugs – you know, to mention to your doctor in case you suffer from any of the symptoms that the advertisement seems to mention.

They’re iconic for their awkwardness – whether it be the timing (watching an erectile dysfunction ad with family can be a tad offputting), or the endless barrage of symptoms (the joke that the drug will kill you before the actual disease does), the rule is unique to the US and New Zealand, two countries that share a language and an affinity for a bird (the bald eagle, and the kiwi, respectively), but are on completely different sides of the world.

While those will argue that it can offer some increased awareness of certain conditions, or treatments for conditions, and can give autonomy for patients, I think that this particular issue shouldn’t be something just given out.

Aside from the practical standpoint of it raising medical costs through a bloated advertising budget – I’m a public relations major, and I have come to fully understand that a television commercial campaign can become expensive. Other mediums tend to be less expensive for advertising, but in general, ads are expensive.

It also encourages people to ask for name brand, which, if a generic is available, should really be what is prescribed unless the taker has an allergy to binding ingredients in the generic, or something along those lines. If people specifically are able to get that same coverage for a name brand as a generic, when there is an alternative, it can bring up healthcare costs for all others and effectively raise premiums. Which, would be fine, if it was necessary: but when people are told that “Xyterna” (this is a fake name for a drug that I made up, if this is really the name of a prescription drug then I guess that’s the career path I should look into) is the way to go, many who may not be educated may demand to doctors thats what they want.

Not to mention: doctors should be making healthcare recommendations for patients, not the other way around. If that was the case, then I’m sure there’d be hundreds of people who were real proud of their ‘ice cream diet’ and how much it’s helping them lose weight.

I feel as though the protections that are in place in certain places are definitely a benefit: while I understand not everyone has the same worldview as me (that intervention through agencies and the ‘red tape’ of process and time, is, typically, the only way to make sure that things are not done for the gain of corporate interests), I do think, generally, it’s in peoples best interest to make sure that the things that they’re consuming are safe for them, and in the case of advertising on behalf of a pharmaceutical, it can be potentially dangerous. It’s a gross thing to me, advertisement for healthcare, though again: that’s one that’s up in the air, depending on your worldview.

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CP&R

The article that stood out to me the most was about automobile safety recall. When you buy a car, you expect it to be in top conditions, the last thing you want is to receive a letter in the mail saying your mode of transportation has a safety recall.

I think that as a consumer of Toyota products, I’m fairly protected since Toyota has a longstanding reputation of putting quality products on the market for a long period of time.

I know that they are pretty heavily regulated and have a rigorous process they have to go through in order to continue with production for mass consumption. I don’t know what the quality assurance/testing process is or how the reporting process works as far as defective parts.

I would think that the NHTSA is relevant to learn more about because they are responsible for issuing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to Congress in order implement laws that support safety.

It is important to understand that although safety regulations are issued, they are typically the bare minimum necessary in order to move forward with production. That being said, there is always more control in what you can do in being proactive with the more knowledge you obtain so that you can make adjustments in your everyday life.

CP&R Prompt 1

Like many of the other people in this class, I chose to discuss chemicals and hazardous materials in cosmetic products. I am not the most astute or knowledgeable in this area, but I do use quite a lot of makeup. There are a few laws and agencies that protect consumers that buy makeup including the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the FDCA (Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act). The BCP protects customers from unfair and fraudulent business practices while the FDCA gives businesses regulations and standards about the safety of the products.

What other consumers should know includes what is in the makeup we choose to buy and use as well as how to be a smart consumer. Doing research can really help protect individuals as consumers and can make a consumer more inclined to make smart decisions about what they choose to buy. This does not just apply to makeup and other cosmetics but any type of product in general. I also believe it is important to know that not all companies abide by the standards or they do the bare minimum to make their products desirable. Overall, I believe that we as consumers must pay more attention to the laws that are their to protect us as well as the lack of regulations.

 

CP& R Prompt One

This week I read about school lunches, the Toyota recall, and the plane crash. Of these three, each of them gave me a feeling of uncertainty and almost as if, as the consumer we really aren’t told very much. Especially in the plane crash. I had no idea about the rules and regulations of airplane flying, or the fact that there isn’t a camera in the cockpit. Toyota seemed like they were giving as much info as they could, but in retrospect, being the consumer you know that there were things they were leaving out to protect the company. As any company would. School lunches, well I mean, I’ve been out of public school for about 5 years now, and we all know that just because they want to do these things doesn’t mean they are. So overall, as a consumer, I do not feel protected. I feel as if companies and law makers don’t feel like they have to tell the whole story and giving half of the story will satisfy people and their worries. But, that thought it actually really scary because it’s true. We aren’t told much and when we want to know more it’s a matter of, “at this time this is all we know” and that was seen in the Toyota recall article and the plane crash article. I feel as if things are strategically put to keep the citizens at ease and to keep the fear to a minimum.

In order for there to be protection provided to the consumers I think the truth needs to be let out. The whole truth. These stories about “stay tuned” and never any follow up is a bit concerning. Or if there is a follow up it’s months later. To who can we get that from? Making new laws and making it so that when these articles are released or when companies are making press statements they are required to tell the full story. Especially when it comes to the safety of their consumers. This idea of wanting to keep the fear to a minimum is completely understood, but to me, it’s creating more fear than ease because people are then left wondering about their safety and protection as consumers and don’t really know what to do or where to go with the information that was given to them.

CP & R: Prompt 1

I chose to read the article about how the hazardous chemicals in cosmetics are harming us. I personally use a lot of different types of cosmetics; ranging from makeup, hair products, skin products, lotions, nail polish- the list just goes on and on. Most of the time I do not even think twice about what is in the product I am buying or really if it is even harmful to me. So reading the article about how Wal-Mart is phasing out the top 10 hazardous chemicals, makes me really question what I buy because what if one of my makeup products is one of those? I do not typically get my products from Wal-Mart but finding out that one of those 10 was one of mine, would be baffling to find out. In the article that I read they stated that “The U.S. Toxic Control Substance Act hasn’t had a major update since its passage in 1976, and many chemicals used in consumer products aren’t federally tested or required to submit safety data.” (Par. 9) Reading that made me feel so unsure about all the products I use. I mean they are basically saying that they haven’t tested or made sure that products were safe to use since 1976. After concluding with all of this, it just makes me feel like I really should look and read more about the products I am buying before I just buy it. You never know if they are actually safe or not.

Works Cited:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/12/walmart-disclose-phase-out-toxic-chemicals-products-cosmetics/2805567/

CP & R Prompt 1

An issue area of concern to me is the hazardous chemicals in cosmetics. This interested me because I own many different types of makeup, perfumes, and skincare products but I don’t really think about the different ingredients they have and if it could be harmful to my body. I think in this area, I am somewhat protected because all products do list every single ingredient/chemical there is in a product. Although most of the time, we don’t even know what over half these ingredients are and if they are harmful to our bodies. It is helpful that some stores like Walmart are banning 10 hazardous chemicals in products in their stores so that less people are affected by it. The US FDA website has a number of articles that show the different chemicals that are in many different products such as hair and nail products, tanning lotions, and makeup. It is definitely important to be aware of the harmful ingredients a product could have so that we can avoid continuously buying that product.

https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/default.htm

CP & R: Prompt 1

After reading and studying 3 resources that are either trying to help public health or help public safety, I decided to write about frozen foods and how they effect us as the consumers. As a college student on a budget I can’t always have the luxury of buy fresh produce like meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Obviously there is a lot more to fresh produce than what I have named but thats mainly what I would buy as fresh produce. If you’re like me, wanting to eat either on the go to class or quick meals because you have homework to do and practicals to study for, frozen foods are an easy option. But are they the right option? Let’s find out.

According to a four minute read on curejoy.com, frozen fruits and vegetables are ok because they are picked and froze while they are still ripe and so all of the nutrients is still locked inside the fruit or vegetable. Since all the the nutrients is still able to be salvaged, frozen fruits and vegetables are a good alternative especially when your favorite fruit or vegetable is out of season. Frozen foods and meals (such as tv dinners and frozen meats) on the other hand are not a great substitute. Not only are they pack with sodium but they are also at higher risk for food pathogens that can be extremely deadly. Not all frozen foods are spoiled with pathogens but if they are and you do not take the time and care to reheat properly or even have the right watt microwave, you could be effected by the invisible pathogens with out even knowing it.

My advice to you, do your research. If you are like me and after reading the article (I have provided it for you at the bottom) you still are convinced that you don’t have the time to cook a homemade meal every night, read up on your favorite frozen foods and find out what you should and shouldn’t be consuming. While you are at it, you might find a few new ones you would like to try too.

https://www.curejoy.com/content/are-frozen-foods-bad-for-you/

 

CP & R Promt 1: What’s in the package?

Food labels are supposed to tell you what is in a product, but instead labels always seem to mention what it does not contain. This seems counterintuitive, as the main goal of a label is to tell you what is inside.

The FDA has a list of approved natural (things like wood chips count as a natural ingredient) and artificial chemicals. Frequently these are undertested, based on outdated research and/or have been exposed as harmful. For example:

Artificial Sweeteners: are tied to weight gain; the opposite of what they are marked for. Aspartame is particularly controversial. Though there are mixed opinions on its safety, some evidence suggests that aspartame is a neurotoxin and leads to negative neurobehavior effects (Lindseth, 2014). It is also the most common artificial sweetener.

Trans Fats: the evidence that trans-fat caused to increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Higher levels of these contribute to heart disease and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Also linked to cancer, diabetes, immune dysfunction and reproductive problems.

Those are approved substances by the FDA. The regulation is worse when looking at food additives, which do not even need to be labeled. GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) essentially lets food companies set their own standards for “safe” without outside regulation or influence. There has been a recent trend demanding for more transparency in the food industry. People have slowly started to pay more attention to certain ingredients (which is great!) This has caused the food industry to be more creative with “clean labeling” practices. This basically means removing known bad additives and replacing them with substitutes which sound better. For example, antioxidants (E300-21) such as butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) which are used to improve shelf life have been relabeled by some brands as “rosemary extract” (Blythman, 2015)

The FDA needs to conduct its own testing on these chemicals and additives; it should do this for everything it regulates. Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 77% of respondents believed that GRAS were evaluated by the FDA and thought to be safe. 66% believed that the FDA monitors GRAS safety and use (Butler & Kelber, 2016). Neither is the case. I can’t get past the fact that additives are not required to be labeled, let alone untested by the FDA.  I can’t believe ingredients which are known to cause disease are still allowed in our food. I believe everything added to a food item, should be required to be labeled. A consumer cannot make an informed choice with only part of the information available.

 

Works Cited

Blythman, J. (2015). Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat. Retrieved from m https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/21/a-feast-of-engineering-whats-really-in-your-food

Lindseth, G., N. Coolahan, S., E. Petros, T., V. Lindseth, P., D. (2014). Neurobehavior effects of aspartame consumption. Research in Nursing & Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24700203

Butler, D., Kelber, K. (2016). Consumers Union: New FDA Rule on GRAS Unacceptable, Fails Consumers. Retrieved from http://consumersunion.org/news/consumers-union-new-fda-rule-on-gras-unacceptable-fails-consumers/

CP & R Prompt 1 (Cosmetics)

I chose to focus on hazardous chemicals in cosmetics. The article about Walmart making the decision to phase out hazardous chemicals is great because many customers, including my myself do not know about the dangerous chemicals that I put on my face.

Honestly, I do not believe that I am well protected as a consumer in this area because there are a lot of harmful chemicals that I put on my face and not aware of it so that makes me feel unprotected in this area of cosmetics.  What I do know is that most things that you put on your face, cosmetics, is not very safe. All the chemicals in it may cause problems on your skin. What I do not know is how badly all these harmful chemicals can affect my skin.

A law that would probably be most relevant to learn something about is the Bureau of Consumer Protection because this can protect consumers from, “unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices…” (Federal Trade Commission: Protecting America’s Consumers). Another law that is good to know is FDCA. It stands for Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act and this looks at the safety of the products. This make sure that harmful chemicals in a product are reduced. What’s most important to share with other consumers about this issue area is that if you aren’t sure whether something is safe then don’t use it. Or if you have no idea about what’s in the products that you’re using then it is a good idea not to use it. What’s most important to share with the consumer protection is that everything harmful should be eliminated and that people’s safety should be very important and should be put first.

C P & R: Prompt One

As a consumer of sodium, it is hard to say whether I feel protected or not. I will admit that, as a college student, I find myself eating fast food more than I’d like to admit. On Friday nights when it has been a long week and I can’t quite seem to find the energy to cook, it’s always easiest to grab a bite to eat somewhere outside of my home. Even though I am a nutrition major and care deeply about remaining healthy, I do have my slip ups. This is what causes me to be so unsure of how protected I am when it comes to being a consumer of sodium. I feel as if when I eat my own food at home my sodium intake is extremely low and when the weekend hits and I eat out most the days, my sodium intake must be at an all-time high. These two put me in the extremes of low sodium and very high sodium, which is what makes me wonder about my protection, is that healthy?

There is a large chunk of information that I do know about sodium and the impact large quantities of it have on your health however, there is also a lot for me to learn. I know that salt can increase your blood pressure which causes the heart to have to work harder. An unhealthy heart can lead to a multitude of negative health problems. I am also aware that adults should not consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily. For me, what I need to understand and learn about, is how to track my daily intake in milligrams so I can keep from going over 2,300 during the weekends.

Another way to help those keep track of how much sodium they consume would to remain comfortable and up to date on the laws regarding food labels. There is a specific spot on nutrition fact labels that show exactly how much sodium is in certain food items base on serving size. There is also a small place located beneath the nutrition facts that remind you how much should be consumed daily: 2,300 mg. With that being said, I think it is very important to be your own protector when it comes to sodium and excess consumption. In our world today, it is very easily hidden in so many different foods we eat. To remain healthy and protected as a consumer, education should be the number one priority.

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