A new study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases shows that fidelity is no protection when it comes to the virus that causes cervical cancer. As Merck & Co. was releasing its human papilloma virus vaccine in 2006, some warned against giving it to adolescent girls, saying it sent a message of tolerance of immoral sex. Although some conservative religious groups like the Family Research Council have moderated their positions since then, their guidance on the vaccine still stresses that “abstaining from sexual activity is the surest way to prevent infection.” And they are right. Abstain from genital contact with anyone for your whole life, and you have virtually no chance of contracting HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
But having one partner, it turns out, is not nearly as good protection as some on the Christian right would like to believe. The authors of the Journal of Infectious Diseases study found that virgins entering a sexual relationship had a 28.5 percent chance of contracting a human papilloma virus infection after a year of monogamous sexual contact. Three years into the relationship, the risk was increased to 50 percent. The rates are lower, of course, when both partners are virgins entering the relationship, and remain faithful. The data indicates how often this occurs in the real world.
About one quarter of all HPV infections are caused by two cancer-causing strains, HPV 16 and 18. The Merck vaccine, Gardasil, guards against these and two other strains that cause genital warts. Cervical cancer each year kills about 3,500 American women and hundreds of thousands in poor countries where there are no regular gynecological examinations.
Merck in 2006 touted Gardasil aggressively, pushing states to quickly mandate the vaccine for 6th graders. This misguided policy led to a backlash, in which arguments about the immorality of vaccination were mixed in with more logical concerns about vaccinating millions of kids with a relatively untried vaccine. The vaccine has been on the market a while, now, though, and there are so far no indications that it’s unsafe. Except, apparently, to some world views.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA biologist says fracking may be partly to blame for West Virginia fish kill
New documents obtained by an environmental news service show that an EPA analyst believes that wastewater from fracking may be partly responsible for a fish kill in a West Virginia river. Scientific American reports : U.S
EPA Chief Overruled Calif. Waiver, Too
The Washington Post reported in March that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was overruled by the White House in setting an ozone standard. Now, documents