HPV and the French Kiss

May 14, 2009

Another study that is getting coverage concerns oral HPV infections, which is estimated to occur in approximately 2.9% of college-aged men.

Can children recover from autism? MSBNC recently reported research by a psychologist Deborah Fein of the University of Connecticut that suggests they can. The study was presented earlier this month at this year’s meeting of the International Society for Autism Research, which took place in Chicago. Although I don’t have many details, you can read the abstract (#101.03) by downloading the abstract book on the INSAR website. This study adds to growing evidence that with intensive therapy, a small number of autistic children can overcome functional obstacles to the point that they don’t meet DSM-IV criteria, and can successfully participate in social/educational settings appropriate for their age. All news that parents should be aware of; however, I earnestly hope that the lay public doesn’t read “recover” as “cure.” The cure to any disorder can only be ascertained when the cause is known, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of autism.

Another study that is getting coverage concerns oral HPV infections, which is estimated to occur in approximately 2.9% of college-aged men. While the study didn’t address adolescents, I’d be willing to bet it’s also a problem in teens. Parents need to know that their children aren’t only exposed to HPV if they engage in sex — they can also get it from kissing, and it significantly raises the risk of oropharyngeal cancer later on.

Got a tweet regarding the FDA recall of water-based face paints made in China by the Shanghai Color Art Stationery Company Ltd. for microbial contamination. Fun Express, Inc., a subsidiary of Oriental Trading Company, is performing the recall.

A couple of months ago, a report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics regarding the unregulated use of formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in baby products made the news. I wasn’t all that surprised to read that the FDA doesn’t require safety testing of these products, but I was taken a bit aback that they didn’t set limits for harmful contaminants (like carcinogens, for example) or require that they be included in labeling. This is an issue because consumers obviously have no way of knowing that the contaminants exist in the products they use.

At what level of exposure are formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane safe? No one really knows. However, research continues to demonstrate that people exposed to formaldehyde as a result of the type of work they do are at increased risk of cancers such as leukemia (especially myeloid leukemia), multiple myeloma, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Obviously, the level of exposure in childcare products would be significantly less than that experienced by adults in industry. However, that doesn’t mitigate the fact that we don’t know what the exposure of the average everyday person is. It’s something to think about when we see irritation in the skin and respiratory passages.