Is Philadelphia’s Air Cleaner?

Environmental advocates say the air sensors pick up only some refinery emissions, and much depends upon the direction that the wind is blowing. The city’s Public Health Department is reluctant to draw conclusions based on short-term data, and says it keeps watch on emissions over the entire region.

“It’s difficult to say if it’s better or not because that term is so variable, and right now we’re tracking that type of thing over an entire year,” said James Garrow, spokesperson for the city’s Air Management Services, which regulates air emissions.

https://www.inquirer.com/business/energy/philadelphia-air-quality-pollution-refinery-pes-curious-philly-20191226.html

By Andrew Maykuth

Hepatitis Data Exposure

The reporter found the records on a public data tool built by the health department in October, shortly after the hepatitis records were posted. Minutes after being notified by The Inquirer of the exposed records, the department deleted them. As such, “there was no risk to confidentiality,” said Jim Garrow, health department spokesperson.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/health-hepatitis-opioid-data-breach-20191220.html

By Nat Lash

2019 Health of the City report

Release

PHILADELPHIA–The Health Department’s latest Health of the City report shows declines in smoking and sweetened beverage consumption, both of which are behaviors that can lead to heart disease, Philadelphia’s leading cause of death. However, chronic diseases, the opioid epidemic, and a rising rate of gun violence continue to negatively impact the overall health of the city.

https://www.phila.gov/2019-12-19-city-report-shows-mixed-bag-in-philadelphia-health-indicators/

Inquirer

The city’s Department of Public Health produces the annual report to help officials, health-care providers, and residents better understand factors influencing health. Data come from a variety of sources, including Pennsylvania’s telephone-based population survey of behavioral risk factors.

https://www.inquirer.com/health/philadelphia-health-report-opioids-guns-cancer-smoking-vaping-20200112.html

By Marie McCullough

Philly Tribune

The difference in health between African Americans and other races is “because of poverty, lower levels of employment, and historical discrimination and lack of opportunity,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Health.

“Closing the racial gap in health will require improving African-Americans’ educations, employment, and income opportunities as well as creating environments that promote healthy behaviors — such as healthy diet, physical activity, and avoidance of tobacco, alcohol and drugs.”

https://www.phillytrib.com/news/health/black-male-female-life-expectancy-lowest-across-the-city/article_9cbc5e9e-b55c-59b4-a1fe-49aefe97a6ec.html

By John Mitchell

Mayor Signs Tobacco Restrictions Bills

Release

PHILADELPHIA–Mayor Kenney, flanked by teenaged activists and members of City Council, signed two new laws and an Executive Order yesterday intended to help protect Philadelphia children from the dangers of addictive cigarillos and e-cigarettes. Following a three-month education period and a three-month warning period, flavored and high-nicotine e-cigarettes will only be allowed to be sold in adults-only stores. After a sixty-day education period, no candy or fruit flavored cigarillos will be allowed to be sold in Philadelphia. And beginning today, all City properties, including parks and recreation centers, are smoke- and vape-free.

https://www.phila.gov/2019-12-19-mayor-signs-laws-restricting-e-cigs-and-banning-flavored-cigarillos/

Patch

“I have been deeply troubled by the unfolding of the youth vaping epidemic and the widespread sale of fruit and candy flavored cigarillos,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “These products threaten to undermine years of hard-fought progress to reduce adult and youth smoking. These laws are a necessary step in protecting our children.”

https://patch.com/pennsylvania/philadelphia/philly-restricts-e-cigarette-sales-bans-flavored-cigarillos

By Max Bennett

CBS3

Mayor Jim Kenney and other Philadelphia officials gathered at City Hall on Wednesday to sign a bill that will crack down on vaping. The new bill will restrict the sale of e-cigarettes in stores where children shop.

https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2019/12/18/mayor-jim-kenney-signs-two-bills-that-put-stricter-rules-on-vaping-products-in-philadelphia/

By Staff

Inquirer

The illnesses have primarily been among young adults who are otherwise healthy, drawing attention to the sharp rise in youth e-cigarette use.

“We are seeing an epidemic of youth vaping in the United States,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

https://www.inquirer.com/health/philadelphia-flavored-vape-ban-20191218.html

By Sarah Gantz

KYW 1060

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Wednesday signed two bills designed to protect teenagers from the lure of nicotine, and a group of young people who lobbied for the measures was there to watch.

Health Commissioner Tom Farley invited students from the Advocacy Institute to get a ringside seat for the bill signing. After all, they’d worked on getting the measures passed in City Council.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/new-bills-limit-flavored-cigarillos-e-cigarettes-sales

By Pat Loeb

Homeless Death Statistics

Release

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “The opioid crisis is both exacerbating the homelessness problem in Philadelphia and increasing the number of homeless people who die of drug overdoses. The health department is working with many other City agencies to reduce the number of people who become addicted and help those who are addicted – homeless or not – begin drug treatment.”

https://www.phila.gov/2019-12-19-opioid-crisis-fueling-increase-in-philadelphia-homeless-deaths/

Inquirer

And most deaths in the city’s homeless population were due to overdoses, Hersh said. That’s a sea change from just a few years ago. Between 2009 and 2015, about 37% of deaths among the homeless population were from overdoses. Between 2016 and 2018, overdoses accounted for 59% of such deaths.

By Aubrey Whelan
KYW1060

The Philadelphia Health Department has compiled some grim statistics about homeless deaths in the city over the last decade.

From 2009 though 2018, the number of deaths among Philadelphia’s homeless population has tripled, largely because of an increase in the number of overdose deaths.

https://kywnewsradio.radio.com/articles/news/deaths-among-homeless-philadelphians-tripled-in-last-decade

By Pat Loeb

Getting Ready for Marijuana

At Wednesday night’s gathering, Philadelphia public health policy adviser Jeffrey Hom pointed to ad campaigns in states where marijuana is legal that echo strategies used decades ago by Big Tobacco, to make the substance look cool to young people. He also cautioned about the packaging of edible marijuana products that looks like candy bars.

https://whyy.org/articles/philadelphia-officials-are-revving-up-for-recreational-marijuana/

By Nina Feldman