Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

Heart Defects and the 2010 Midterms

November 8, 2010

With the recent victory by the Republican Party in the 2010 midterm elections, another, larger issue looms: The Republican Party ran on the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with other forms of health care reform. If they can’t do that (And most likely they can not), they will refuse to fund it. And with Republicans in control of House of Representatives – where all bills that allocate money originate – this is a threat they can make good on.

This is not good news at all for Congenital Heart Defect patients. The Congenital Heart Futures Act which was once a stand alone bill, was “folded” into the Affordable Care Act. So if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, there goes the Congenital Heart Futures Act. And if it is unfunded, the Congenital Heart provisions won’t be funded either. In an ironic twist, the sections dealing with Congenital Heart research and funding never were funded to start with. We wouldn’t have lost anything, because we never had anything to start with. Just words on a piece of paper.

Tell George Washington that the Declaration of Independence is just words on a piece of paper, and let me know how that goes for you.

We can go to Washington, meet with our legislators, and request funding, but there is no guarantee. Every other worthy cause will also be in DC, trying to make sure that they get their money, too. And since we were never funded in the first place, that puts us way down on the list. After all, if we never received any money at all, there must not be much to these heart problems. If it were serious, we’d be throwing cash at it! (They don’t call it an invisible disability for nothing, folks!)

The new legislators won’t take office until January 20, 2011, so we have a little time to prepare. We can’t really prepare a strategy yet, but we can get set in our minds what we are working for.

This isn’t a party issue. It is not Republicans vs. Democrats. People of all political walks have heart defects – an unborn child’s heart begins to develop early, and often the heart is forming before the mother even knows she is pregnant. This doesn’t benefit this side or that side, it benefits people. Because a house divided cannot stand, and a house united cannot fall.

This isn’t for us. This is for our children and their children. This is for the parents who sit in the Intensive Care Unit and fear that their child’s next breath may be the last one. This is for those who have to live with medication, scars, blood draws, and the knowledge that they are different, outsiders, alone.

A lot of people believe that Conservatives and Progressives are so far apart that they can’t even order lunch together. I choose not to believe that. I think we can all work together to bring Congenital Heart Defects under control and eventually condemn them to the dustbin of history.

The Politician who studied CHD

June 27, 2010

Todd Caminish is a Democratic Candidate for the Arizona State Senate.

But in his non-political job, Todd is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. And right now, he’s part of a team that is studying the connection between Arsenic and Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs). The research is being conducted as part of the University of Arizona’s Superfund Research Program.

But why Superfund? Isn’t that the federal program designed for hazardous substance cleanup? The Superfund programs becomes involved because of Arizona’s mining history. Arizona’s been the home to lots of mining operations throughout the years. Many times, dangerous substances were used to separate the valuable ore from the regular rock. The end of the process resulted in ore that was being mined and the mine tailings – in other words, everything else. All that rock was discarded… and most of it was contaminated.

As a result, there are 350,000 acres of mine tailings in Arizona. A lot of mining companies used Arsenic as part of the separation process, and as a result, a lot of the mine tailings contain dangerous levels of Arsenic.  Some of the chemical seeps into the ground water; while some of it dries to a fine powder that is easily carried on the wind and breathed by anything with a lung.And research is showing that among other things, Arsenic can affect the cellular “triggers” that guide heart development.

Is there a connection? What does the statistics say? Each year, the Arizona Department of Health Services files the Arizona Birth Defects Monitoring Program Report. In the 1996  edition of the Report, (Read it by CLICKING HERE) Arizona reported 133 Cardiac Congenital Anomalies per 10,000 Live Births and Fetal Deaths. (See chart on page 9) How does that compare to the United States national average? According to the March of Dimes, the average number of babies born with a heart defect in the United States is 1 per every 125 births, or 8 in 1000. Arizona’s number works out to 13.3 children affected out of every 1000. The March of Dimes website doesn’t list information concerning CHD Fetal Deaths, but moving from 8 per 1000 to 13.3 per 1000 is a huge jump.Thats 1 CHD Birth per 75 total births, almost as high as the state of Wisconsin.

Bottom Line: Arizona has a Heart Defect problem, and it very well could be caused by the Arsenic left over from old mines.