Health Highlights: Feb. 11, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

All-Male Committee Upholds Utah Sales Tax on Feminine Hygiene Products

A all-male committee of lawmakers decided to maintain Utah’s sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products.

On Wednesday evening, the committee voted 8-3 against a bill to make feminine hygiene products, adult incontinence products and children’s diapers tax-free, the Associated Press reported.

The committee said the tax system needs to be predictable, and these types of exemptions could do the opposite.

Critics say taxing feminine hygiene products penalizes women for their biology, and at least five U.S. states have dropped the taxes, the AP reported.


Second Trimester Abortion Method Targeted in Several States

Bills to ban a second trimester abortion procedure are being filed by abortion opponents in Mississippi, West Virginia and several other states.

Similar laws enacted in Kansas and Oklahoma in 2015 were blocked by courts, the Associated Press reported.

Banning the procedure — called dilation and evacuation (D&E) — is unconstitutional because it interferes with private medical decisions, according to the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents abortion providers in legal battles.

“Laws like these are an attack on women’s health, personal autonomy, and the doctor-patient relationship, and they have the potential to force physicians to subject women seeking safe and legal abortion services in the second trimester to additional invasive and unnecessary procedures,” Kelly Baden, the center’s director of state advocacy, noted in a letter to West Virginia lawmakers, the AP reported.

Dilation and evacuation is the safest method of abortion in the second trimester and is used in about 95 percent of all second-trimester abortions in the U.S., Baden said.


Low Cancer Risk from Lumber Liquidators’ Flooring: Report

Laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators has a low risk of causing cancer, but could cause irritation and breathing problems, according to U.S. government agencies.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission tested the health effects of formaldehyde released into indoor air from the company’s laminate flooring produced in China between 2012 and 2014. The products were the subject of a “60 Minutes” Investigation last year, Bloomberg News reported.

The results of the tests were released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Breathing in very high levels of formaldehyde over many years has been linked to rare nose and throat cancers in workers,” according to the CDC, Bloomberg reported.

“Formaldehyde exposure from the tested laminate flooring would be much lower and would last for less time than the exposures linked to cancer. We estimated the risk of cancer from exposure to this flooring and it’s low,” the CDC said.