Facebook Receives Sensitive Medical Information; Dangerous levels of PFAS; Increase in abortions
The Meta Pixel tracker was found on 33 of the top 100 US hospital websites; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new guidelines in response to unsafe levels of PFAS in drinking water; the abortion rate in the United States increased by 7% between 2017 and 2020.
Tracker sends patient health data from hospital websites to Facebook
A tracking tool on many hospital websites collects private health information about patients’ medical conditions, appointments and prescriptions, and sends it to Facebook, according to a report by The Markup. The tracker, called Meta Pixel, was found on 33 of the top 100 US hospital websites, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, UCLA Reagan Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital. When a patient clicked on a certain button to schedule an appointment, the tracker sent data connected to an IP address to Facebook. Meta Pixel has also been installed in the password-protected patient portals of 7 health systems.
EPA announces guidelines and grant to control PFAS levels in drinking water
As reported by The Washington Post, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water, cosmetics and food packaging are more dangerous than previously thought. In response, the EPA issued new guidelines requiring local officials in each state to notify citizens of contamination or install water filters, but the federal government does not currently regulate PFAS. In addition to this, the agency is also making available $1 billion in grants to help communities on the front lines of PFAS contamination and is preparing mandatory water utility standards to regulate 2 PFASs, Most common PFOA and PFOS.
Report shows increase in abortions between 2017 and 2020
Reversing a 3-decade decline in abortion rates in the United States, the number of abortions increased between 2017 and 2020, The New York Times reported. In 2020, 1 in 5 pregnancies, or 20.6%, were terminated by abortion, compared to 18.4% in 2017. These results were published by the Guttmacher Institute, which found that 930,160 abortions were performed in 2020, an increase of more than 67,000 from 2017. Per 1,000 women aged 15-44, the abortion rate increased by 7% over this period. The report also showed that abortion rates increased more in the western and midwestern United States than in the southern and northeast regions.