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by Joyia Emard

EyelashExtension_coverThe State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (Board), which licenses and regulates barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists, estheticians, electrologists, apprentices, and the establishments in which they work in California, has released a new publicationEyelash Extensions Safety Tips.

The brochure details who should be applying eyelash extensions, what to look for at the salon you choose, when a consumer should not get eyelash extensions, and tips for consumers before and after getting eyelash extensions.

Consumer publications from the Board are available online at www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/consumers/index.shtml.
The Board can be reached at (800) 952-5210.

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The practice of extreme weight cutting in combat sports—when mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters and boxers drastically lose weight before a fight in order to compete in a certain weight class—has become a chief concern of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), which regulates combat sports statewide.

Weight cutting—often achieved through drastic dehydration—has landed fighters in the hospital with criical injuries and, in the most extreme cases, has been fatal. Through an educational campaign that includes informational flyers and posters detailing the dangers of severe weight cutting, CSAC has become a leading voice nationally in combating the practice.

macro of a doctor's office scale

The Commission recently held a summit in Southern California in an effort to find solutions to extreme weight cutting.

In the most recent issue of Consumer Connection, the quarterly magazine published by the Department of Consumer Affairs, CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster said: “Dehydration and weight cutting is the most serious issue facing mixed martial arts from a health and regulatory perspective.”

Read the full story on extreme weight cutting, and catch up on the latest news on other consumer-related subjects, in the spring issue of Consumer Connection, which can be viewed and downloaded on the Department of Consumer Affairs website.

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One of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ most popular titles—The Small Claims Court: A Guide to Its Practical Use—has been recently updated and is available now for download!

Some people think going to court is difficult or frightening, but it doesn’t need to be. DCA’s handbook, written by DCA’s Legal Affairs Division, is designed to help anyone who is suing or being sued in small claims court, or deciding whether or not to file a case. Although your local small claims court clerk or small claims adviser should be your first go-to for questionsshutterstock_74941255, our guide is a handy backup. It includes:

  • A glossary of legal terms.
  • A checklist for plaintiffs and defendants.
  • An explanation of what small claims court is and how to decide if it’s your best option.
  • Factors to consider before filing.
  • Resources for locating the party you’re filing against.
  • Guidance on what to do if you’re the defendant.

It also contains advice on how to make the most of your day in court.
Get your copy here: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/small_claims.pdf.

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DEA event has resulted in safe collection and destruction of 2,762 tons of unused prescription drugs

Get ready to raid your medicine chests: Saturday, April 30, is National Prescription Drug Take Back day from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at a location near you!

Medicines that languish in hGot-Drugs-Graphic-Genericome storage are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. This event, held annually by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for their abuse. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Flushing prescription drugs down the toilet or throwing them away are both potential safety and health hazards and can pollute the environment.

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov.

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spring 2016

The first issue of 2016 is out, and it’s packed with great information.

Last year, the passage of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act added another new regulatory entity—the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation—under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Although it doesn’t officially open its doors until 2018, the DCA team is already hard at work getting its structure in place.  This issue outlines what the new laws do and how DCA will implement them, and also addresses some common questions and answers for consumers, businesses and potential licensees.

Also last year, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) took the lead in addressing the issue of youth pankration (mixed martial arts fighting). Now, CSAC is leading the way again, this time addressing the risky—and sometimes deadly—practice of extreme weight cutting. Read about this along with recommendations on how to manage prescription costs; how to protect your hearing; what to do if your car is a lemon; new laws that impact Californians; crowdfunding and more.

Visit the DCA website to download or read the magazine. You can also pick up a printed copy in the DCA Headquarters lobby at 1625 North Market Boulevard in Sacramento. Or, to have it mailed to you at no charge, call (866) 320-8652 or send an e-mail request to consumerconnection@dca.ca.gov. Get connected!

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shutterstock_295587713Flame retardant chemicals and breast milk may not seem related, but they are in the Golden State. What’s the connection? A series of bills created to keep Californians healthy.

In 2003, Assembly Bill 302 was signed by Governor Gray Davis. The bill prohibited the  manufacturing, processing, or distribution of a product in California that contained more than one-tenth of one percent of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or pentaBDE (PBDE) beginning January 1, 2008. The legislation was created in response to a 2002 study conducted by California State scientists that found the level of PBDEs in Bay Area women’s breast milk was extremely high.

PBDEs were used as fire retardants primarily in electronic equipment, textiles, and furniture. According to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), PBDE health concerns include the potential to disrupt hormonal functions and neurodevelopment, which may affect children’s learning abilities and behavior.

In addition to the ban, in 2014, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1019, which gave consumers the right to know whether furniture they’re buying contains harmful chemicals. Consumers can check furniture labels for this information; see the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation’s (BEARHFTI’s) website for more information on the bill and label requirements.

The good news? The ban was effective. A follow-up study done earlier this year by DTSC found that there has been a 40 percent drop in PBDE levels in the breast milk of Bay Area women.

However, there is some bad news as well. A 2014 study from the Environmental Working Group and Duke University found that the fire retardant chemicals used in place of the banned PBDEs—some of which are carcinogenic—are building up in the bodies of mothers and their children. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is considering a petition from scientists and advocates asking to ban these chemicals.

For more information on the recent DTSC PBDE findings, visit www.dtsc.ca.gov/scp/
. To find out more about BEARHFTI, visit their website at http://www.bearhfti.ca.gov.



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shutterstock_355260812One in four school-age children suffers from vision problems. Although vision screenings done at schools help identify those kids, the screenings miss one in three with significant vision and eye health problems, according to the National Commission on Vision and Health. Also, 40 percent of the kids identified with vision problems do not receive follow-up care.

In an effort to ensure children receive appropriate eye care, the Board of Optometry (Board) has sponsored Senate Bill 402. If approved, the bill will require students entering elementary school to get a comprehensive eye examination by a physician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist. The bill passed both the Senate Education and Health committees, but was placed in suspense in appropriations.

To develop strong legislation for the next legislative session, the Board delegated a workgroup that is forming the Children’s Vision Coalition. The Coalition will work over the next year to educate the public, the Legislature, and stakeholders on the importance of comprehensive eye examinations for children.

According to the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, “Because a child’s visual system is growing and developing, especially during the 5–6 years of life, glasses may play an important role in ensuring normal development of vision.” Regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams help ensure children maintain good vision and healthy eyes for success in school and other activities.

For more information about SB 402 (Mitchell), click on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB402. To learn more about the Board, visit www.optometry.ca.gov.

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California Council on Science and Technology Fellow John Thompson, right, joins Frank Gehrke, Chief Snow Surveyor for the Department of Water Resources, at the fourth media snow survey for the 2015/2016 season on March 30th.

What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months ago, on April 1, 2015, Governor Brown stood at the site of the State Department of Water Resources (DWR) annual early spring snow survey in the Sierra Nevada—Phillips Station, 90 miles east of Sacramento—but there was no snow to survey.

The Governor stood on dirt that day and issued his mandate to cut urban water use in California by 25 percent due to dire drought conditions. The Statewide snowpack’s water content was only 5 percent of the historical April 1 average, the lowest amount ever recorded.

Fast forward to March 30 this year, and the DWR snow survey told a much improved—if not totally rosy—story. Several feet of snow covered the Phillips Station site and, according to DWR, the snowpack water content on March 30 was 97 percent of the historical average for that day. Statewide, the snowpack—which accounts for nearly one-third of California’s water—was at 87 percent of normal.

However, while rainfall so far this year is significantly improved over last year for the critical Northern California watershed (29 percent above average), DWR cautions that conditions are less favorable in the Central Valley and Southern California. Key reservoirs in the north—Shasta, Oroville, and Folsom—now store more water than the average, but a lack of rain in the south has resulted in below-average storage in nearly all reservoirs there.

DWR emphasizes that, due to drought conditions that are still felt in many parts of the State, residents should continue water conservation efforts.

More information from the Department of Water Resources

For water conservation tips, visit Save Our Water: http://saveourwater.com
Drought Breaking News Page: www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/
Water Conditions Page: http://water.ca.gov/waterconditions/waterconditions.cfm

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