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If That Paper Towel Looks Delicious, You Might Want to Get Your Iron Levels Checked

Nearly 70 percent of pregnant women crave non-edible things like dirt, paper towels, and paint.

Nearly 70 percent of pregnant women crave non-edible items like paper towels, ice, and laundry detergent. Image via Shutterstock.

Trisha Nelson, a copywriter for a technology company in Los Angeles, California, was addicted to ice. Not just any ice, the really minerally-smelling ice that forms on the inside walls of old freezers. “I would scrape the ice that had formed on the sides of our fridge. I knew exactly where all the ‘good’ ice was and I bought a snow-cone maker,” said Nelson. “I was insatiable.”

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Texas’ 2013 Decision to Ban Planned Parenthood Proves to Be as Foolish as Anticipated

Thousands of low income, uninsured women must fend for themselves for cancer screenings, birth control and more in Texas.

When Texas chose to shun millions of dollars in federal funding for women’s health so that it could create the Texas Women's Health Program—decidedly shutting Planned Parenthood out of the equation—the future of women’s health in Texas seemed pretty dire. Now, the Lone Star State’s Health and Human Services Commission has published a new report on the program, confirming that the long-term consequences of banning Planned Parenthood are very real and very negative.

Image by badlyricspolice via Creative Commons

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Oregon Bill Would Be First in Nation to Ensure Complete Reproductive Health Care, Including Abortion

The Comprehensive Women’s Health Bill would ensure access to every type of reproductive health (abortion included) to every resident of Oregon.

Last month, Oregon’s governor, John Kitzhaber, resigned and ardent reproductive health supporter and openly bisexual Kate Brown transitioned from Secretary of State to governor. Following this, the Beaver State is contemplating a new bill that would continue its groundbreaking streak. The Comprehensive Women’s Health Bill would ensure access to every type of reproductive health (abortion included) to every woman in Oregon.

GIF via "Portlandia" IFC

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On Tuesday, the anti-breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen For The Cure announced it was pulling funds that it had previously provided Planned Parenthood for breast exams. And today, after a hailstorm of protest on Twitter, Facebook, and Susan G. Komen's message boards, the charity announced that it would be restoring Planned Parenthood's grants.

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The other night, 60 Minutes ran a spot about phthalates, a category of chemical plasticizers that has been linked to gender-bendy birth defects in baby boys. Phthalates, as the episode made clear, are everywhere. They're in the plastic in your car, your shower curtain, your moisturizer, your hairspray, your air freshener, your makeup, your cologne, and your kids' toys. So what to do?

First, let's make one thing clear: The effects of phthalate exposure have been fairly conclusively established, and that research is acknowledged by countless public-health experts and environmental-health organizations—but not by the FDA. (Naturally, the chemical and cosmetic trade organizations that sell and use these ingredients also claim phthalates are safe, but never mind them.)

Some phthalates are already banned in toys. There's a growing feeling that they should be removed from personal-care products as well, because their ubiquity in beauty products is suspected to be the reason why so many baby boys are born with hypospadias (which is a birth defect where the opening of the urethra is in the wrong place) and undescended testes (which is exactly what it sounds like), and why so many girls have breasts before their 10th birthday.

Clearly, we'd all do well to avoid them to whatever extent we can. But the 60 Minutes spot felt a little hopeless, as if to say "They're everywhere, so live with it." And a recent New Yorker feature about BPA and phthalates, while thorough, left a lot of people scratching their heads.

There are a lot of instances where we can't control our phthalate exposure, it's true—but there are tons where we can. Here are some easy places to start:\n\n

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