Personalized Health and Safety Alerts Now Available to Canadians in Real-Time

From Giant Hogweed to Salmonella-tainted head-cheese, Health & Safety Watch launches first website that aggregates and geographically pinpoints recalls and advisories

TORONTO, Aug. 3 /CNW/ - Health and Safety Watch Inc., an organization established to help Canadians manage all types of health and safety hazards, today officially launched www.HealthandSafetyWatch.com, a new website designed to give Canadians easy access to real-time information about the 500-plus product, food, and drug recalls, as well as health advisories, that occur every year.

Developed by Dr. Jeff Aramini, a former Health Canada senior public health epidemiologist, Health & Safety Watch is a science and technology organization designed to help Canadians get the most up-to-date and accurate information on all types of health and safety recalls, warnings, and advisories.

Its website is the first ever to aggregate public health advisories and tie them to advanced geo-location mapping technology to pinpoint where in Canada a health and safety event is occurring. This same technology ensures registered users receive email alerts for only those health-related events they are interested in. In addition to keeping Canadians abreast of advisories, warnings and recalls, the site also offers tips on what to do with recalled products, information on any illness or injuries reported, and general advice on a variety of health hazards.

"I designed the site with moms and dads in mind," said Aramini, President and CEO of Health & Safety Watch. "For myself, both as a parent and an epidemiologist, I found it incredibly difficult and frustrating to keep track of recalls and health advisories since they are released by dozens of organizations at the federal, provincial, and municipal level."

HealthandSafetyWatch.com gathers information from more than 200 federal, provincial, and municipal websites in real-time and categorizes them based on the type of recall or advisory (consumer products, food, health products, and public health issues) and the location of the event. Every event has a map outlining which areas are affected, so visitors can quickly ascertain whether they might be impacted.

So far this year there have been more than 360 recalls and advisories in Canada affecting more than 700 products. Sixty-four of the recalls have been food-related, including recent cases of deli meats that may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. There have been 175 consumer product recalls, including several dozen for baby cribs and children's toys. There have been 33 drug recalls and 101 public health related announcements, including disease outbreak updates and news of the recent spread of Giant Hogweed.

HealthandSafetyWatch.com also posts when an advisory or warning is over, which is particularly important for communities where water quality is an issue. At any given time there are more than 1,000 active boil water advisories in Canada. Once an advisory has been lifted it is posted to the website.

"With the new website staying informed is as easy as checking the weather. A quick glance in the morning and I know if there is anything I need to keep my eye on," Aramini said. "The site is also useful for government ministries looking to keep an eye on trends across the country as they develop. We started tracking the Hogweed problem back in May when it was far more localized. Now it is a national concern."

Besides geo-specific filtering, registered users can also filter the information based on the types of recalls and advisories they are interested in. If, for example, there is an older child with peanut allergies in a household a parent may want to receive updates related to food allergy warnings but not for infant products. Site registration is free.

Aramini has seen first-hand what happens when Canadians don't receive up-to-date health-related information.

"As a federal public health epidemiologist I can remember interviewing those who became sick from Salmonella and E.coli poisonings even after a recall was announced," he said. "They simply hadn't heard about the recall."

HealthandSafetyWatch.com also posts regular articles covering consumer oriented heath issues such as dealing with extreme heat, swimming pool safety, and food safety tips for the warm summer months.

About Heath & Safety Watch Inc.

Health & Safety Watch Inc. is a science and technology-based organization dedicated to helping Canadians get the most up-to-date and accurate information on all types of health and safety recalls, warnings, and advisories. Information is event-based, with each health and safety issue managed as a single occurrence so visitors can easily find the most recent, accurate updates. Geo-location mapping technology ties each event to a specific location in Canada making it easy to identify where an event is occurring. In addition to the website, several other products and services are in development. Health & Safety Watch Inc. was established in 2009, the website www.healthandsafetywatch.com was launched in 2010. Follow us on Twitter @hswtweet.

SOURCE HEATH & SAFETY WATCH INC.

For further information: For further information: Chris Conrath, Environics Communications, 416.969.2716, cconrath@environicspr.com

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HEATH & SAFETY WATCH INC.

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