Toronto Public Library Homepage

This page has been archived and is no longer updated.

« May 2011 | Main | July 2011 »

June 2011

Still dying for that bronzed glow? The dark truth about tanning...

June 30, 2011 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (1)

Suntan[1]With summer at its prime, most of us like to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors soaking up the sun. But before heading out, it's important to be aware that sun exposure has both positive and negative effects.

Positive effects include warmth, light, and vitamin D3 synthesis in the body. Sunlight also enhances people's moods and kills pathogens. Too much sun however can have negative effects like sunburn, premature aging, skin cancers, eye problems, and immune suppression (Health Canada).

Common myths about tanning include:

  • Having a tan is healthy...To the contrary. When your skin colour changes, it's damaged and that can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
  • My tan protects me from the sun... Unfortunately not. A tan offers almost no protection from sunlight or burning.
  • I'll get my vitamin D by going to the tanning salon... Tanning beds are not a safe way to get your vitamin D. It is safer to get it from the sun, supplements and your diet.

Speaking of tanning beds (also called sunbeds)...the World Health Organization upgraded the classification of UV-emitting devices, such as tanning beds, from a probable carcinogen to a known carcinogen. In other words, we now know for a fact that they cause cancer and research shows that being exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Both the Canadian Dermatology Association and the Canadian Cancer Society strongly push for a ban on indoor tanning by teens.

So how can you have fun in the sun and still be safe? First of all, respect and love your skin and don't give in to dangerous fashion trends that advertise deep tanned skin. When out in the sun, follow these safe SunSense practices:

  • cover up - wear a wide brimmed hat and loose, tighly woven lightweight clothing
  • wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection
  • use sunscreen with a minimum 15 SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
  • avoid indoor tanning devices
  • check your skin regularly and report any changes to your doctor

 For more information, check out one of our books on sun safety and skin cancer from the TPL:

                                        Sunsafe1          Skin cancer


Breast Health - Health Talk @ the Weston Library Branch

June 22, 2011 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (2)

Toronto Public Library in partnership with Toronto Public Health presents a free lecture on


Breast Health:  Take the Time

at this presentation you will learn about

  • Risk factors for breast cancer
  • Screening tests
  • Ways to reduce your risk

Friday June 24, 2011

1:00 – 2:30 pm

For more information and to REGISTER, please call 416-394-1016

Weston Library Branch

2 King Street

Everybody is welcome


Be Aware of the Insects!: Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus

June 16, 2011 | carolyn | Comments (2)

Deer Tick
Lyme disease in humans is caused by the bite of a tick infected by a bacterium normally carried by small animals such as mice, squirrels and birds.  Generally ticks attach themselves to humans who brush against tall grasses and bushes.  Several parks in Ontario as well as the north shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are places where blacklegged ticks are commonly found. If you are bitten by an infected tick you may experience the following symptoms:

  • -Fever
  • -Headache
  • -Muscle and joint pains
  • -Fatigue
  • -Skin rash

For more information read the Lyme Disease Fact Sheet from the Public Health Agency of Canada or Lyme Disease from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.



Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus spread the virus to humans through bites. West Nile season is from May to October, the traditional mosquito season.  The virus first appeared in Ontario in 2001.  Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes do not have any symptoms.  Mild symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • body aches
  • mild rash

Some people suffer more severe symptoms such as:

  • severe headache
  • high fever
  • stiff neck
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • muscle weakness and paralysis

If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek medical attention.

For more information read Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment from the Public Health Agency of Canada.  For information about how to protect yourself, read West Nile virus from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Check out the Library's recent books about Lyme disease for more information.  To see which branch has a copy of the book and to place a hold, click on the cover or title link;


The Lyme Disease Survival Guide 
Ending Denial 
Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment 
The Lyme Disease
Survival Guide
Ending Denial: the
Lyme Disease Epidemic
Insights into Lyme
Disease Treatment

Eating out... the inside scoop on Toronto's DineSafe Program

June 10, 2011 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (3)

    Pass_thumb               Cond_pass_thumb                Closed_thumb

Ever wondered what that sign at the entrace of your favourite hangout really means? Well, here is the inside 'scoop'. All Toronto food premises and there are approximately 18,000 in Toronto and over 10,000 of them are restaurants - are inspected by Public Health Inspectors one to three times per year and issued a report card which has to be displayed prominently for the public to see. A green "PASS" indicates that the premises are in compliance with Ontario's Food Premises Regulation, or only minor infractions were noted. A yellow "CONDITIONAL PASS" on the other hand indicates that significant infractions were noted which have to be rectified within 48 hours. The red "CLOSED" sign means that crucial infractions were observed which pose an immediate health hazard to the public hence necessitating the immediate closing of the establishment.

Today more than 90 percent of restaurants pass the test. But it wasn't always that way. Prior to the DineSafe Program food-safety compliance was a mere 42 percent. A Toronto Star investigation in 2000 found "hundreds of city restaurants had serious food safety violations, from repeated cockroach and mice infestations to food temperature violations that produce bacteria and filthy food preparation surfaces. Yet none of the suspect eateries had been shut down and only a handful had been fined a few hundred dollars. - Worse still, details of those  violations were hidden from the public."

Following the Star's "Dirty Dining" report there was a public outrage which prompted Toronto City Council to amend the Licensing By-Law resulting in the establishment of Toronto's DineSafe Program. Shortly after Toronto began making the results of restaurant inspections public in 2001 cases of food-borne illnesses fell drastically.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Toronto's DineSafe Program has been a great success. Recognizing this success, Toronto's DineSafe Program will be honoured on June 18th 2011 by receiving a highly prestigious award. Other cities in Canada and around the world have adopted similar disclosure models. This is good news for Torontonians and visitors alike but it's important not to get too complacent. If you have concerns about an eatery look for the green pass in the window. Or even better, look up your eatery by name on the City's website or contact the Toronto Public Health Department at: 416-338-FOOD (3663) or e-mail for more information.




Toronto Public Library helps find reliable, understandable health information for you and your family.