Ethylene Oxide/Sterigenics Updates

Wichita-300x218I’ve been an environmental lawyer for more than 20 years, working for communities whose homes, air, and water have been polluted by industry’s careless disposal of dangerous chemicals.  I’ve seen government respond aggressively to protect its citizens under these circumstances, but more often not so aggressively.  I’ve even seen government pretend that the contamination is not as bad as it really is to justify not doing anything about it.

But I’ve never seen a state government so matter-of-factly abandon its citizens in need of protection as the State of Kansas did to the residents of more than 1,000 homes in the Historically Black neighborhoods that are located Northeast of downtown Wichita, including the Wichita Independent, Northeast Millair, and Northeast Highgate neighborhoods.

Kansas should be ashamed of itself.  It must immediately reverse course and do its duty to protect its citizens against dangerous chemical contamination.

Breast_implants_in_hand_01-300x200The FDA recently issued a safety communication warning about a link between breast implants and certain cancers that can develop in the scar tissue around implants.

This new agency warning does not include Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma which has previously been linked to certain Allergan textured breast implants. Those textured implants were recalled after being linked to 600 illnesses and 33 deaths.

Now the FDA is warning women about squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and lymphomas that are linked to all types of implants, regardless of whether they are saline or silicone filled, smooth or textured. These cancers form in the capsule, or scar tissue, around the implant. Currently, the FDA is aware of 20 cases of squamous cell cancer and 30 cases of lymphoma in the capsule around breast implants. The agency issued this statement as part of its safety communication, “While the FDA believes that occurrences of SCC or various lymphomas in the capsule around the breast implant may be rare, health care providers and people who have or are considering breast implants should be aware that cases have been reported to the FDA and in the literature. Currently, the incidence rate and risk factors for SCC and various lymphomas in the capsule around the breast implants are unknown.”

training-ge36778761_1920-300x199We’re inching closer to that time of year when everyone starts making New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym more. If you’re one of those people, you should make an additional resolution to only buy sports bras and athletic shirts that don’t contain BPA, a dangerous hormone disruptor.

 Recent testing by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has discovered that 14 different brand-name companies are selling sports bras and athletic shirts that contain up to 22 times the safe limit of BPA (also known as bisphenol A). The brands affected include:

  • All in Motion (sports bras)

Baby strollers and other children’s products top the list of  items recalled in September.

joggig-stroller-2-300x200Recalled: Cityscape Travel Jogger Strollers 

 Cityscape Travel Jogger strollers (Model TJ75B12A) are being recalled because the parking brake can fail, posing fall and injury hazards to children.

contaminated-tap-water-300x213Chicago has a lead problem that may rival the contamination in Flint, Michigan, according to The Guardian. The publication analyzed years of Chicago tap water tests (conducted for residents between 2016 – 2021) and discovered that 1 in 20 of the tests performed by the city showed lead levels at or above U.S. government limits. Out of 24,000 tests, 1000 had lead levels exceeding the federal standard of 15 ppb in drinking water. More than 30% of the tests had lead levels exceeding the FDA standard of 5 ppb lead for bottled water. This is extremely concerning because lead exposure is linked to a host of health effects.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause irreversible damage, which is why many health experts say there is no safe level of lead. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends lead levels under 1ppb to protect children whose brains are particularly susceptible to the metal. Even low levels of lead have been linked to lower IQ levels, behavioral disorders, and poor reading and math performance in children. In adults, low levels of lead can cause kidney problems and high blood pressure.

The size of the problem is much greater than Chicago’s current water testing shows, however, because most homes with lead service lines in the city have not even been tested yet. In fact, Chicago has an estimated 400,000 lead pipes supplying water to city homes, more than any other city in the country. This is partly because Chicago inexplicably kept a law– requiring lead pipes be used to connect homes to the city’s water system–on the books until 1986, years after most large cities had banned them.

aggressive-dog-300x200Many of us love our furry friends and would never expect a dog to hurt us. Unfortunately, however, dog attacks do happen, and the resulting injuries can be serious. So, who is liable when a dog bites someone? In many states, owners are only responsible if they have a reason to believe that their dog might hurt someone, for example, if their dog has bitten someone before. In Illinois, however, dog owners are liable if their dog hurts someone, regardless of whether the owner had any forewarning that their dog might be dangerous.

What Does Illinois Law Say About Liability in a Dog Attack?

 When it comes to dog bites, Illinois is a strict liability state, which means that a dog bite victim does not need to prove that the dog owner acted negligently. Under 510 ILCS 5/16, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages.” A dog owner does not need to believe that their dog might be aggressive. If their dog bites someone, even if it is the first time this has happened, they are liable. This would not apply if the victim provoked the dog or was on the dog owner’s property illegally.

water-bottle-g82d7e38e6_1920-300x241We have all been told about the benefits of drinking water out of a reusable bottle. It’s convenient, better for the environment than single-use bottles, and increases your daily water intake. However, if your reusable water bottle is made out of plastic, it may be more damaging to your health than it is beneficial. In a recent study,  chemists at the University of Copenhagen discovered that tap water that gets stored in reusable plastic bottles contains hundreds and sometimes thousands of chemicals; many that are damaging to human health, and many more that have unknown toxicity.

The chemists tested three different types of popular plastic water bottles, two of which were biodegradable. The researchers stored tap water in both used and new bottles for 24 hours. Some of the bottles had been machine washed, some had not, and some had been rinsed 5 times with tap water. They then tested the water in the bottles for a variety of chemicals.

Shockingly, after just 24 hours, the researchers found hundreds of substances present in the tap water stored in the new bottles—including substances that had never been found in plastic. Worse still, they discovered THOUSANDS of substances in the water stored in bottles that had been through a dishwasher cycle. And even the tap water stored in thoroughly rinsed bottles contained a significant percentage of toxic and unknown substances. More than 400 of the substances were derived from plastic and 3500 from dishwashing soap.

Camp-lejeune-service-members-graduate-college-300x221Update, July 2022: After being passed in the House and Senate, the Honoring Our PACT Act was expected to go to President Biden’s desk for his signature, but it is currently being blocked in the Senate by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans.

After years of denials by the government, Camp LeJeune veterans and their families–who were exposed to cancer-causing toxins on the military base–may be on the brink of getting their day in court.

In a long-overdue action, the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 3967, the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (Honoring Our PACT Act), a broad bipartisan bill that addresses the needs of veterans subjected to toxic exposure. Yesterday, on June 16, 2022, the Senate passed an amended version of the Act. Importantly for Camp LeJeune veterans, this bill includes the Camp LeJeune Justice Act of 2022.

Baby-feeding-bottle-g6789f2148_1920-300x225The product liability attorneys at The Collins Law Firm are investigating claims from the parents of premature infants who were fed Similac or Enfamil baby formula while in the hospital and then developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

What is NEC?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious intestinal illness–typically affecting premature infants—that can cause permanent damage to a baby’s gastrointestinal system. The word “Necrotizing” refers to cell damage and death. “Entero” means the intestine, and “Colitis” means inflammation of the colon. NEC typically happens after the first 2 weeks of life in premature babies who are fed cow’s milk-based formula instead of breast milk. NEC develops when the tissue in the large intestine becomes inflamed due to a bacterial infection. The infection and inflammation cause sections of the intestine to become necrotic and die. When this happens, it can create a perforation (or hole) in the intestine which allows bacteria to escape into the abdomen and pass into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, NEC usually strikes suddenly and can progress rapidly. If not treated immediately, it may put a baby’s life in danger.

French-fries-300x200On April 21st, 2022, Best Buy issued a recall of nearly 775,000 Insignia air fryers and air fryer ovens due to multiple consumer reports of the devices catching fire, burning, or melting. The fryers, which have the brand name Insignia on the top or front of the appliance, were sold in the U.S. and Canada between November 2018 and February 2022.

These air fryers pose a potential risk to consumers and may cause severe injury if something goes wrong. If you are currently using an Insignia air fryer, you should stop using it immediately and register here (or call Best Buy at 800-566-7498) to return the appliance and receive a Best Buy credit.

The devices that are being recalled are:

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