COVID-19 UPDATE: Collins Law is open, providing excellent representation for clients by phone, email, and videoconference.

HalloweenPost_Facebook-1024x538Halloween is a time of year that many people–adults and children alike–look forward to. It’s an exciting time of year with lots of fun things to do, from Halloween parties to haunted houses to trick-or-treating. However, it’s also a dangerous time of year.

What Makes Halloween Dangerous?

 It’s hard to think of one of your favorite holidays as dangerous, but that is the unfortunate reality of Halloween. Hoards of children out walking the streets, typically at dusk or after dark, is a tricky situation. To make matters worse, these children often wear costumes that make them less visible to drivers on the road or poorly fitted masks that impede their vision. As a result, children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than at other times of the year. Then there is the added danger associated with participating in Halloween activities like costume parties or trick-or-treating during the COVID pandemic. All of this may make some people feel like abandoning Halloween entirely, but that is not necessary. There are many ways that families and neighbors can celebrate Halloween and stay safe this year:

carbonated-water-300x200We should be able to expect that products that are widely available for purchase are safe to consume but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. When you reach for a can of fizzy, sparkling water the last thing you want is to unknowingly be ingesting toxic chemicals with each sip, but that may be exactly what you are doing. Consumer Reports recently tested sparkling water and discovered that many of the most popular brands of sparkling water contain measurable levels of PFAS, a dangerous family of chemicals.

What Are PFAS?

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, are a class of man-made chemicals. These chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body. Because of this, they are sometimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’. PFAS pose many health risks to humans: high cholesterol, decreased fertility in women, increased risk of thyroid disease, and an increased risk of some cancers are just a few of the primary health concerns associated with PFAS. Given the high level of risk, there is no excuse for these chemicals to be present in any food or beverage.

Tear-gas-242x300The images are everywhere on the news; protesters, exercising their Constitutionally protected right to free speech, fleeing from clouds of tear gas thrown by the police. What we have seen protesters enduring in recent months has been downright inhumane. Setting aside the fact that protesters are being abused by law enforcement for no justifiable reason, the “riot control agents”–often referred to as tear gas–that the police are using on protesters, have been banned from international warfare by the Geneva Protocol since 1925. So why on earth do we still allow tear gas to be used on citizens by the very people who are meant to protect them?

Our government’s casual use of tear gas against peaceful protesters suggests that these chemicals are not being used to control “riots”—they are often used when there clearly is no riot—but instead to punish and discourage Constitutionally protected dissent.

What is a Riot Control Agent?

Hand-sanitizer-225x300Washing your hands with soap and water is always the best option for keeping your hands clean, but we don’t always have access to soap and water. That’s where hand sanitizer comes in. Hand sanitizers have never been as popular or necessary as they are right now. Unfortunately, the increase in demand for hand sanitizers has led to some dangerous products being on the shelves. There has been a dramatic increase in hand sanitizers containing methanol, also referred to as wood alcohol. Methanol has no place in hand sanitizers given that it can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. To make matters worse, the methanol found in hand sanitizers is not being labeled as an ingredient on the product itself, meaning we have to be extremely careful about what products we are buying and using during this time.

What is Methanol?

 Methanol is a volatile, flammable liquid that is commonly used in antifreeze and fuel production. Exposure to methanol can cause agitation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, amnesia, seizures, and comas. If hand sanitizer containing methanol is ingested, blindness or death can occur. Under no circumstances should methanol be used in hand sanitizers.

woman-applying-hand-sanitizer-3987149-200x300As if COVID-19 is not bad enough, now there is news that some hand sanitizers being sold to prevent the virus may be hazardous themselves.

The FDA has issued a warning to consumers not to use hand sanitizers made in Mexico by Eskbiochem SA de CV. The hand sanitizers, which goes by multiple names, may contain methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin.

The products identified by the FDA are:

car-commuter-driver-driving-7433-1024x682Coronavirus put a halt to the world as we know it, and it also put a stop to driving for many of us. We started working from home, getting groceries and meals delivered, avoiding gatherings, and staying home in the evening. With everything closed, there really was no need to drive. Now that states are starting to reopen, however, more people are out and about, and more drivers are getting back on the road. Some of the drivers out there, however,  haven’t driven in nearly 4 months! Given that many of us are out of practice, the roads might look a bit like they’re full of 16-year-old kids who just got their driver’s licenses. It’s important that we drive carefully and do whatever we can to make the roads safe for everyone, as we get back into the swing of things. The good news is that there are steps we can take to ensure that our roads are as safe as possible while we shake the rust off of our driving abilities.

Here are some suggestions for staying safe on the road.

  1. Possibly the most important thing we can all do is watch our speed. With fewer people out driving, roads have been less congested. This lack of traffic has led to an increase in speeding. The issue here lies with the combination of increased speed and rusty drivers on the road. Rusty drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. Increased speed means that, if accidents do happen, they’re going to be more serious than if everyone had been following the speed limit. Take a deep breath and slow down.

car-accident-1660670_1920-300x300As Illinois moves into phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening, traffic is making a big comeback. You may have noticed that the roads are more crowded, the parking lots are a bit fuller, and the expressways feel more like they did in January and February.

If you’ve noticed an uptick in traffic, you’re not alone. Congestion, higher travel times, and traffic crashes are on the rise as Illinois resumes activities under phase 3 of the Illinois reopening plan.

After the state-wide stay-at-home order took effect in mid-March, weekly traffic volume in Chicago was cut in half. As of last week, traffic was back to 77% of 2019 levels, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

car-accident-1660670_1920-1024x1024A trio of car accidents in Naperville have caused the tragic deaths of four people in the past month.

The latest heartbreaking accident, which happened just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10th, took the lives of a 77-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman who were out walking. Preliminary investigations reveal that the pair was crossing Hobson Road at the intersection of College Road, when they were struck by a 2017 black Toyota Tundra—driven by a 64-year-old Naperville woman– turning west onto Hobson from the northbound lane of Wehrli Road. The pedestrians, who were both Naperville residents, were transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Sadly, the man died shortly after arrival; the woman succumbed to her injuries the next day.

Only a few days prior, another terrible accident was caused by a driver under the influence on Royce Road. At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th, a 54-year-old Naperville man driving west on Royce Road crossed over into the eastbound lane, according to a police investigation. The man’s 2014 Dodge Ram then proceeded to hit an eastbound 2017 Ford Fiesta head-on. Naperville Fire Department responded to the crash to provide emergency medical attention, but tragically, the driver of the Fiesta, a 41-year-old man from Woodridge, was declared dead on the scene. The police charged the driver of the Dodge Ram with Aggravated Driving Under the Influence and Reckless Homicide.

COVID-19-nurseSymphony of Joliet is one of several nursing homes across Illinois that are facing shocking outbreaks of COVID-19. As of June 5th, 2020, the facility has had 132 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. To understand that in context, Symphony of Joliet only has 214 beds and an average occupancy of about 169 residents. Even given that some of the 132 infections are among staff, the sheer number of COVID-19 cases at Symphony of Joliet shows that the virus spread to an alarming number of residents at the nursing home.

Moreover, the size of the COVID-19 outbreak at Symphony of Joliet is outside the norm when compared with other nursing homes in Will County. The statistics below show the number of infections and deaths at several other nursing homes in Joliet that are faring better:

  • Joliet Terrace – Joliet: 120 beds, 3 cases, 0 deaths

elderly-hands-CeZypKDceQc-unsplash-1024x934Meadowbrook Manor–a large nursing home in Bolingbrook with 298 beds– is one of the nursing homes facing the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois. As of May 29, 2020, the facility had reported 188 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents and 40 deaths–the highest reported death toll at any nursing home in the state. Considering that the average number of residents at Meadowbrook Manor is usually 244, these numbers are shocking. At this occupancy rate, as many as 77% of the residents at Meadowbrook Manor in Bolingbrook may have been infected with COVID-19. Even if every bed at Meadowbrook Manor was occupied, that would still work out to 63% of residents possibly infected. It’s hard to fathom how that could happen.

For comparison, here are the statistics on COVID-19 at some other senior facilities in Will County or in nearby DuPage County:

  • Meadowbrook Manor in Naperville, 245 beds, 37 cases, and 3 deaths
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
badge
Contact Information