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:

carbonated-water-300x200As environmental lawyers, one of our passions is fighting for clean drinking water for communities affected by contamination. So, it is disappointing that the EPA, under President Biden, has endorsed a Trump administration decision and decided not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water.

What is Perchlorate?

Perchlorate is a contaminant that can be found in groundwater, surface water, and soil. Most perchlorate manufactured in the U.S. is used for rockets and missiles. Perchlorate-based chemicals are also used in safety flares, fireworks, matches, pyrotechnics, explosives, and batteries. Because perchlorates are used in military applications, some countries prefer to keep the amounts they make confidential. So, we do not know the exact amount of perchlorates produced or used in the United States. However, high levels of perchlorates are often found near military bases where the chemicals have been used in rocket fuel. And to no one’s surprise, the Department of Defense and other military contractors oppose limiting perchlorate in drinking water.

woman-at-work-gc15debff2_1920-300x202At long last: A victory for women in the workplace.

H.R. 4445, a bill banning the forced arbitration of sexual assault and harassment claims in the workplace has passed the House and Senate and is awaiting President Biden’s signature to become law.

The bill, which is called the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act “would allow sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors to elect to file a case in a court of law rather than be subject to mandatory, forced arbitration provisions in cases involving sexual harassment or sexual assault disputes.”

car-accident-fatality-300x2002021 saw a record number of traffic fatalities in the United States. The rise has become so concerning that transportation leaders are calling it a crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 31,720 people died in traffic accidents in the first 9 months of 2021, an increase of approximately 12% from the 28,325 fatalities in the first nine months of 2020. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2006.

Illinois fared even worse than the national average, showing an 18.4% increase in traffic fatalities, with 993 people dying in car accidents in the first 9 months of 2021 compared to 839 during the same months in 2020. In total, more than 1350 Illinoisians died in traffic accidents in 2021, the highest number since 2005.

One of the reasons for the increase in fatalities was an 11.7% increase in miles traveled over 2020, as well as declining seatbelt use.

car-maintenance-auti-repair-gda26c20ff_1920-300x200Are you quick to get needed car repairs or do you tend to put them off? The majority of people say they maintain their car and get repairs right away, but the reality is not so rosy.  Over 90% of car owners admit they’ve put off maintenance or repairs longer than they should. For most, the delays were less than a week, but some drivers admit to delaying essential maintenance or repairs for 30 days or more. Unfortunately, this behavior makes you more likely to have a car accident and puts other drivers at risk.

Procrastinating when it comes to car maintenance can be dangerous and even fatal. In 2019, there were 6,756,000 car crashes in the United States, with 1,916,000 of these accidents resulting in injuries, and 33,244 causing fatalities. according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Two percent of these motor vehicle accidents are typically caused by vehicle failure or degradation, mostly tire or brake failures. That works out to 38,320 injuries and 664 deaths related to vehicle failure a year. The majority of these are caused by drivers failing to maintain or repair their cars so they are in proper working order.

Drivers may hold off on repairs because they don’t feel they have enough time or money to replace their old tires or get the brake pads changed. But even minor issues can affect a driver’s ability to stay safe on the road. Failing to address the following maintenance and repair issues can lead to a car crash.

Taking an evening stroll should not cause you to fear for your life, but the sad reality is that this scenario is becoming more common, as pedestrian accidents become a growing safety issue in the U. S. The fact that these accidents tend to result in more serious, life-threatening injuries and fatalities than other kinds of car accidents, combined with the fact that they have risen significantly in recent years, is extremely concerning.Pedestrian-accident-1024x683

Pedestrian Deaths Are on the Rise

 Between 2010 and 2019, pedestrian deaths increased a shocking 45% in the U.S.,  with 53,435 pedestrians being hit and killed by vehicles. The last four recorded years, 2016 through 2019, were the deadliest years on record, with more than 6,000 people killed in each of those years. That breaks out to more than 16 deaths a day, which is unacceptably high.

Pantene-300x225Procter & Gamble has issued a voluntary product recall of more than 30 aerosol spray dry shampoos and dry conditioners, warning that the products could contain benzene, a cancer-causing chemical linked to leukemia.

Benzene has been classified as a “known human carcinogen” by the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer based on sufficient evidence that it causes leukemia. It has also been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

The recall includes aerosol spray products from Pantene, Herbal Essences, Aussie, and Waterless, in addition to several discontinued aerosol dry shampoo products from Old Spice and Hair Food. The products are being recalled by Procter &Gamble after benzene was detected in some products.

Old-Spice-300x213The Procter & Gamble Company has voluntarily recalled all lots of specific Secret and Old Spice aerosol spray antiperspirants and Old Spice Below Deck aerosol spray products sold in the U.S. The products, which have expiration dates through September 2023, have been recalled due to the detection of benzene.

Benzene is classified as a carcinogen by the EPA and the International Agency for the Research on Cancer. The chemical has been linked in studies to leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

The affected products are antiperspirants and hygiene products packaged in aerosol cans. See the table below for product names and UPC codes:

hamburger-gb0d465128_1920-300x225It’s common knowledge that fast food isn’t the most nutritious dining option, but you should at least be able to expect that the hamburger or chicken nuggets you are devouring are nontoxic. That may not be the case, say researchers at George Washington University. A new study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology has revealed that most of the food items at popular fast-food restaurants are full of chemicals known as phthalates that have been linked to a host of health problems. This is the first study to measure phthalates directly in fast food and contributes to the scientific evidence linking fast food consumption to higher levels of phthalates.

What Chemicals Did the Researchers Find?

Researchers at George Washington University bought 64 popular menu options from Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell and tested them for 8 common phthalates and 3 replacement plasticizers. 10 of the 11 chemicals were present at high levels in nearly all of the samples. 81% of the samples contained DnBP and 70% contained DEHP; both phthalates have been linked to fertility and reproductive issues as well as increased risks of behavioral, learning, and attention disorders in children. 86% of the samples contained DEHT, a plasticizer that is being used as a replacement for phthalates. Overall, samples that contained meat had significantly higher levels of phthalates than vegetarian options; but phthalates were still present in both types of food.

McDonalds--300x293 Eating fast food wrapped in PFAS laden food packaging may be a one-two punch for your prostate. A new study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois has found that PFAS exposure together with a high-fat diet causes malignant prostate tumors to grow much faster than those without exposure to the chemical.

The scientists in the study performed several experiments. In one they exposed malignant human prostate cells to PFOS and PFBS and compared them to malignant prostate cells that were not exposed.  The cancerous cells replicated three times faster than the control group when exposed to PFOS and 5 times faster when exposed to PFBS.

In a follow-up experiment, they injected mice with the malignant human prostate cells and fed them either a high-fat diet or a control diet. Some of the mice also received doses of PFOS, a common form of PFAS that has previously been linked to cancer. As expected, the mice fed a high-fat diet exhibited faster tumor growth than mice in the control group. The mice exposed to PFOS who ate the control diet had even faster tumor growth than the mice fed a high-fat diet. But the mice who were exposed to PFOS and fed a high-fat diet had the fastest rate of tumor growth of all.

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