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winter-driving-300x200Winter is here with a bang and so are its dangers. While snowstorms may bring an abundance of beauty, they also bring an abundance of hazards: iced-over, slippery, or snowy roads, poor visibility, and broken-down vehicles all pose an extra threat during this magical time of year. As a result, 17% of all crashes occur during winter weather. Research done by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that, within the United States alone, nearly half a million crashes and 2,000 road deaths are caused every year by bad weather or poor road conditions. Being aware of these dangers and preparing properly for them can ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones on the road.

Winter driving dangers are in large part caused by terrible road conditions, poor visibility, and neglectful vehicle maintenance.

Terrible road conditions can be caused by one of three things: rain, snow, or ice. Rain can decrease visibility and cause hydroplaning, snow can make it difficult to accelerate and decelerate your car, and ice can be so thin it’s not even visible (black ice) and can make the roads extremely slippery. All 3 of these things can lead to accidents because they make it more difficult to stop, start, or turn your vehicle.

baby-food-1-300x300Baby food has been facing some much-needed scrutiny lately. A recently released Congressional report disclosed that many top baby foods, both organic and non-organic, are contaminated with dangerous levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. This is especially concerning since both the World Health Organization and the FDA have concluded that these heavy metals pose a danger to human health, and to babies and children in particular.

The findings are the result of a year-long investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform into heavy metals in baby food. Launched after a 2019 study by Healthy Babies Bright Futures found toxic metals in 95% of the baby food they tested, the Congressional investigation asked top baby food companies to voluntarily produce information about their testing policies and test results. Four companies responded to this request: Gerber, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Nurture. The Hain products are labeled as ‘Earth’s Best Organic’ and the Nurture products are labeled as ‘HappyBABY’. Three other companies—Walmart, Sprout Organic, and Campbell–did not cooperate, according to the Congressional report.

The responses to the Congressional inquiry revealed a major problem: all of the companies had used ingredients containing heavy metals in their baby food. Not only that, but the companies had routinely ignored their own standards for toxic metals, continuing to sell tainted baby food to families. And most of the companies had failed to test their finished baby food products for toxic metals, despite an industry admission that testing only the ingredients might underestimate the amount of heavy metals in the finished product. Below are the some of the results included in the Congressional report. (Keep in mind that these numbers are from the companies’ own test results, not results from an independent lab.)

Are you aware that certain cars can put you at a significantly higher risk of suffering serious consequences if you are in a car accident? It’s true. The type, make, and model of the vehicle you are driving can have a substantial impact on your level of safety in the event you are in a car crash. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to drive an extremely safe car. Fortunately, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), has compiled data on which cars had the highest and lowest rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicle years for the period between 2015-2018. Being aware of this information can help you make a safe choice if you are considering purchasing a new car.

The top 5 cars on the list with the highest rates of driver deaths are:

  • Ford Fiesta: 141 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years

toddler-with-toys-2-300x200Keeping children safe and protected from hazards is a top priority for parents. Unfortunately, many toys on the market pose a danger to children. As a result, every three minutes in the U.S., a child is brought to an emergency room with a toy-related injury. Regardless of the severity of the risk they pose–from minor to serious injury or even death–it is unacceptable that dangerous toys are being sold and marketed to children. Playtime should be a safe time for all children. Luckily, there is a non-profit that is solely focused on keeping children safe and educating the public about toy safety. W.A.T.C.H., World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc., releases a yearly list of the most dangerous toys. The toys included on the list this year may pose a choking hazard or cause lacerations, impact injuries, eye injuries, or other injuries, so it is best to avoid them. Below you will find the ten toys that made the list and why W.A.T.C.H. considers them unsafe:

  1. Calico Critters Nursery Friends from Epoch Co. This toy poses a choking hazard due to its small parts.
  2. Missile Launcher from Toysmith. This toy can cause eye and facial injuries.

newborn-220142_1280-1024x682Graco has issued a recall of approximately 51,000 of their infant inclined sleepers because they pose a suffocation risk. While no deaths have occurred with the Graco infant inclined sleepers, there have been a number of infant deaths linked to other, very similar products. The inclined sleepers that are being recalled by Graco have been sold as accessories to the following Graco playards:

  • Pack ‘n Play Day2Dream Playard with Bedside Sleeper
  • Pack ‘n Play Everest Playard

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:

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