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Articles Posted in Consumer Product safety

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.)

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.

vape-3677946_1920-300x200Young people are showing up at hospitals with lungs that look like those of 70-year-olds. Around the country, people of all ages are suffering from a mysterious lung illness, and vaping could be to blame. Federal health officials are looking into the cases of 450 people hospitalized with breathing illnesses after using e-cigarettes and vaping devices, and at least six deaths have been linked to a vaping-related lung illness.

And there’s not just one set of symptoms to look out for. Affected individuals present a variety of symptoms when they arrive at the hospital. For example, one 18-year-old patient complained of chest pain, nausea, fever, and shortness of breath. He was sent to the ICU within 48 hours of arriving at the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with an acute lung injury. That patient ended up being connected to a breathing tube and was placed into a medically induced coma for a week. Another patient, who was 19 years old, suffered from coughing, chest pain, extreme weight loss, and nodules in the lungs. Most patients had nausea or vomiting as well as breathing problems. A third of the confirmed cases were serious enough to need a breathing tube.

Health professionals are taking action to figure out what’s going wrong with vaping. The Center for Disease Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, state and local health departments, and other public health partners have mobilized to investigate a “multistate outbreak” of pulmonary diseases. The outbreak is linked to vaping and has had drastic effects on individuals’ lungs and health.

When you think about what’s in your makeup bag, you probably think foundation, mascara, eyeliner, etc. But let’s make-up-1209798_1920-1024x700delve a little deeper. What ingredients are in your makeup bag? The answer may surprise you.

Since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have disclosed that they’ve used 88 chemicals that are connected to cancer, birth defects, and/or reproductive harm in over 73,000 products. How is this possible? The answer lies in the fact that the beauty industry is virtually unregulated, so manufacturers are free to use chemicals in their products without any meaningful government oversight.

Though most chemicals are not causes for concern, some chemicals in cosmetics have been linked to serious health problems. For example, diethylhexyl phthalate harms the reproductive system, can affect a developing fetus, and is a potential endocrine disruptor. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has also classified it as a possible carcinogenic. Where can you find it? Eyelash glue. Dibutyl phthalate, a similar chemical with similar health effects, can be found in perfumes and nail polishes.

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If you need another reason why Scott Pruitt should be removed from his position at the EPA, just look at the recent news about some paint strippers that contain a deadly chemical called methylene chloride.

Methylene chloride can kill within minutes and long-term exposure has been linked to liver cancer and lung cancer. Over 60 families have lost loved ones because of this chemical. In the last days of the Obama administration, the EPA proposed banning methylene chloride, but after Scott Pruitt took over at the EPA, the agency reversed course and pulled back from that position. Now apparently, it plans to lightly regulate the chemical instead of banning it.

Meanwhile, unsuspecting consumers are dying after buying and using paint strippers. The solvent in the paint strippers, methylene chloride, can cause heart attacks and turn to carbon monoxide in the body. It is supposed to be used with a respirator and special gloves, but even these precautions did not protect Drew Wynne, a 31-year-old from South Carolina who died last October after being overcome by fumes while refinishing a floor. He is not alone. Since 1980 more than 50 accidental deaths have been linked to methylene chloride exposure.

pokemon-1553995_1920.jpgTom Farnum, an anesthesiologist from Colorado, wants his state to pass a law forbidding retailers from selling a smartphone that is intended for use by anyone under 13 years old. He is the spearhead of a statewide petition drive aimed at accomplishing that objective.

Why?

Because Farnum has witnessed the effect that he believes smartphones had on his own children, and is concerned about the results of various studies on the same topic. In summary, the concerns are that smartphones and similar technology:

The US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) continues to provide very valuable information about consumer products which are recalled for the threats they pose to the health of their users, and perhaps others.

For example, CPSC reports that, over just the last two weeks, tens of thousands of products have been recalled. Do you have any of these in your home or office?

·Arctic Cat Snowmobiles (impact hazard)

Could the airbag in the automobile you drive, that is supposed to protect you in the event of an accident, seriously harm or even kill you instead?

For millions of drivers in the U.S., the unfortunate answer is yes. And many of these people are still unaware of the danger.

Millions of Takata airbags, in dozens of car models and brands, have a defect that could cause them to explode when deployed, sending metal shrapnel into the driver and passengers. Current airbag recalls in the U.S could eventually include as many as 42 million vehicles with the potentially lethal Takata airbags, but the word has not gotten out to everyone about the danger. So far, only 12.5 million of these faulty airbags have been replaced, and that leaves millions of people at risk. 1

Co-authored by Jacob Exline of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Food-related injuries and death are often overlooked by the American consumer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses yearly and almost 3,000 of those people die.1 The need for reform of the rules and procedures for the handling and distribution of food is evident by the increasing amount of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. Most recently, both Blue Bell Ice Cream and Sunland Peanut Butter had to shut down their production facilities and recall thousands of products from the shelves of retailers.

In response to this growing issue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released details of a new law that requires businesses in the food industry to comply with stronger and safer food regulations. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which has been in revisions since 2013, is aimed at reforming the way facilities handle food and assess and respond to hazards that often lead to recalls and illnesses.

Co-authored by Cassidy Carroll of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Summer is in full force with Fourth of July this weekend and we are all excited to celebrate our Independence Day with parades, barbeques, and family gatherings. However, there is one thing that defines the Fourth of July in everyone’s mind—fireworks. While we all enjoy the vibrant colors, the inspiring displays, and the way they light up the night sky, fireworks—if used carelessly—can turn a fun experience into a tragic event.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that fireworks killed 11 people and injured 10,500 people in the last year alone.1 In the weeks leading up to and following the Fourth of July, an average of 230 people go to the emergency room every day for firework-related injuries.2

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