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Deadly Chinese Tires Recalled by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “Made in China” Possibly new Trademark of Potentially Fatal Products

Defective tires have been added to an ever-growing list of dangerous Chinese imports. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered 450,000 tires recalled after Foreign Tire Sales, the New Jersey company that imported the tires, disclosed that they had been manufactured without a gum strip meant to keep the tread from separating. The tires, manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber, have been blamed for at least two accidents, one of which was fatal. The tires were sold under at least four brand names: Westlake, Compass, Telluride and YKS. The tires are just the latest in an array of Chinese products that have been found to pose a hazard to consumers. Others have included wheat gluten tainted with melamine that was used in pet food, contaminated toothpaste, defective Graco infant swings, and Thomas the Tank Engine toys made with lead paint. According to a recent New York Times report, Chinese imports have accounted for more than 60-percent of all product recalls this year.

In the case of the tires, it appears that Foreign Tire Sales knew about the safety issues for more than two years before it alerted the NHTSA. According to the letter the company sent the agency, it first suspected the problems in October 2005. Yet it wasn’t until September 2006 that Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber admitted to leaving out the gum strip. Still, Foreign Tire Service only brought the defective tires to the NHTSA’s attention on June 11. The company claims it had no real proof of the manufacturing problems until May, and that it did not want to arouse concerns based on “mere suspicion.”


E. Coli Poisoning Kills New Jersey Boy as Reports of Food Contamination Skyrocket

E. Coli poisoning has killed a 7-year-old New Jersey boy, and state health officials are investigating the possibility that the child contracted the illness by eating food sold at his school. E. Coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that causes bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and possibly death. Young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems face the most danger from E. Coli. As cases of food-borne illnesses reach an all-time high, this incident once again brings attention to the poor state of food safety procedures in the US.

E. Coli Contamination
involving more than 6 million pounds of beef has been responsible for eight separate food recalls already this year. Considering that in 2006, there were only 8 total E. Coli related recalls involving 156,000 pounds of beef, this year’s numbers are alarming. Beef manufactured by United Food Group has accounted for 5 million pounds of the meat recall, while Tyson Fresh Meat, Inc. was forced to recall 40,000 pounds of its meat because of E. Coli contamination. Both recalls were initiated late last month. Health officials said 14 people in six Western states were sickened by the contaminated meat, but concede that the number could be higher as not all cases of E. Coli poisoning are reported.


World Trade Center Rescue Workers Made Ill from Toxic Dust Finally Hear from Former EPA Head, Christine Todd Whitman

World Trade Center rescue workers, many of them sickened by contaminated dust, finally had a chance to hear from former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Christine Todd Whitman at a congressional hearing investigating the government’s response to the terrorist attacks. Many first-responders hold Whitman and the EPA responsible for health problems they’ve suffered since aiding in the rescue efforts at Ground Zero. They contend that statements released by the agency and its former head led them to believe the air around the fallen buildings was safe to breath.

Calling the accusation that she deliberately misled the public “utterly false”, Whitman claimed that assertions she made a week after the WTC attack regarding air quality in lower Manhattan was safe were based on what experts had told her. But her testimony contradicts a 2003 report by the EPA’s own inspector general which found that the agency did not have any scientific facts to back up claims it made following the 9/11 attacks. Shortly after the tragedy, the EPA issued a series of statements assuring the public and the WTC Emergency Rescue Workers that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe. On September 18th Whitman herself was quoted in a press release: “Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, DC that their air is safe to breathe.” As a result, many rescue workers spent weeks sifting through the debris with little protective gear.


FDA Approved Ketek Despite Serious Irregularities in its Clinical Trials; Patients Often Faced Liver Failure, Even Death As a Result of Oversight

Patients being treated with Sanofi-Aventis’ antibiotic Ketek faced serious liver damage or even death, when all that was being treated was a simple sinus infection The story of the dangerous prescription drug Ketek and how it came to be on the market is a case-study in everything that has gone wrong with the FDA drug-approval process.

Ketek was granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 despite serious concerns with the clinical trials conducted by its manufacture, Sanofi-Aventis. An expensive antibiotic, Ketek was created to treat sinus infectious. But because other cheaper antibiotics (most notably, the more mundane amoxicillin) were extremely effective in treating this condition, the FDA required Aventis to design a study showing that Ketek would work at least as well as existing treatments. Aventis eventually signed up 1800 private physicians to participate in these clinical trails. These doctors would be given $400 for every patient they convinced to participate in the Ketek study.


Deadly World Trade Center Dust Killing Rescue Workers and Residents; Misleading EPA Information Didn’t Help Situation

Word Trade Center rescue workers and lower Manhattan residents were exposed to deadly dust due to misleading Information from the EPA. A report is shedding new light on misleading EPA claims in the wake of the 9/11 terrorism attacks on New York City. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), residents of Lower Manhattan were never told the truth about dust contamination in their apartments and condominiums. As result of this inaccurate information, only a fraction of the 20,000 eligible residents and building owners bothered to take part in a special program designed to protect them from toxic World Trade Center dust.

In a report released last Wednesday, the GAO said that the Environmental Protection Agency used faulty methodology when it reported the results of a residential cleanup program in Lower Manhattan in 2002 and 2003. In that program, more than 4,000 residences in the area where decontaminated. At the time, the EPA reported that only a fraction of the air samples taken from those dwellings showed unsafe levels of asbestos. What the Agency did not admit at the time was that the vast majority of those samples came from homes that had previously been through the decontamination process.


Nursing Home Abuse: Neglect, Physical and Even Sexual Abuse are the Harsh Realities Facing Today’s Elderly

The revolting reality of Nursing Home Abuse is on the rise. Though it concedes that the true number is probably much higher, The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates at least one in 20 nursing home patients has been the victim of abuse. There are nearly 1.4 million Americans that are living in nursing homes right now, and that number expected to more than double in the next decade. As it does, advocates for the elderly and disabled fear that incidences of abuse will continue to climb as well.

Unfortunately, a nursing home is not always the place of respite and healing it should be. According to the National Center’s study, 57% of nurses’ aides working in long-term care facilities admitted to witness, and even participating in, acts of nursing home abuse. The report sites systemic problems within the nursing home industry, like inadequate pay for workers and chronic understaffing, as contributing to the epidemic of abuse.


Eli Lilly Settles Zyprexa Lawsuit; Attempts to Shift Blame to Legal Advertising

Eli Lilly, the makers of Zyprexa announced it had settled another 900 lawsuits against its anti-psychotic medication Zyprexa, on that very same day Eli Lilly was claiming that legal advertisements where hurting patients. The company asserts that a recent study showed that patients using Zyprexa were more likely to abruptly stop taking it once they were exposed to legal advertising highlighting its harmful side effects. The study, which Eli Lilly paid for, surveyed only 402 patients – a small number considering that an estimated 2 million people may be using Zyprexa.

While they agree that patients should never stop a medication without first consulting their physician, many plaintiff attorneys were incredulous at Eli Lilly’s claims. They point out that the company itself was slow to warn patients that Zyprexa could cause diabetes and high blood sugar. Even the FDA, the federal agency that is supposed to insure drug safety, often takes too long to inform the public of drug dangers.


Salmonella Tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter Caused Indiana Girl to Suffer Sever Kidney Damage – Family Sues

An 11-year-old girl who is now in need of a kidney transplant was one of two plaintiffs to file suit against ConAgra Foods last week, saying that the company’s Salmonella-tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter was to blame for her kidney failure. Her case is only the latest of what legal experts say will be hundreds of lawsuits stemming from ConAgra’s recall of contaminated peanut butter earlier this year.

Krystina Burgh, the little girl named in the Indiana suit, first became ill in January 2007 with what her parents thought was a stomach flu. Unfortunately, her symptoms became worse and she had to be hospitalized. Krystina was found to be suffering from Salmonella, a food-borne illness that causes serious vomiting and diarrhea. The lawsuit alleges that, that her disease was extremely severe and progressed to the point of damaging her kidneys. Krystina’s parents say that her symptoms appeared shortly after she had eaten Peter Pan Peanut Butter. The jar their daughter had been eating from had a product code that started with 211, indicating that the peanut butter came from the same infected lot that Con-Agra would end up recalling in February.


Composix Kugel Hernia Mesh Patch Left on the Market Even After Maker Davol Inc. had Knowledge That Defective Spring Could Cause Death

Considering how dangerous a hernia can turn out, the public needs to be aware of the treatment options available. One way to treat it is to operate on and repair the afflicted area followed by applying a Composix Kugel Mesh Patch that will act as a mechanism to aid in the stretching and movement of muscle. The process is painful and difficult to go through.

Unfortunately, those suffering from this debilitating condition are being done an injustice by the company Davol, Inc. based out of Rhode Island. Davol makes the Bard Composix Kugel Hernia Mesh Patch which is used to treat hernias that usually occur where a previous incision has been made on the body. The patch has a recoil spring that helps it to be folded and inserted, after which it is supposed to spring open and flatten. Davol, Inc. began recalling the patches in January of 2007 after the springs in the patches began to break. The breaking of the spring caused serious and fatal injuries including bowel perforation and death.


Drug Companies & Continuing Medical Education: It’s Not Really About The Teaching

A report released last month by the Senate Finance Committee revealed a dirty little secret about pharmaceutical marketing. Drug companies are bribing doctors to prescribe certain medications. But pharmaceutical companies are not exactly slipping physicians envelopes stuffed with cash – their approach is far more subtle and effective than that. Instead, drug manufactures are footing the bill for Continuing Medical Education. In addition to the coursework, these programs often provide those attending with lavish meals and myriad “freebies” that promote the sponsoring company’s products. As a result, my physicians end up prescribing medications based not on what is best for their patient, but on the biased information they receive at drug company-sponsored classes and lectures.

Last year, pharmaceutical companies spent over $1 billion on CME courses. That’s a lot of money, so it should come as no real surprise that many of these courses are thinly disguised marketing ploys But according to the Finance Committee’s report, the effects go much deeper. During its investigation, the Finance Committee found that drug companies were using CMEs to influence clinical practice guidelines and Medicaid formularies. That finding was particularly disturbing to the Committees Chairman, Max Baucus (D-Mont.). “American taxpayers spend billions of dollars every year on drug treatments for Medicaid and Medicare patients, and those dollars must be spent wisely,” said Baucus. “Medical Education funded by drug companies has to be real education, not a soft-sell designed to sway treatment decisions.”





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