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Kansas Oil Spill at Coffeyville Resources Refinery Blamed on Open Valve

Employees at the Coffeyville Resources Refinery in Kansas failed to close a valve on one of the plant’s storage tanks during emergency shutdown procedures, an oversight that allowed more than 71,000 gallons of crude oil into the town of Coffeyville, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said. But refinery management disputes that finding, claiming that an “act of God” and not human error was to blame for the massive oil spill.

The June 30 oil spill occurred as the town was bracing for a massive flood. Coffeyville Resources was attempting to shut down the refinery before it was inundated with flood waters. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management said during the flood, oil continued to pour oil into a larger storage tank, and that tank eventually overflowed. The problem was not noticed for several hours. The state’s investigation found that one valve was not closed by plant employees during the emergency shutdown, allowing the oil to escape.

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Barton Solvents Plant Explosion Evacuees Begin to Receive Reimbursement

Barton Solvents, the owner of the Valley Center, Kansas solvent plant that exploded on July 18, has begun issuing reimbursement checks to residents who evacuated the town following the blast. So, far the company has issued nearly 1500 checks, and plans to issue more in the coming days. Barton Solvents also announced plans to help business owners affected by the plant explosion with their losses.

The reimbursements were issued over a three day period last week. Valley Center residents who were forced to flee their homes in the wake of the plant explosion could be reimbursed in one of two ways. They could receive a per diem rate for each day they were out of their homes if they stayed with family or friends, or they could receive money for hotel rooms, meals and other expenses if they presented receipts for those items. Another reimbursement session will be held for residents who could not make last week’s meetings. Barton Solvents will not say how much money it distributed so far.

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Con Edison Steam Pipe Explosion Burn Victim’s Mother Wants Answers from the NYC Utility

The mother of a man seriously burned by the Con Edison steam pipe explosion in New York City says that she holds the utility responsible for his injuries. Gregory McCullough, 21, was in his tow truck when it was swallowed up by the crater created by the steam pipe blast. The 200-degree vapor that enveloped him as the result of the Con Ed steam pipe explosion burned over 80-percent of his body.

At a news conference yesterday, Tanya McCullough-Stewart said that her son was more than a tow truck driver. She said that before the Con Edison steam pipe exploded on July 18 her son had been full of life. McCullough was a student at New York City Technical College, a member of the Marine Cadet Program, worked as an intern at a local TV station and attended church on Sundays with his family. Today, McCullough is a patient at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center burn unit, where he lays in a medically induced coma to control his pain. McCullough has already undergone several surgeries, and will need many more. His mother said doctors have told her that her son could be in the coma for several months because of the burns he sustained from the steam pipe vapors.

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Ginger Laced with Pesticides Recalled: China’s Latest Potentially Deadly Export

Fresh ginger laced with pesticides is the latest Chinese import to face a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall. The tainted ginger was discovered by California inspectors over the weekend, and on Monday, the state issued a warning against eating the product imported from China. The FDA ordered the recall after it was discovered that the ginger had been shipped to stores in California, Michigan, Oregon, Louisiana and Washington.

California health officials found potentially harmful levels of the pesticide aldicarb sulfoxide in fresh ginger from China that was distributed by the Christopher Ranch food company in Gilroy, California. The ginger was sent to stores in boxes labeled to show it came from China, but there is a chance that it was placed in store produce bins without labels. For this reason, California authorities are warning people not to eat any fresh ginger unless they can be certain it did not come from China.

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Avandia the Defective Drug and it’s Maker GlaxoSmithKline Under Heat Lamp

Patients using Avandia do face a greater risk of heart attack, and the diabetes drug should bear the strictest Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warning possible, said an FDA Advisory Panel investigating the medication’s safety. But the panel stopped short of recommending that Avandia be pulled from the market, even as one of its own members urged it to do so.

That member, FDA Safety Reviewer Dr. David Graham, contended that any increased cardiac risk was unacceptable. In the past, Dr. Graham has blasted Avandia safety trails conducted by GlaxoSmithKline as being “useless”. In his testimony, Dr. Graham argued that because most diabetes patients will eventually die from heart problems, any drug that raises heart attack risk is too dangerous.

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FEMA Knew Katrina Trailers Were Toxic, But Ignored Danger on Advice of Lawyers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to test the toxic trailers of Hurricane Katrina refugees on the advice of their lawyers. Toxic formaldehyde is reported to have been seeping into these trailers. As many as 120,000 families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were provided with these trailers by FEMA.

Formaldehyde is a wood preservative commonly used in construction materials such as particle board. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), exposure to formaldehyde can cause respiratory and vision problems. Long term exposure can also cause cancer and higher rates of asthma, bronchitis, mouth and nasal tumors, and allergies in children and pets.

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Botulism-Tainted Castleberry’s Chili Linked to Illnesses in California, Hawaii

Chili recalled by Castleberry’s Food may be to blame for several reported cases of botulism poisoning in two states. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that a San Diego woman has been diagnosed with botulism, while two people in Hawaii have exhibited symptoms of the disease. All three victims reported eating a recalled Castleberry’s canned chili product.

The Castleberry’s recall was initiated on July 18 after four cases of botulism poisoning were tied to the company’s hot dog chili sauces. Tests had confirmed that two Texas children and an Indiana couple were suffering from the disease. All four of those victims had eaten one of Castleberry’s hot dog sauces. The recall was later expanded to include 90 types of sauces, beans, stew, chili, hash and pet foods produced at the company’s plant. Castleberry’s said that all of the items came from one malfunctioning processing line at its plant in Augusta, Georgia.

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Johnson & Johnson Settles Duragesic Patch Lawsuit for $2.5 Million

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settle wrongful death claims involving its Duragesic pain-killing patch for more than $2.5 million, according to Bloomberg.com. The settlement, paid to the family of a Florida man who overdosed on the opiod painkiller fentanyl while wearing the patch in 2003, was the first awarded by Johnson & Johnson in a case involving the Duragesic patch. Hundreds more wrongful death suits are still in the works.

“The settlement indicates that Johnson & Johnson realizes the seriousness of these cases and that they have to pay serious money to resolve them,” Alex MacDonald, a lawyer based in Boston, told Bloomberg.com. MacDonald has four cases involving Duragesic overdoses set to go to trial next year, while as many as 300 to 400 more similar suits have been filed, according to Bloomberg.

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Avandia’s Fate to be Decided by Today by FDA Advisory Panel

Avandia, the widely-used diabetes drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Plc. that has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks in diabetes patients, could be removed from the market by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a meeting held today that will review contrasting studies about its risks, according to Steven Nissen, chairmen of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

Nissen, the author of a study that showed diabetics taking Avandia had a 43-percent higher risk of heart attack than those taking competing drugs, told CBS’s The Early Show that he thought the FDA could take one of three courses at today’s meeting: take no action at all, remove Avandia from the market completely, or require the world’s best selling diabetes drug to come with a strong warning label. Wall Street analysts following GlaxoSmithKline agreed there was a chance that Avandia could be removed from distribution, according to the Associated Press.

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The Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch: A Disturbing History

Since 2005, Kugel Mesh Hernia Patches have been recalled three separate times by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to a malfunction with the memory recoil ring that often caused patients to suffer serious injury.

Before the Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch was introduced to us, hernias were fixed through a process known as “tension repair.” The tension repair process caused problems in patients when the muscle tissue would tear open again after the procedure was finished. Dr. Robert D. Kugel created the Kugel Mesh Patch to help out with the recovery process after surgeries and cut back on reappearing hernias. Today, more than 700,000 surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. to repair hernias, which can develop in the groin, near the navel or anywhere a surgical incision is at.

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