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Latest New York City Crane Collapse Kills Two

Yesterday’s crane collapse in New York City killed two construction workers and left a third seriously injured. Witnesses told CNN the cab and the arm of the crane crashed more than 20 stories to the ground, smashing the penthouse on a building across the street and gouging chunks out of balconies all the way to the ground.  The crane collapse was the second such construction accident in New York City in less than three months.

The victims of yesterday’s tragedy inlcuded the crane operator, Donald Leo, 30, and worker Ramadan Kurtaj, a 27-year-old immigrant from Kosovo who came to New York two years ago. He earned a living laying water and sewer lines, sending his savings home to his parents. Leo was to be married in three weeks. (more…)

Playtex Products Named in BPA Lawsuit

Playtex Products has been named in a lawsuit for using BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical tied to health problems, in its plastic baby bottles. The lawsuit against Playtex seeks a nationwide class action status to represent what it says are thousands of people who bought plastic bottles containing BPA and also claims that Playtex failed to adequately disclose that its plastic bottle products are formulated using BPA. In responding to the lawsuit, a Playtex spokeswoman cited a general statement by the company that says U.S. and worldwide regulatory bodies continue to deem BPA safe.

According to a recent government report developed by a group of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Institutes of Health (NIH), very low doses of BPA cause profound effects on laboratory animals, particularly during pregnancy and infancy and BPA can permanently rewire genetic programming before birth. The federal National Toxicology Program said experiments on rats found precancerous tumors, urinary tract problems, and early puberty when animals were fed or injected with low doses of BPA. The report claims that while such studies provide “limited evidence” of BPA’s risks, the effects on humans “cannot be dismissed.” (more…)

Pfizer Desperate to Save Chantix

Pfizer, desperate to save the reputation of Chantix, has launched a media marketing blitz aimed at downplaying side effects like suicide and heart problems recently linked to the drug. Pfizer is preparing to run ads in the country’s five largest newspapers today, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.com. According to Bloomberg.com, the new ads will feature a letter from Pfizer Chief Medical Officer Joe Feczko telling readers about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of Chantix. It says 44 percent of patients who took Chantix in its clinical trials quit smoking after 12 weeks. The ads also tell patients to stop taking the drug if their mood or behavior changes.

Pfizer is also in the process of sending letters to 300,000 health-care professionals and plans to hold briefings with reporters. In addition, the company will start running television commercials in early June that talk about the importance of quitting smoking without naming Chantix. Pfizer will also submit “opinion” pieces to newspapers meant to address “misconceptions” about the drug. (more…)

CPSC Says Little Tikes toy Cell Phones Pose Choking Hazard

One million Little Tikes Toy Cell Phones have been recalled by Kids Station Toys because the pose a choking hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the hinge cover on the toy cell phone can detach from the phone, posing a choking hazard to young children. There have been three reports of the toy breaking, including one report of a child beginning to choke on a small part.

The Little Tikes Toy Cell Phones should be taken away from children immediately. Consumers should contact Kids Station Toys for information on obtaining a replacement. Kids Station Toys can be reached by calling (888) 620-0930 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or by visiting the firm’s Web site at www.kidsstationtoys.com. (more…)

FDA Recalls ED Remedy

Xiadafil Supplements, a preported “natural” treatment for ED, have been recalled by the FDA because it contains an ingredient found in Viagra. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that SEI Pharmaceuticals of Miami, Florida recall all Xiadafil VIP Tabs sold in eight tablet bottles (Lot # 6K029) or blister cards of two tablets (Lot # 6K029-SEI). Florida officials issued a “stop sale” action at SEI’s Miami distribution facility on May 13 that required SEI to hold—intact—violative Xiadafil VIP Tabs found on-hand at the facility.

The Xiadafil VIP Tabs contain a potentially harmful, undeclared ingredient found in the prescription drug Viagra that may dangerously affect a person’s blood pressure as well as cause other life-threatening side effects. The lots of Xiadafil VIP Tabs containing the potentially dangerous ingredient, bear an expiration date of September 2009 (09/09). Xiadafil VIP Tabs are marketed as a dietary supplement for sexual enhancement and claim to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). (more…)

Children in Toxic FEMA Trailers Could Suffer for Years

The children who lived in toxic Katrina trailers could face years of health problems, including the specter of cancer. Thousands of the trailers were distributed to Hurricane Katrina victims by the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA), and even now, thousands still live in them.  But the FEMA trailers emit toxic formaldehyde fumes, and it is not known how great the public health crises posed by exposure to the chemical could become.

Formaldehyde is an invisible gas that is known to cause cancer. It can also cause other illnesses ranging from nose bleeds to chronic bronchitis. Commonly used in manufactured homes, formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems and has been classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  By 2006, FEMA was getting reports of dangerous levels of formaldehyde in its trailers, but ignored them, until public outcry forced the agency to act. (more…)

Don’t Certify Bus and Truck Drivers on Chantix, Federal Agency Says

Chantix may be too dangerous for bus drivers and truckers, and officials should consider not certifying those who are taking the smoking-cessation drug. The statement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) comes on the heels of a study that linked Chantix to a host of problems, including traffic accidents. It is just the latest problem linked to the Pfizer drug, which has also been linked to psychological side effects, including suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Last week, the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued a report detailing Chantix adverse event repots to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The report specifically cited 224 reports of potential heart-rhythm disturbances, 372 reports of possible movement disorders and 544 reports of likely glycemic problems, including diabetes. There were also reports of a dozen traffic accidents linked to Chantix. The Institute’s report has already gotten the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has banned its use by pilots and air traffic controllers. (more…)

FDA Warns on Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is warning nursing moms to avoid using Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream because it contains dangerous chemicals. According to the FDA, Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream contains chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol that cause respiratory distress, vomiting, and diarrhea in infants. Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream is marketed by MOM Enterprises Inc. of San Rafael, California and is targeted to nursing mothers to help soothe dry or cracked nipples.

“FDA is particularly concerned that nursing infants are being unwittingly exposed by their mothers to this product with dangerous side effects,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Additionally, these two ingredients may interact with one another to further compound and increase the risk of respiratory depression in nursing infants.” (more…)

Once Promising Chantix Could Spell Trouble for Pfizer

Chantix, already linked to suicide, has been tied to other serious side effects. Once considered a success for Pfizer Inc., the smoking cessation drug could soon be a drag on the drugmaker. Many analysts had predicted that Chantix sales could hit $2.28 billion by 2012. But now, the drugs troubles have some rethinking those rosy prognostications. Some analysts have already said forecasts for Chantix sales could be downgraded by as much as 30 percent. Unfortunately for Pfizer, Chantix is the company’s second biggest growth driver, after Lyrica, a drug for fibromyalgia.

Chantix is the first such nicotine receptor partial agonist approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). It was heralded as an alternative to other smoking cessation drugs and nicotine replacement therapy. But since its approval, Chantix has been linked to a number of disturbing side effects. Last Tuesday, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued a report detailing Chantix adverse event repots to the FDA. The report specifically cited 224 reports of potential heart-rhythm disturbances, 372 reports of possible movement disorders and 544 reports of likely glycemic problems, including diabetes. There were also reports of traffic accidents and falls linked to Chantix. The Institute’s report has already gotten the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has banned its use by pilots and air traffic controllers. (more…)

Evacuations after Louisiana Train Derailment

A train derailment over the weekend in Louisiana caused a leak of an estimated 11,000 of hydrocholoric acid. The acid formed a yellowish pool on the ground and spread a large, toxic cloud over Lafayette, about 125 miles west of New Orleans. A Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Company train was responsible for the derailment and spill.An evacuation order was enacted early on Saturday morning after the accident.

The derailment and spill affected a large scope of Louisiana’s Lafayette Parish area and, following the derailment, approximately 3,000 residents and businesses in northwest Lafayette—all those within a one-mile perimeter of the derailment—were displaced. The train was headed to Lake Charles, near Texas and about 75 miles west of Lafayette. The derailment affected not only train workers and local residents, but also many area businesses, forcing such businesses to close down during and following the derailment and chemical spill. A portion of the area remains shut down and those operating within 1,000 feet of the derailment are still under evacuation orders. It is believed no residents are involved in the smaller perimeter area. (more…)

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