The Loss of a Consumer Champion

The Loss of a Consumer Champion

In Memoriam: Clarence Ditlow Clarence Ditlow, the long-time head of the Center for Auto Safety, died last week at the age of 72. His passing triggered an outpouring of tributes from colleagues, friends and others, including these: Ben Kelley, board member of the Center for Auto Safety: There are very few activists who deserve the…

Johnson & Johnson Hammered Again in Talc-Ovarian Cancer Verdict of $70 Million

Johnson & Johnson Hammered Again in Talc-Ovarian Cancer Verdict of $70 Million

Health care products giant Johnson & Johnson suffered another big legal defeat late Thursday, when a St. Louis jury ordered the company and its talc supplier to pay about $70 million in damages to a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the use of talc powders for feminine hygiene. The award marked the third…

FairWarning Investigates

Swarms of Drug Industry Lobbyists and Campaign Cash Stymie Bid to Restrain Medicare Prescription Costs FairWarining Investigates

Swarms of Drug Industry Lobbyists and Campaign Cash Stymie Bid to Restrain Medicare Prescription Costs

See the editor's note at the bottom of this story.

When the Republican-controlled Congress approved a landmark program in 2003 to help seniors buy prescription drugs, it slapped on an unusual restriction: The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for those medicines. Instead, the job of holding down costs was outsourced to the insurance companies delivering the subsidized new coverage, known as Medicare Part D.

The ban on government price bargaining, justified by supporters on free market grounds, has been derided by critics as a giant gift to the drug industry. Democratic lawmakers began introducing bills to free the government to use its ...

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job FairWarining Investigates

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job

Darkness had enveloped the Newell Recycling yard by the time Erik Hilario climbed into a front-end loader on a cold evening in January 2011. Just 19 years old, Hilario, an undocumented immigrant, had followed his father from Mexico to an industrial park in East Point, Ga., near Atlanta, where they worked as low-skilled laborers amid jagged piles of scrap metal bound for the smelter.

Hilario drove to a paved section of the nine-acre yard known as the defueling or car-processing area. Here, according to witnesses in a court case, gasoline was removed from junked cars through a crude process employing a 30-foot crane and ...

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats FairWarining Investigates

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats

Freakish as it may have seemed, the accident that killed 13-month-old Weston Kingsley was hardly unforeseeable.

On the day he died in February 2014, he was buckled into his car seat behind his father, Jonathon Kingsley, who was at the wheel of the family minivan. Jonathon and his wife, Kelsey, of Old Fort, N.C., were driving the older of their two boys to Sunday school.

As they waited to turn left into the church parking lot, a pickup rammed their 2003 Dodge Caravan from behind, according to court papers. The impact caused Jonathon Kingsley’s seat to collapse backward. Weston was bashed in the head and ...

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions FairWarining Investigates

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions

Editor's note: See the update at the bottom of this story.

On a Saturday night in early December, while relaxing at his Martinez, Calif., home, Chinese exchange student Owen Ouyang decided to have some fun. He went out to the front yard and launched a sleek new drone he had recently purchased online for about $1,000.

The 2.8-pound drone, advertised as “easy to fly,” proved anything but. Soon after takeoff, the drone veered dangerously toward a power line. It then climbed more than 700 feet – right into the path of a California Highway Patrol helicopter. A head-on collision was averted ...

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FairWarning Reports

Advocacy Groups Tout Product Hazards Database to Give Consumers a Fair Warning FairWarining Reports

Advocacy Groups Tout Product Hazards Database to Give Consumers a Fair Warning

In the years since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission launched SaferProducts.gov in March 2011, more than 29,000 reports of potentially dangerous products have been filed with the searchable database. Now, five leading consumer groups, have analyzed the data collected on the site, finding that it provides a valuable, but underutilized, resource for anyone buying…

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Commentary

FairWarining Commentary

The Loss of a Consumer Champion

In Memoriam: Clarence Ditlow Clarence Ditlow, the long-time head of the Center for Auto Safety, died last week at the age of 72. His passing triggered an outpouring of tributes from colleagues, friends and others, including these: Ben Kelley, board member of the Center for Auto Safety: There are very few activists who deserve the…

FairWarining Commentary

Miles to Go on Highway Safety

The 50th anniversary of federal auto safety regulation approaches, but there’s not much to celebrate. Signing the regulatory laws on Sept. 9, 1966, President Johnson predicted they would “cure the highway disease.”  They haven’t. The “disease” was a deadly pandemic, and still is. The year the laws were passed, some 50,000 people were killed in…

FairWarining Commentary

When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime

When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When a drunk driver kills an innocent bystander, we treat that death as a criminal act punishable with fines and jail time. When an employer ignores workplace safety and…