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The Hard Truth About the Softest Mineral

Tougher Testing Sought to Detect Asbestos in Talc

We use talc in many up close and personal ways: to powder babies’ bottoms, as an ingredient in cosmetics, a filler in capsules and pills–even as a food additive. In a world of ominous, unpronounceable chemicals, could anything be less scary than talc? Yet talc, the softest known mineral, is dug from the ground, where […]

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Marsha Dau FairWarining Investigates

Jailhouse Medicine

A Private Contractor Flourishes Despite Controversy Over Inmate Deaths

In July 2011, a jailhouse nurse in Imperial County, Calif., found inmate Marsha Dau lying naked and dazed on the concrete floor. Charged with illegally transporting aliens, Dau, 58, recently had been exhibiting strange and aggressive behavior. For her own safety, the jail put her in an empty, beige cell with no clothes. Now, three days later, she was on her back, semi-conscious and pale.

The nurse who found her was Elisa Pacheco, an employee of the California Forensic Medical Group, a private company that provides correctional medical services to rural counties like Imperial, near the Mexico border. Pacheco later would testify Dau looked dehydrated. ...

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Collision Course: With Wary Eye on Big Trucks, Bike Riders Seek Safe Space on City Streets

On a July afternoon in New Orleans last year, Philip Geeck was riding his bicycle in a marked bike lane on a busy street. Approaching an intersection, he came up alongside a tractor-trailer truck hauling a tank of chemicals. Geeck, 52, was at the 18-wheeler's midpoint when suddenly, without signaling, the truck began to turn right, witnesses say.

Victor Pizarro was driving nearby and watched in horror as the scene unfolded. He saw a look of confusion on Geeck's face as the trailer came toward him. Geeck, an experienced cyclist known to his friends as “Geric,” tried to get away from the truck but couldn't make ...

Talc-Ovarian Cancer Link Sparks Growing Legal Battle FairWarining Investigates

Talc-Ovarian Cancer Link Sparks Growing Legal Battle

Deane Berg’s doctor called her in the day after Christmas, 2006, to give her the crushing news. She’d had her ovaries removed, the pathology results were back, and they could not have been much worse. Berg had stage III ovarian cancer, and her prognosis was poor. Despite her 25 years as a physician’s assistant, Berg, then 49, knew next to nothing about ovarian cancer. Grappling with the “why me?” question, she studied the risk factors […]

Erin Shero and her youngest son, Colton Shero, in the spring of 2013, about five months before the toddler was fatally strangled by a window cord blind. ‘“My son died in less time than it takes to pop a bag of popcorn,” Shero said. FairWarining Investigates

Years of Talking, Kids Still Dying

Strangulation Hazard From Window Blind Cords

After fixing a quick snack for her children one day in October 2013, Erin Shero returned to the downstairs playroom of her suburban Chattanooga, Tenn., home. She wanted to check on the youngest of her five kids, Colton, who was two days away from his second birthday.

Thinking he was asleep, Shero reached down to pick up Colton -- only to discover a window blind cord wound tightly around his neck. A medical examiner later determined that Colton was killed in less than a minute. "My son died in less time than it takes to pop a bag of popcorn," Shero said.

American children have been dying ...

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Watchdog Finds That Nearly 1 in 5 OSHA Whistleblower Probes Are Flawed

Federal officials responsible for protecting whistleblowers and examining their claims of employer retaliation are mishandling nearly one in five of their investigations, a government watchdog reports. A review by the inspector general of the U.S. Labor Department found that 18 percent of the investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lack one or more […]

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FairWarining Commentary

Older Cars Left Behind When Safety Motors Ahead

Federal auto safety regulations cover new cars, of course. But what about older cars? Of the more than 250 million vehicles on the roads, three-quarters are more than five years old, according to the data firm IHS Automotive, and more than 50 million are pre-1999 models. They met the government’s safety rules when they were […]

Did the Labor Department’s ‘Hot Goods’ Crackdown on Farmers Go Too Far?

The federal Department of Labor has for decades used a little-noted enforcement tool to compel employers to observe laws governing minimum wages, overtime pay and child labor. The enforcement tool is known at the “hot goods” provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which lets the Labor Department bar an employer from selling or shipping […]

‘Stand Up to Cancer’ Not Standing Up to Cigarette Promoters

In three previous national telethons, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars for cancer research. Contributions to the “War on Cancer” pledged in the fourth such telethon on September 5 would seem to be welcome. But several sponsors that were praised in the telecast appear to be doing […]