Battling Menthol Restrictions, R.J. Reynolds Reaches Out to Sharpton, Other Black Leaders

Battling Menthol Restrictions, R.J. Reynolds Reaches Out to Sharpton, Other Black Leaders

Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, the top seller of the menthol cigarettes favored by most black smokers, is seizing on the hot button issue of police harassment of blacks to counter efforts by public health advocates to restrict menthol sales. In recent months, the company has quietly enlisted black groups and leaders, including civil rights activist…

In the Drive for Robot Cars, Will Regulators Keep Their Hands on the Wheel?

In the Drive for Robot Cars, Will Regulators Keep Their Hands on the Wheel?

Few cabinet members can claim the distinction of shaping a revolution. But that opportunity will fall to Elaine Chao, President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Transportation. She assumes her new role at the dawn of the autonomous motor vehicle era, which promises to truly revolutionize the movement of people and goods by road…

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FairWarning Investigates

Brain Boosters a Gold Mine for Supplements Industry But Benefits Are Hotly Disputed FairWarining Investigates

Brain Boosters a Gold Mine for Supplements Industry But Benefits Are Hotly Disputed

A few years ago, motivated by a family history of dementia, Bea Pena-Reames began using a dietary supplement that promised improved memory and brain health. It was advertised as safe and effective - but that was not her experience.

“I’m typically a joyful person, but I couldn’t shake this depression and intense sense of sadness,” said Pena-Reames, 56, a former high school biology teacher who lives in north Texas. “I was getting angry at the drop of a hat.”

Loosely regulated dietary supplements of the sort Pena-Reames took have found a rich vein of acceptance among middle-age and older Americans increasingly worried about losing their mental acuity.

Thanks ...

OSHA's Wall of Shame FairWarining Investigates

OSHA’s Wall of Shame

With Limited Staff, Agency Targets 'Severe Violators'

Soon after beginning their cleanup of a fume-filled tanker car at an Omaha, Neb., rail maintenance yard, Adrian LaPour and Dallas Foulk were dead.

An explosion that April 2015 afternoon trapped LaPour in a flash fire inside the car and hurled Foulk out the top to his death.

Six months later their employer, Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services, was hammered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration with seven citations for “egregious, willful” workplace violations, along with 26 other charges. The agency proposed fines of nearly $1 million. To top it off, OSHA announced that it was tossing the company into its Severe ...

They're Everywhere! FairWarining Investigates

They’re Everywhere!

Big Companies in Legal Scrapes Turn to Science-for-Hire Giant Exponent

The Fall of Icarus is the Greek myth about a youth who gets a pair of wax-and-feather wings but soars too close to the sun--melting the wings and casting him into the sea.

In the 1990s, a consulting firm called Failure Analysis Associates ran tongue-in-cheek ads aimed at corporate lawyers that retold the myth as a courtroom drama. The arty-looking promos boasted that Failure's expert testimony in “Icarus vs. Wax Aviation” would put the onus on pilot error, getting the company off the hook.

The formula has turned the firm, now named Exponent, Inc., into a publicly traded giant in litigation defense and regulatory ...

A Moving Story FairWarining Investigates

A Moving Story

Crooked Movers Victimize Consumers and Usually Get Away With It

Gwen Caplan’s nightmare began with a Yelp search.

It was the summer of 2012 and the middle-aged mother of two was looking for someone to move her and her kids from San Rafael, Calif., to Glendale, Ariz. Money was tight, so Caplan scoured the web for an affordable but reputable moving company.

Her search unearthed several moving companies. One was called America’s Best Movers. It had terrible reviews online. “I said to myself, ‘It’s a good thing I used Yelp. I'm not going to use these people,’ ” Caplan would later tell a criminal grand jury.

Eventually, she found a company in San Jose called ...

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FairWarning Reports

Ketchup or PFAS With Those Fries? FairWarining Reports

Ketchup or PFAS With Those Fries?

Researchers Raise Concerns About Chemicals in Fast-Food Packaging

As if cheeseburgers, fries and microwave popcorn weren’t enough of a dietary worry, now comes word that fast-food packaging is also a cause for concern. In a paper published today, federal government and university researchers report finding chemicals from a suspect family of compounds in the wrappers and containers of one out of every three…

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Commentary

FairWarining Commentary

In the Drive for Robot Cars, Will Regulators Keep Their Hands on the Wheel?

Few cabinet members can claim the distinction of shaping a revolution. But that opportunity will fall to Elaine Chao, President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Transportation. She assumes her new role at the dawn of the autonomous motor vehicle era, which promises to truly revolutionize the movement of people and goods by road…

FairWarining Commentary

The Loss of a Consumer Champion

In Memoriam: 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 appellation “sui…

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…