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Deepwater Horizon’s History of Error and Malfunction

As the Deepwater Horizon oil rig continues to spew 210,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, the Associated Press takes a look at the rig’s history. Its nine years in operation have seen many smaller spills and fires caused by human error, malfunctioning equipment and weather. The article does not attempt to […]

J&J to pay $81.5 million for Off-Label Marketing of Topamax

Two subsidiaries of the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $81 million to settle a case accusing them of illegally promoting the epilepsy drug Topamax for psychiatric conditions, the Department of Justice announced Thursday. Pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to promote drugs for uses that have not been approved by the Food […]

One-Third of Schools May Contain Toxic PCBs

A new report by a Harvard School of Public Health professor suggests one-third of all schools built 30 to 50 years ago contain the toxic compounds known as polychlorinated biphenol, or PCBs. From the 1950s to the late 1970s, PCBs were used in caulk and paint — this period was also a time of accelerated […]

Two New Crib Recalls Announced

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced recalls of two different brands of cribs that pose suffocation and injury risks. About 217,000 Graco-branded drop-side cribs were recalled Thursday because infants and toddlers can become wedged between the drop side and crib mattress and suffocate. The cribs’ drop sides also have been reported to break free. The […]

Mining Notes: Second Miner Dies in Ky., Massey Under Criminal Probe, Potential MSHA Bribery

Rescue workers recovered the body of a second coal miner killed in a collapse at a Kentucky mine with a history of safety violations. Since January 2009, state and federal inspectors have issued more than 40 closing orders for the mine because of safety problems. The mine is owned by Alliance Resource Partners. The company’s […]

Australia Proposes Plain Packaging for Cigarettes

The Australian government announced on Thursday strict new restrictions on tobacco packaging and advertising, and a higher tax on tobacco products. Tobacco companies are highly critical of the proposed packaging rule, which would make Australia the first nation to require that cigarettes come in plain boxes, free of colorful brand names or images. Philip Morris […]

Toyota Offers Fix for Lexus SUV, Resumes Sales

Toyota announced Thursday that it has resumed sales of its 2010 Lexus GX 460 after issuing a software upgrade that addresses stability issues that could cause the sport utility vehicle to roll over. The announcement comes a day after Toyota recalled 50,000 2003 Sequoia SUVs because of stability issues and just two weeks after Consumer […]

Oil Spill Safeguard Used in Other Nations Not Required in U.S.

A remote shut-off device used in two other major oil-producing nations as a last-resort safety measure to prevent underwater oil spills is not required in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports. The device, known as an acoustic switch, is activated from off-site when a platform is damaged and the primary shut-off system doesn’t […]

Oil Slick Spreading Across Gulf of Mexico, Toward Coast

As oil from the last week’s drilling rig explosion spreads across the Gulf of Mexico toward coastal states, the federal government and the state of Louisiana are trying to respond to what could be a larger spill than the 1990 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. President Obama has sent the secretaries of the Interior and […]

As ‘No Phone Zone Day’ Nears, California Drivers Still Texting

Federal agencies, corporations and Oprah Winfrey are teaming up to make Friday the first official phone-free-while-driving day. They are calling it “No Phone Zone Day” and will include events promoting distraction-free driving and a national pledge to stop using phones while behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 6,000 drivers are killed […]