Wednesday

Safety Board Urges All States to Require Devices to Lock Out Drunk Drivers

Advisory group seeks nationwide use of interlocks to prevent repeat drunk driving offenses. The nonbinding recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board would apply to all people convicted of drunk driving and is aimed at the 33 states that don’t currently require interlock devices for such offenders. Interlocks are typically mounted on the vehicle’s dashboard, and require motorists to breathe into them to test whether they have consumed alcohol. The device won’t allow the vehicle to start until the motorist passes the test. Overall, about 10,000 die each year in accidents with drunken drivers. “Technology is the game-changer in reducing alcohol-related crashes on our nation’s roadways,” said the head of the safety board. USA Today, Los Angeles Times

Class-action lawsuit  to spotlight military experiments that tested chemical weapons on U.S. soldiers. The secret experiments were carried out in the Cold War years on nearly 5,000 soldiers at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. The lawsuit, due to go to trial next year, questions whether the Army, out of military urgency or scientific dabbling, recklessly endangered the lives of its soldiers—naive men, mostly, who were deceived or pressured into submitting to the risky experiments. For some of the surviving test subjects, and for the doctors who tested them, what happened remains unresolved. The tested drugs ranged from tear gas and LSD to highly lethal nerve agents like VX, which was developed at Edgewood and later sought by Saddam Hussein. The New Yorker 

3 House Democrats demand tougher action against hair care products with excessive formaldehyde. Lawmakers Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois made their case in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration. The letter, which focuses on the hair straightener Brazilian Blowout, demands that the FDA provide answers on how it is investigating complaints that the treatment has sickened some stylists and customers. Last year the FDA warned the makers of Brazilian Blowout  for mislabeling the product as formaldehyde-free, but the agency hasn’t gone further. In California, warning labels are required. The National Academy of Sciences considers formaldehyde a human carcinogen. The Oregonian, The Boston Globe 

Obama administration delays rules for fracking on federal lands. Officials said they need more time to evaluate public comment on the proposals, which will expand the government’s oversight of natural gas drilling. Final rules were due this year but now they are expected to be ready next year. The Interior Department in May unveiled a draft version of the regulations, which would require drillers to get approval before using the controversial fracking technique and to reveal the chemicals they use in the process. The rules would not affect drilling on private lands, where most fracking takes place, but the Obama administration has said it hopes the regulations will provide a template for states to use in their own oversight of energy drilling operations. Reuters

Chicken processing plant in Texas accused of exposing workers to potential chemical hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused a Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. operation in Lufkin, Texas of seven violations, including three repeat offenses, and proposed penalties of $99,000. The agency cited flaws in safety management practices intended to prevent “the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases.” OSHA said the plant also failed to properly label containers with hazardous chemicals. Greeley, Colo.-based Pilgrim’s Pride, a chicken processor and distributor, operates in 12 states and employs 33,000 workers, including 1,400 at the Lufkin plant. OSHA, The Lufkin News

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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