In Focus

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,”…

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…

Once Meek Agency Flexes its Muscles, But Likely to Face Pushback Under Trump FairWarining Reports

Once Meek Agency Flexes its Muscles, But Likely to Face Pushback Under Trump

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is trying to change its image, one civil penalty at a time. For decades, the federal agency largely was seen as a doormat with few resources and a toothless enforcement record. But over the past few years, under its chairman, Elliot Kaye, the CPSC has dramatically increased the penalties imposed…

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…

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…

The Loss of a Consumer Champion

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…

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

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…

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…

Death Toll Climbs for Walkers and Cyclists as Traffic Safety Measures Take a Back Seat FairWarining Reports

Death Toll Climbs for Walkers and Cyclists as Traffic Safety Measures Take a Back Seat

More Americans are bicycling or walking to work these days, getting healthy exercise and doing their bit to reduce traffic and air pollution. But with little government investment in safety measures, such as protected bike lanes and sidewalks, more cyclists and pedestrians also are getting killed. Fatalities jumped nationally last year among bicyclists, rising 12.2…

Elliot Kaye FairWarining Reports

Furniture Tip-Over Deaths and Injuries Spur Threat of Federal Action

The chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission threatened Wednesday to hit furniture makers with mandatory federal rules if the industry doesn’t strengthen its voluntary standards to prevent its products from tipping over and killing children. “The current standard just does not get the job done and it needs to be revised now,” said…