Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates

Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates

After a long downward trend, U.S. traffic deaths are on the rise again, and a key factor is the stubbornly high fatality toll among some of the most exposed people on the road: motorcyclists. Nevertheless, federal regulators have balked at requiring a safety measure that, many experts say, could save hundreds of bikers’ lives every…

Cone of Silence on Enforcement News from U.S. Labor Department

Cone of Silence on Enforcement News from U.S. Labor Department

Editor's note: See update at bottom of story.

In November, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced fines against businesses with workers who were killed when they were pulled into a wood chipper, burned in a refinery fire and crushed in collapsing grain bins and construction trenches. In all, OSHA issued 33 enforcement news releases that month, and over 50 more from…

Have a Strong News Tip? Let Us Hear from You

Have a Strong News Tip? Let Us Hear from You

If you have newsworthy information, FairWarning would like to hear from you. Please bear in mind that we focus mainly on these topics: public health and environment, workplace safety, hazardous products and consumer protection. Also, FairWarning does not cover local issues–only those of wider impact.

With the Trump promise to cut regulatory burdens, federal agencies with oversight of public health, environmental protection, and workplace and product safety are likely to face upheaval. We would like to hear from federal workers about any significant changes in enforcement, research and rule-making activities.

You can get in touch with us via email at newstips@fairwarning.org, or by calling us at these numbers:

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You can also write to us at:

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FairWarning Investigates

Novel Strategy for Dealing with Toxic Contamination: Do Nothing FairWarining Investigates

Novel Strategy for Dealing with Toxic Contamination: Do Nothing

At toxic cleanup sites across the country, environmental agencies have allowed groundwater contamination to go untreated and slowly diminish over time—a strategy that saves money for polluters but could cost taxpayers dearly and jeopardize drinking water supplies.

The strategy is called monitored natural attenuation, or MNA. With little public awareness or debate, it has come into increasing use nationally since the 1990s as a way to cope with the enormous cost of some groundwater cleanups.

Despite the imposing bureaucratic name, it basically means keeping a watchful eye while natural processes purge groundwater of chemical pollution. According to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, it’s an acceptable approach under some ...

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 ...

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FairWarning Reports

Johnson & Johnson Wins Its First Talc-Ovarian Cancer Case FairWarining Reports

Johnson & Johnson Wins Its First Talc-Ovarian Cancer Case

Breaking a string of lopsided courtroom defeats, Johnson & Johnson scored a legal victory Friday when a St. Louis jury rejected the claim of an ovarian cancer victim that her use of talc powders for feminine hygiene caused the disease. The defense verdict in St. Louis Circuit Court followed three plaintiffs’ victories last year with…

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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…