Consumer Protection

    Safety Agency Tied in Knots in Bid to Prevent Harm to Children from Powerful Magnets 

    In May, a nine-year old girl was taken to the emergency room after swallowing three powerful magnets that punched holes through her intestines. Such tiny rare earth magnets were to have been banned several years ago to prevent just this kind of life-threatening injury. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission was blocked by litigation that was decided in the agency’s favor just weeks ago.   

      Warning Wire

      U.S. Averaging 71,000 New Covid Cases a Day as Trump Chief of Staff Says We Won’t Control the Pandemic

      The U.S. has averaged at least 71,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the past week, more than at any other point during the pandemic. More than 8.7 million people have contracted the virus, and about 226,000 have died.

      Recent Stories

        Consumer Protection

        In the Cannabis Patch, a Patchwork of Safety Standards–and in Some Cases None At All

        Although 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational or medical use, there still are no uniform standards for regulating potentially harmful contaminants. And with five more states voting this November on whether to allow cannabis for the first time, the problem will only grow. 

          Consumer Protection

          String of Fatal Poisonings from Ingestion of Toxic Hand Sanitizer Highlights Limits of FDA Powers

          Faced with a shortage of the usual active ingredient in hand sanitizer during the pandemic, some companies turned to a toxic alternative -- with sometimes fatal results.

            Environment

            EPA Takes a Back Seat as Citizens Confront the Plastics Industry Over an Insidious Pollutant

            The plastics industry has presented itself as a constructive force in battling plastic pollution, while blaming the problem on messy consumers and weak disposal and recycling programs. Whatever the weight of that argument, it falls apart when it comes to tiny plastic pellets, which have escaped into waterways by the countless billions as a result of failures by industry, not consumers.

              Environment

              The Struggle to Crack Down on a Cottage Industry Sabotaging Vehicle Pollution Controls

              Sales of ''defeat devices" that nullify emission controls in cars and trucks have exploded. The EPA estimates that they have been illegally installed on more than 500,000 diesel pickups. That's resulted in hundreds of thousands of extra tons of airborne pollutants that have been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart attacks and strokes. 

                Transportation Safety

                Safety Advocates Assail Lack of Federal Action on Weak Vehicle Seats

                Andrew Warner was driving his family home from a Christmas party near Houston when they were rear-ended. Warner’s seat buckled, slamming backward and killing his infant daughter, Taylor. Seatback failures caused by rear collisions have been injuring and killing people for decades.  Experts say the safety standard for seat strength is so weak that a lawn chair could pass.

                  Public Health

                  States Are Trying to Cap the Price of Insulin. Big Drug Companies Are Pushing Back

                  Spurred by stories that diabetics are spending thousands of dollars a year on insulin, or even dying trying to ration it, lawmakers in at least 36 states are trying to tackle the issue. But the lawmakers are finding that the drug industry is working full-time to weaken or kill insulin price caps.

                    Public Health

                    Growing Calls for FDA to Speed Approval of Quick, At-Home Coronavirus Tests

                    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is under fire for setting what critics say are near-impossible standards for quick, at-home Covid-19 tests that could provide a breakthrough in stemming the spread of the virus.

                      Labor

                      Some Workers Sickened by Covid-19 Face an Extra Burden: Proving Where They Got It

                      Covid-19 sent Sylvia LeRoy, a pregnant nurse working at a Brooklyn hospital in the earliest days of the pandemic, into a tailspin that left her barely responsive in a brain recovery center in Pennsylvania. The coronavirus hit the 35-year-old

                        Public Health

                        Moving Away from Fossil Fuel: The Escalating Push for Setbacks From Drilling Sites

                        Experts say that more than a decade of research—including several new studies—makes it clear that existing buffer zones from oil and gas wells are inadequate to protect public health. Now, political pressure to push oil and gas wells as far as a half-mile from homes and other buildings is peaking across the country, over industry alarm that such measures amount to a de facto ban on drilling.