California initiative to raise cigarette taxes narrowly trailing. The measure to increase taxes by $1 a pack, Proposition 29, was behind 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent this morning with results in from all precincts. That reflected a gap of about 63,000 votes out of 3.8 million cast. Many observers said the measure’s fate, however, remained too close to call because counting will continue in the coming days on what may be hundreds of thousands mailed-in, dropped-off or provisional ballots. California hasn’t raised tobacco taxes since 2000. Polling in March showed strong backing for the measure, which would funnel money into cancer research, but opposition later grew amid an advertising blitz by Big Tobacco. The Sacramento Bee, The Associated Press

Walt Disney Co. bans junk-food ads. Disney said that all products advertised on its child-focused television channels, radio stations and websites must comply with a strict new set of nutritional standards. The restrictions on ads extend to Saturday-morning cartoons on ABC stations owned by Disney. Products like Capri Sun drinks and Kraft Lunchables meals — both current Disney advertisers — along with a wide range of candy, sugared cereal and fast food, will be affected. The initiative, which Disney revealed at a Washington news conference with First Lady Michelle Obama, also will reduce the amount of sodium by 25 percent in the 12 million children’s meals served annually at its theme parks. The New York Times

Investigators blame motor coach driver’s severe fatigue in crash that killed 15 in New York. In its final report on the accident last year in the Bronx,  the National Transportation Safety Board said the driver, Ophadell Williams Jr., barely slept in the 72 hours before the accident. The NTSB also found that the World Wide Tours bus driven by  Williams, which was returning from a Connecticut casino, was speeding through a 50 mph zone on Interstate 95 when it crashed. The NTSB faulted World Wide, which closed after the accident and whose assets were absorbed by another company, for failing to adequately screen and oversee drivers. Williams is charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. The Wall Street Journal, Newsday

Researchers link flame retardant to obesity, anxiety and developmental problems. The findings come from the first independent study of Firemaster 550, a flame retardant commonly added to furniture and baby products that was promoted as safe by industry and government officials. The research on baby rats showed, among other things, that those whose mothers ate tiny amounts of the product gained significantly more weight than others that weren’t exposed. “This raises red flags about a widely used chemical that we know little about,” said a Duke University chemist who co-authored the study. “What we do know is, it’s common in house dust and that people, especially kids, are being exposed to it.” Chicago Tribune

Arkansas seafood processing plant faces up to $156,700 in workplace safety penalties. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited 27 safety violations at a Fayetteville, Ark., plant of New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods Group. OSHA said the company, among other things, exposed employees to inhaling ammonia and failed to ensure that emergency exits were unlocked. Separately, OSHA cited Brown-Campbell Co., a specialty steel company, on 19 violations at its Maple Heights, Ohio plant and proposed fines of $64,400. The agency also accused a Lemont, Ill., roofing contractor, Woodridge Enterprises,  of lacking fall protection at two Illinois job sites and proposed $54,120 in fines. OSHA

Recalls: West Marine Products folding deck chairsReumofan Plus dietary supplements

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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2 comments to “Wednesday”

  1. Chris

    Well, I think we all agree that this data analysis is inrseetting and warrants further study. The other thing on my mind is the possibility of a small numbers issue here. One comparison could be the US airline industry. The FAA produces a large number of warnings, levies some moderate number of fines, but there are relatively few catastrophic accidents. Just because an airline received a large number of warnings or even a large fine does not necessary translate to the number of catastrophic incidents (which is a very small number).Is the same true for the oil industry? Don’t know the answer! However, if someone wants to fund an independent agency/thinktank to look at these types of issues, I would gladly work there.

  2. Charter Bus

    I love the idea of the junk food commercial bans, this should have been done a long time ago.

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