Public Citizen calls for regulatory action against maker of a fat-melting medical device. The consumer advocacy group made its request in letters to the Food and Drug Administration and authorities in five states. It concerned a device, known as the LipoTron 3000 or Lipo-Ex, made by RevecoMED International of Fullerton, Calif. Public Citizen said it was acting in response to a July 11 FairWarning report that Reveco sold the product for at least five years without getting the required FDA clearance or approval. FairWarning also reported that the FDA took no action despite being aware of the situation for at least 2½ years. Public Citizen also is seeking action against doctors and spas promoting the device. An FDA spokesperson said she couldn’t comment on the issue.
Medical journal exposes tactics of sports drink industry. BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal, reports that the makers of drinks like Gatorade and Powerade have spent millions in research and marketing in recent decades to persuade sports and medical professionals that thirst is an unreliable guide for deciding when to drink. According to the BMJ investigation, an industry-established enterprise — the Gatorade Sports Science Institute — scored one of its “greatest successes” by challenging the fact that thirst is a good gauge of dehydration. “The problem was industry wanted to sell more products so it had to say that thirst was not adequate,” said a scientist with experience in the business. Mother Jones
Florida Highway Patrol warns motorists about staged crash schemes. The phony wrecks are part of an insurance fraud scam carried out by criminals using paid witnesses, unethical attorneys and corrupt medical providers, the Highway Patrol says. The scheming drivers get innocent motorists to rear-end them by stopping short on the road or by waving an unassuming driver ahead in traffic and then crashing into that person’s car; they later lie to police about the circumstances. The Highway Patrol warns drivers to avoid people who suddenly appear at the scene of a crash and direct drivers to attorneys and doctors. If an accident occurs, motorists should call police and take photos. And above all, avoid tailgating! Occupational Health and Safety, Insurance News Net
Even though livestock farms are big polluters, the EPA doesn’t know where many of them are. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t know how much manure the farms generate or how the waste is handled. Most of that information is kept by various state or local agencies — or not collected at all. Experts cite livestock waste as a major contributor to water-quality problems. If the EPA knew the sources of that waste, environmentalists say, it might be easier to contain. So environmentalists were flabbergasted when the EPA recently decided against adopting a rule that would require livestock operators to give the agency the information, opting instead to try to pull it together from other sources. The Associated Press
Nature is soaking up more carbon, helping moderate global warming, but how long can that last? One new scientific paper is reassuring, at least for the short run, while another gives reasons to worry about the long-term stability of the “carbon sink.” The better news came from a study led by the University of Colorado’s Ashley Ballantyne, who found that the ability of earth’s oceans and land to absorb carbon — nature takes in about half of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere — hasn’t weakened. But the second paper, published in Nature Geoscience, raises the concern that ongoing climate change could disturb existing winds and currents and make ocean water less efficient in absorbing carbon. The New York Times, Reuters
Compiled by Stuart Silverstein and Bridget Huber