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Consumer Protection

Privacy Fears Rising as DNA Test Companies Shift to New Ventures

As genetic testing companies increasingly engage in medical and pharmaceutical ventures, a regulatory gap in consumer privacy protections is drawing calls for change and even legislative proposals.

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. 

Consumer Protection

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.

Consumer Protection

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

Across the United States, workers face wildly varying rules about whether Covid-19 is covered as a workplace injury. More than a dozen states have changed their laws or rules since the pandemic—often forcing workers to prove they contracted the virus on the job.

Public Health

FDA Issues Warning Letters to Puff Bar, Other E-Cig Sellers

The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to 10 companies it says are illegally selling flavored e-cigarette products that have come under attack as being targeted at teens.

Consumer Protection

Controversial E-Cigarette Company Puff Bar Says It’s Suspending U.S. Sales

A shadowy e-cigarette company that has reaped millions of dollars by exploiting a loophole to sell kid-friendly flavored nicotine products says it is suspending sales in the U.S following revelations about its owners.  

Consumer Protection

Lifting the Veil on a Controversial E-Cigarette Company—Sort of

In recent months, mystery has surrounded the ownership of a controversial e-cigarette company that has reaped millions of dollars in sales of flavored, kid-friendly nicotine products by exploiting a loophole in federal regulations. 

Consumer Protection

DOT Wants to Weaken Its Own Power to Penalize Airlines Over Consumer Complaints

With enforcement against airlines for consumer violations already falling sharply, the Department of Transportation is pushing for a rule change that consumer groups and some lawmakers say would serve no other purpose than further protecting airlines from civil fines.

Oldies but Goodies

“Fair Warning,” the Book: Michael Connelly in Conversation with Editor Myron Levin

You may have heard how Michael Connelly’s latest crime thriller, “Fair Warning”, came by its title. This third bestseller in the Jack McEvoy series finds Jack working as an investigative reporter for our nonprofit news organization.

Consumer Protection

Consumer Group Urges FDA to Crack Down on Unapproved ‘Abortion Reversal’ Procedure

A consumer watchdog group is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to shut down a group of websites advertising a so-called abortion pill reversal, a potentially dangerous treatment that is not FDA-approved.

Consumer Protection

Some Coronavirus Stimulus Funds Appear to be Junk Mail, and Are Getting Tossed

Orvie Nix, a retiree in Amarillo, Texas, had expected his family would get its stimulus funds with a letter signed by President Trump, or by direct deposit in his bank account. Instead, Nix got an envelope in the mail from “Money Network Cardholder Services”, containing a prepaid debit card. The plain envelope seemed typical of the unwanted financial offers that flood the mail. Like an unknown number of others, Nix assumed his payment was junk mail, and put it in the shredder.