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Public Health

Poor Ventilation in Multifamily Buildings May Lessen Benefit of Staying at Home to Avoid Covid 

Lindsey first noticed the symptoms in mid-December. Her wife was even sicker, with a high fever. Testing confirmed they both had Covid. Lindsey knew she had to tell the upstairs neighbors, who also owned the building. When she went to warn them, she was in for a surprise — one with implications not only for her, but also, potentially, for public health messaging and policy nationwide.

Consumer Protection

Potent Rhino Pills Outlast Anything–Even the Arrest of Their Creator

The creator of over-the-counter sex supplements is awaiting sentencing for illegally importing bulk quantities of prescription drugs. But he was just one of many players profiting from the sale of sex pills with hidden drugs.

Consumer Protection

Covid Scams Flourish Despite Efforts of Health and Law Enforcement Agencies

Black Plague tea. Biomagnetism treatment. Ozone therapy. Covid flimflammery is still going strong as frightened consumers seek out and fall prey to sham treatments and cures.

Environment

Which U.S. Cities Get Failing Grades on Parks

Being ranked among the most park-poor cities in America is a fitness test no city wants to flunk. But in 2020 amid the pandemic, the national “ParkScore” ratings issued by The Trust for Public Land took on greater meaning as overcrowding at home and lack of school recess put families in a bind.

Consumer Protection

In Battle Against “the Highway Disease,” Traffic Safety Agency Attacked as Asleep at the Wheel

NHTSA was established 50 years ago to reduce the toll of injuries and deaths on the nation's roads. But even as progress stalled, the agency cut back on key activities as part of the Trump administration's deregulatory crusade.

Environment

Off-Target Pesticide Service Douses Neighboring Properties, People

Alpine Helicopter Service has been implicated in dozens of complaints of crop loss and personal injury when pesticides it sprayed allegedly landed on the wrong targets. Now, the state of California is suing the company and taking a stand on pesticide misuse.

Labor

Under Attack for its Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, OSHA is Playing Catch-up

Early In the pandemic, OSHA drew scathing criticism for a hands-off approach to a crisis that has claimed the lives of hundreds of essential workers. More recently, the agency began ramping up enforcement. Despite the burst of activity, a FairWarning review shows that inspectors are mostly responding to deaths or hospitalizations, as required by law, rather than flagging unsafe conditions before more workers get infected. 

Consumer Protection

Patients Pay Thousands for a Back Pain Treatment Promoted by Exaggerated Claims

For three decades, the spinal decompression industry has promised relief to back pain patients. But stupendous claims of success are not backed up by scientifically rigorous research.

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

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

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.