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Public Health

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

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

Environment

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.

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.